The Top 20 Life Coaching Books You Should Read

life coaching booksNo matter who you are, where you are in life, or where you want to be, most of us will admit to wanting to be better in some domain.

Whether that’s personally or professionally, within our close relationships, or generally cultivating a better sense of purpose in everything we do. We’d all like to be a better life coach to ourselves; we’re just not sure how to go about it.

There are many ways we can approach this, but one of the core methods is through behavioral modeling. We like to look to others who have got it right, those who have achieved success, and ask how they did it. The good news is, these people are usually quite happy to share, and the explosion of life coaching and personal development books that are now available are a testimony to this.

For me, my library of books is a fantastic resource to help me formulate words and ideas when I’m struggling. It’s like being able to grab a coffee with someone who gets it, whenever I want, wherever I want.

Below I’ve collected a list of top books about life coaching. Whether you’re looking for guidance or a budding life coach for yourself, there’s something for everyone.

10 Best Books on Life Coaching to Read

The Gifts of Imperfection1. The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are – Brene Brown

Brene Brown is a Research Professor and public speaker who has dedicated her academic career to exploring different areas of human behavior, specifically how we experience shame and fear and why.

Through her research, she began to understand some deep insights about how we behave and came up with theories of overcoming our fears through what she calls ‘wholehearted living.’ She went on to deliver one of the most viewed TED talks ever and has since written several books based on the findings of her research.

In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brown presents her ten chapter guide for wholehearted living: what it means, what it looks like for different people, what she discovered through her research and how she has implemented this way of living for herself and her family. Each chapter is headed as a ‘guidepost’ for helping you live a more authentic and accepting life.

The guideposts are:

  1. Cultivating Authenticity and Letting Go of What Other People Think
  2. Cultivating Self-Compassion and Letting Go of Perfectionism
  3. Cultivating Your Resilient Spirit, Letting Go of Numbing and Powerlessness
  4. Cultivating Gratitude and Joy, Letting Go of Scarcity and Fear of the Dark
  5. Cultivating Intuition and Trusting Faith, Letting Go of the Need for Certainty
  6. Cultivating Creativity and Letting Go of Comparison
  7. Cultivating Play and Rest, Letting Go of Exhaustion as a Status Symbol
  8. Cultivating Calm and Stillness and Letting Go of Anxiety as a Lifestyle
  9. Cultivating Meaningful Work, Letting Go of Self-Doubt and Supposed-To
  10. Cultivating Laughter, Song and Dance, and Letting Go of Cool and Always in Control

Each guidepost has two components, one guiding you through what you should do, and the other instructing you what you need to let go of, to pursue authenticity. Voted as one of Forbes ‘Top Five Books That Will Actually Change Your Outlook on Life’, this book has sold millions of copies and been celebrated for it’s easy to access and follow guidance.

Find the book on Amazon.

 

Thinking Fast and Slow2. Thinking Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman

Daniel Kahneman is a senior scholar for Princeton University and an Emeritus Professor of Public Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

He made headlines with his best-selling book Thinking Fast and Slow when it was first published in 2012, with its groundbreaking explanation of the ‘two systems’ of the brain and how they drive the ways we think.

The two systems Kahnemann refers to are:

  • System One: This system works faster, more intuitively, and is more closely connected to and influenced by our emotions. Our mood has a strong influence on this system, and even whether we have eaten lunch or not, will impact the decisions we make when operating from this system of thinking.
  • System Two: This is system is the ‘slow’ system of thinking referenced in the book’s title. It is more deliberate and logical, and our decisions made from this way of thinking will be more rational and well-thought-out.

Through his book, Kahneman talks us through the pros and cons of the two different systems, specifically system one and outlines the pervasiveness that intuition has on our thoughts and actions.

Alongside practical guidance and techniques to help guard against making poor judgments when operating from system one, it’s a great book for individual development and coaches working with clients. It’s an engaging read, exploring the different ways we think in a new framework, and offering great insights for understanding the two different systems, how they work together, and how they ultimately shape our decisions.

Find the book on Amazon.

 

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success3. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success – Carol Dweck

Carol Dweck has built a phenomenal career studying human behavior and motivation, specifically studying what makes the difference between people who succeed and those who don’t.

Through her research, she developed her theory of the two mindsets and the remarkable difference they have on the outcomes of success. Briefly, the two mindsets are:

  • Growth Mindset: A Growth Mindset is where an individual believes (or is educated to believe) that skills can be developed through hard work, motivation, good learning strategies, and constructive feedback. People who operate from a growth mindset believe they have control over their success, and that personal growth is possible through trying new things. When they do experience failure, challenges, or setbacks, they still see these as uncomfortable, but ultimately as opportunities to learn and gain further growth.
  • Fixed Mindset: Individuals with a Fixed Mindset believe that their abilities are fixed and cannot be improved beyond a certain skill level, or cannot be attained at all. People with a fixed mindset tend to plateau early in their achievement and often get held back by anxiety and stress. When faced with challenges, setbacks, or failure, they see this as a sign that they can’t do something and should give up, rather than look for the opportunity for growth.

Her book synthesizes more than a decade of work and research and clearly outlines how both our conscious and unconscious mind impact how we act. In this edition, Dweck goes further to offer new insights and introduces a new concept from her research, the ‘false growth mindset.’

This book is a fantastic resource. It teaches that with the right mindset, you can motivate yourself or those you coach to make achievable changes with long-reaching impact.

Find the book on Amazon.

 

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance4. Grit: Why Passion and Resilience are the Secrets to Success – Angela Duckworth

Dr. Angela Duckworth is an associate professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, and a world-renowned expert in what is referred to as non-IQ competencies (skills that aren’t directly related to our IQ, such as grit and self-control).

Duckworth’s research was born out of personal experience and perseverance. She tells the story of being a young child and having her scientist father good-humoredly lamenting that she was ‘no-genius,’ which instilled in her determination to prove him wrong.

She went on to smash all of her academic goals, becoming one of the most sought-after international speakers on her topic. As an adult, her research has focused on the question: why do some people succeed, and others fail?

It’s the question she seeks to uncover in her best-selling book on Grit, which she ascertains is one of the more crucial factors as a guarantor of success far more than talent.

She takes the reader on a journey, exploring how others have cultivated the concept of grit for their personal goals. Using examples from history and research on peak performance, and sharing interviews and insights for some of the world’s highest achievers.

As a supporting book for life coaching, it’s an insightful, compassionate, and light-hearted read for cultivating other parts of our character worth developing for success, and how to do so.

Find the book on Amazon.

 

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People5. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change – Stephen R. Covey

Dr. Stephen R. Covey was an international leader and authority on leadership and inter-family relationships. He worked as a highly sought-after speaker, consultant and academic, guiding and coaching millions through his books and teachings.

His book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, was an instant sensation when published in 1989, and continues to top best-seller lists today with more than 25 million copies sold worldwide.

From his interactions and work with different people, Covey identified seven key traits that highly effective and successful people demonstrate. They are:

  1. Be Proactive
  2. Begin with the end in mind
  3. Put first things first
  4. Think win-win
  5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood
  6. Synergize
  7. Sharpen the saw

Covey advises that while we may look to successful people to understand how they have done it, to copy them and attempt to achieve the same results, this method doesn’t address the underlying issues or barriers that prevent us from achieving success on our own terms.

He argues that we must make profound, fundamental behavior changes in ourselves to reap long-lasting success. This is where the seven habits come in. The first three habits focus on self-mastery and gaining independence. Habits four, five, and six are centered on collaboration and communication skills, creating interdependence, and the final seventh habit focuses on continuous self-improvement and growth.

Covey’s book has influenced millions, from high profile CEO’s to individuals like you and me for over 25 years. It’s a staple for any life coach.

Find the book on Amazon.

 

The Power of Habit6. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business – Charles Duhigg

Charles Duhigg is a Pulitzer-prize winning business journalist and author of two books focusing on the power of habits and productivity for achieving success.

In his book The Power of Habit, Duhigg explores new scientific research explaining why we have habits, how they are built, and how we can change them to create a positive impact in our lives.

Building on data and case studies from corporate businesses such as Proctor and Gamble, to professional sports players for the NFL, and the civil rights movement, Duhigg presents how understanding the power of our habits has a range of potential for success.

The book is broken down into three core sections, each exploring how our habits have an impact:

  1. The Habits of Individuals
  2. The Habits of Successful Organizations
  3. The Habits of Societies

Each section walks through how our habits impact our lives at each level and offer data, resources, and practical guidance for harnessing the power of our habits.

Find the book on Amazon.

 

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway7. Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway – Susan Jeffers

Susan Jeffers was a world-renowned psychologist, public speaker, and best-selling author. When her book Feel the Fear was first published in 1987, it revolutionized the way we think about fear and how we approach the challenges of our lives.

Based on her work as a psychologist, Jeffers has helped thousands of people to understand better why they fear the things they do, how our fears are often deeply rooted in past trauma or pain, and how to overcome this to live a more fulfilling life.

Feel the Fear is full of insights, case studies, and practical tools, to aid you to start living the life you want, make better decisions, move past pain and anxiety, and embrace action.

Find the book on Amazon.

 

Finding Your Own North Star8. Finding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life You Were Meant to Live – Martha Beck

Martha Beck holds a Ph.D. from Harvard and is an international life coach, speaker and best-selling author of several books. Her work focuses on supporting individuals and groups to achieve their life goals and find personal and professional success.

Finding Your North Star starts with a simple premise – we all have a North Star in our lives that guides us, we have to seek it out:

Explorers depend on the North Star when there are no other landmarks in sight. The same relationship exists between you and your right life, the ultimate realization of your potential for happiness. I believe that a knowledge of that perfect life sits inside you just as the North Star sits in its unaltering spot.

Through her book, Beck shares her step-by-step coaching program for you to follow to discover your own North Star. Broken down into easy to follow chapters, with exercises to help you along the way, this book promises to:

  • Help you locate and read your internal life compass
  • Provide you with the right language to articulate your goals and desires
  • Guide you in identifying negative beliefs you hold about yourself and how to repair them to unblock your progress
  • Help you tap into your intuition and use this to guide you towards a more satisfying life

Scattered amongst the chapters are anecdotes and case studies from Beck’s own life and successful clients, along with questionnaires and resources to support your North Star journey.

Find the book on Amazon.

 

How To Win Friends And Influence People9. How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie

Dale Carnegie was a best-selling author and self-help coach, whose personal story of success has been shared by millions. Born on a farm in Missouri, he went on to become one of the most successful traveling salesmen who would then go on to teach public speaking at a New York YMCA.

His course would prove to be so successful that he founded the Dale Carnegie Institute to accommodate the demand for his teachings, and in 1936 he first published the international hit book How to Win Friends and Influence People.

More than 60 years later, the book is still an international best-seller and is a staple on curriculum reading lists for business and leadership courses around the world.

Its premise is quite simple: how do you get along with people in your day-to-day business and social interactions for success?

There are five key sections to the book:

  • Effective techniques for handling people
  • Six proven ways to make people like you and increase your popularity
  • How to win people around to your way of thinking
  • How to lead without offense or resentment
  • How to handle complaints and avoid arguments

Filled with personal anecdotes from his work as a salesman, and updated with insights into how to achieve important goals, increase your influence, and become a better speaker, conversationalist, and social magnet. This is an iconic book for any aspiring coach.

Find the book on Amazon.

 

You Are a Badass10. You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life – Jen Sincero

Jan Sincero is a best-selling author and success coach, who has worked with hundreds of people globally to help them start living the personal and professional life they really want.

A few years ago, Sincero desired to leave her home in California and travel the world indefinitely in pursuit of her personal goals. In this new book, she shares insights, resources, exercises, and personal anecdotes to help you do the same.

Through incredibly engaging and humorous writing broken down into 21 digestible chapters, Sincero’s book will guide you through:

  • Identifying the self-sabotage beliefs and behaviors you have and how to change them
  • Step by step instructions on how to start making real money
  • Authentically creating the life you’ve always wanted

You Are a Badass is aimed at individuals who are ready to take control of their life, understand who they are and why they behave in the ways they do, and who are prepared to make big changes to start living the life they truly want.

Find the book on Amazon.

 

The Best-Selling Titles on Amazon

It probably comes as no surprise that some of the top life coaching books are also some of the top bestsellers on Amazon! No matter what area of life you’re seeking to work on, there’s a book to help.

Below are the top five best sellers on Amazon for life coaching and self-help:

 

33 Strategies of War1. 33 Strategies of War – Robert Greene

Published in 2007, 33 Strategies of War might not sound like one of the most significant selling self-improvement books out there, but it’s got a very solid premise.

Utilizing case studies and examples from different points of history, Greene presents some of the most effective, ingenious, and successful principles and strategies from various military leaders. Greene then drills them down to simplified versions of how these strategies can be used in everyday life to achieve goals.

It’s currently number one on several of Amazon’s bestseller lists.

Find the book on Amazon.

 

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a2. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life – Mark Manson

Mark Manson is a self-made self-help blogger, entrepreneur, and the author of three best-selling books. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is his second book and quickly dominated the bestsellers list when it was released in 2016.

Celebrated for being someone who ‘tells it like it is’ Manson’s book is a reversal on the societal tendency to focus on only feeling good and false positivity. Backed by academic and scientific research, Manson explores the fulfillment that can be achieved by accepting our limitations, fears, and faults.

He uses personal stories, humorous anecdotes, and experience, as well as real-life examples to make his points come to life, and how the process of caring less about being happy all the time and merely embracing honesty and curiosity can lead to great things.

This book is a number one bestseller in the Amazon motivational self-help section.

Find the book on Amazon.

 

12 Rules for Life3. 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos – Jordan. B. Peterson

Jordan Peterson is a clinical psychologist, sought after public speaker, and professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. His work exploring human behavior and personality has helped to reshape our modern understanding of the topics.

In 12 Rules for Life, Peterson interweaves ideas from his own research, ancient wisdom, and decades of additional psychological ideas to create 12 core principles for living a meaningful life.

Covering everything from keeping your house tidy to not judging others or comparing your present self with your past self, it’s no surprise this book has dominated the bestseller lists since it was published in April 2019.

Find the book on Amazon.

 

Atomic Habits4. Atomic Habits – James Clear

Published at the end of 2018, Clear’s book was an instant New York Times Bestseller and nominated as the Financial Times Book of the Month. Clear is a blogger, author, and entrepreneur who has spent most of his career exploring human habits and potential, trying to find an answer to the question ‘How can we live better?’.

In his latest book Atomic Habits, Clear sets out to clarify why the big changes and habits we try to make often fail, and how the power of small daily habits – which he calls atomic habits – can make the most significant impact and positive difference when working towards successful goals.

Using psychological research and case studies from inspiring individuals, Clear outlines several simple and practical life hacks for harnessing the power of your atomic habits.

Find the book on Amazon.

 

Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds5. Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds – David Goggins

Another New York Times bestseller and number five on the Amazon top seller list for motivational self-help books, Can’t Hurt Me is the true story of David Goggins and how he overcame childhood trauma barriers to be dubbed ‘The Fittest Man in America.’

Goggins story of transformation from depressed and overweight young man to completing some of the most stringent U.S. Armed Forces elite programs and becoming a top-performing endurance athlete is astonishing.

In his book, Goggins shares his theory behind his resilience and his The 40% Rule, where he believes that many of us only ever tap into 40% of our abilities. It’s an enlightening read that will leave anyone motivated to push aside their barriers and reach for their full potential.

Find the book on Amazon.

 

Training Books for Coaches

The books out there aren’t just for personal use and development; there’s also a vast range of books aimed at supporting coaches to help them learn, train, and grow as a practitioner. These books have been written by some of the most prominent coaches practicing today and are packed with resources, tips, and guidance on how to be a better coach.

Here are five of the top sellers for aspiring coaches:

 

Co-Active Coaching1. Co-Active Coaching – Laura Whitworth, Henry Kinsey-House, Phil Sandahl, and John Whitmore

First published in 1988, this is the fourth edition of the book written by the founders of The Coaches Training Institute. Often referred to as ‘the bible of coaching,’ it contains a great range of proven coaching methods, tools, and resources to help aspiring coaches elevate their practice.

Not only does it comprehensively cover different coaching methods, but it also includes ethical guidelines, frameworks, and in-depth coaching philosophies to support you in understanding the work you undertake as a coach.

Find the book on Amazon.

 

Transformational Life Coaching2. Transformational Life Coaching – Dr. Cherie Carter-Scott and Lynn U. Stewart

Dr. Cherie Carter-Scott has been a life coach since 1974, long before all the social media happy coaches we see today. As a veteran of the practice, she’s worked with her business partner, Lynn Stewart, to create a truly informative and comprehensive book that covers everything you need to know about becoming a life coach.

The book contains proven strategies that Dr. Carter-Scott uses herself with clients, alongside specific tools used to train coaches under her mentorship.

What makes this book so unique is that it explores the coaching process from the perspective of both the coach and the coached client, providing different insights into the coaching relationship.

This addition makes this book a great staple to the bookshelves.

Find the book on Amazon.

 

Coaching Questions3. Coaching Questions: A Coach’s Guide to Powerful Asking Skills – Tony Stoltzfus

This book focuses on one core aspect coaching: the importance of asking the right questions.

Communication is essential for successful coaching, and this means knowing what questions to ask, how to ask them, and when to ask to get the best answers from your client.

Author Tony Stoltzfus partnered up with twelve other successful coaches to compile a range of exercises to help aspiring coaches get to grips with learning this vital skill.

The book is also a great toolkit to keep to hand as it contains more than 1000 examples of different questions to ask and build upon when coaching clients. Both new and experienced coaches will find this a valuable resource.

Find the book on Amazon.

 

Becoming a Professional Life Coach4. Becoming a Professional Life Coach: Lessons from the Institute of Life Coach Training – Patrick Williams and Diane Menendez

Patrick Williams is a long-serving life coach and founder of the Institute of Life Coaching (ILCT). He has previously written two books about coaching, and this, his third book, is a deep dive into all aspects of the coaching journey.

Using lessons and teachings from his courses, training, and workshops at the ILTC, this book provides a seamless path of instruction for all the coaching fundamentals. From communication and listening skills, language, effective questioning, down to how to prepare and plan a positive coaching session.

The book also covers more in-depth topics around coaching, including ethics, core competencies, specific wellness coaching, and the impact of positive psychology and neuroscience on the coaching journey and relationship.

Find the book on Amazon.

 

The Life Coaching Handbook5. The Life Coaching Handbook: Everything you need to become an effective life coach – Curly Martin

Curly Martin has been a professional life coach, author, and NLP Master Practitioner for more than twenty years, and her book has been hailed as the ‘essential guide’ for aspiring life coaches.

The book takes the reader through her Advanced Life Coaching Skills program that she has used with a wide range of practitioners, including HR managers, counselors, and therapists.

It’s a one-stop toolkit for anyone new to the profession, with walk-through scenarios, questioning techniques, resources, and activities to help you on the way to becoming an effective life coach.

Find the book on Amazon.

 

A List of Top Life Coaching Audiobook Recommendations

If sitting down and reading a book isn’t really for you, don’t worry! You’re not alone, and many of the bestsellers are also available as audiobooks. There’s a great range of audiobooks focused on different aspects of life coaching. These are perfect for those who prefer to absorb information through listening.

Below are a few of the most popular I’ve found:

 

1. Life Coaching for Dummies – Jeni Purdie

Part of the extraordinarily popular ‘For Dummies’ series, which breaks down complex subjects into engaging and easy to digest books, this book is full of tips, techniques, resources, and guidance for improving personal performance, finding balance, setting priorities and achieving goals.

Whether you’re looking to coach others, self-coach, or better understand the coaching journey, this book is an excellent guide for what to expect and debunks several myths surrounding the concept of life coaching.

The book was written by Jeni Purdie, a highly experienced life coach who practiced in the UK and Europe and is narrated by Kate Harper.

Find the book on Amazon Audible.

 

Make Money as a Life Coach2. Make Money as a Life Coach: How to become a life coach and attract your first paying client – Sally Miller and Melissa Ricker

If you’ve been considering becoming a life coach, but are unsure how to get started or what you can offer as a coach, this is the book for you.

Authors Sally Miller and Melissa Ricker have both started down the path, made a few wrong turns, but ultimately went on to create highly successful businesses as coaches. In their book, they share the mistakes they’ve made and the proven steps to take to get on the right path to becoming a successful life coach.

Through their audiobook, Miller, and Ricker guide you through:

  • Identifying your coaching niche
  • Developing a strong marketing strategy to attract clients
  • How to conduct ‘discovery’ calls with new clients and get the coaching relationship started

The authors aim to make your journey into life coaching as seamless and successful as possible. Sarah-Jane Vincent narrates the book.

Find the book on Amazon Audible.

 

The Prosperous Coach3. The Prosperous Coach: Increase income and impact for you and your clients – Steve Chandler and Rich Litvin

Steve Chandler is a master coach, who has worked with hundreds of high-profile professionals. He is the author of more than 30 books, a highly sought after public speaker, and founder of the Coaching Prosperity School.

Rich Litvin runs a leadership consultancy and is also a master coach, working with high achievers to achieve the ‘impossible,’ Together in this book they share their top tips, resources, guidance, techniques and methodology for working with already highly successful individuals to help them elevate their success.

This book is aimed at new coaches and professional coaches, to help you elevate your status as a sought after coach. It’s been well-reviewed for offering great insights, but reminding the reader that what works for one will not always work for the other, and providing helpful, practical advice for uncovering your path. The authors narrate it.

Find the book on Amazon Audible.

 

Co-Active Coaching4. Co-Active Coaching: Changing Business, Transforming Lives – Henry Kimsey-House, Karen Kimsey-House, Philip Sandahi, & Laura Whitworth

The authors of Co-Active Coaching found The Coaches Training Institute more than 20 years ago, setting the stage for the profession of coaching at a time when it wasn’t as culturally popular as it is today. The first edition of their book was published in 1998 and went on to be translated into more than ten languages.

Now, in its third edition, it has been hailed as the definitive guide for professional and personal development, coaching programs, and corporate coaching.

The third edition of the book has been updated to include the full course curriculum from The Coaches Training Institute and the newly updated Co-Active Coaching Model, which emphasizes the transformational change a client goes through on the coaching journey.

The model has also been extended to support leadership management and organizational effectiveness. This audiobook edition includes an online coaching toolkit and over 35 exercises, questionnaires and resources for the aspiring coach.

Find the book on Amazon Audible.

 

The Coaching Habit5. The Coaching Habit: Say less, ask more and change the way you lead forever – Michael Bungay Stanier

This book is targeted towards people who are already working as managers of leaders, with a team of people who look to them for guidance. Its premise is simple: coaching is a core skill for effective leadership, yet it’s one that many struggles with.

Bungay Stanier is a highly successful CEO, coach, and leader, and in his book he outlines his formula for building effective coaching into your day, in just ten minutes, so teams can focus on having a greater impact through good work.

His method centers around a set of structured questioning techniques:

  • The Kickstart Question: Used to get straight to the point of the conversation you want to have
  • The Awe Question: Ensuring the conversation stays on track
  • The Lazy Question: Cutting out unnecessary conversation and saving time
  • The Strategic Question: Asking the right questions to save time for others and your team
  • The Focus Question: Getting to the heart of any interpersonal challenge
  • The Foundation Question: Getting to the heart of any external challenge

This book promises to make you a more effective coach and leader in a short amount of time. It is narrated by Daniel Mate.

Find the book on Amazon Audible.

 

Relevant Resources (on our blog)

If a chunky book or lengthy audiobook isn’t what you’re looking for right now, then I have good news – there is plenty of great content on our blog to help you dip a toe into the world of Life Coaching. My top four favorites at the moment are:

  1. 38 Best Coaching Tools and Assessments to Use With Clients
  2. 4 Positive Psychology Exercises to Do With Clients or Students
  3. Your Ultimate Life Coaching Tools Library 2019 (+PDF & Exercises)
  4. Active Listening: The Art of Empathetic Conversation

 

Relevant Resources (from our Toolkit)

Alongside reading and audio guide books, there’s a fantastic range of practical resources and workbooks to help you on your way as a life coach. Whether you’re looking for something to support your personal exploration and professional development, or some resources to use during a session with a client, the Positive Psychology Toolkit has everything you need.

Below I’ve selected a few relevant resources, covering different aspects of the coaching journey that you may find helpful:

 

1. 20 Guidelines for Developing a Growth Mindset

Carol Dweck (2017) is attributed with coining the term ‘Growth Mindset,’ and it revolutionized how we think about our abilities and capacity to achieve our goals. A growth mindset sees us taking on challenges, setbacks, or failure in life as opportunities to learn and grow, compared with a fixed mindset that sees problems as life telling us we can’t do something.

Research has shown that we can change our mindset through different interventions (Aronson et al., 2002) and this resource is an excellent guideline for helping clients to switch their thinking from a fixed to a growth mindset perspective.

 

2. 30 Strength Spotting Questions

Getting to the heart of a client’s strength’s skill set is an essential first step in the coaching journey, and there are several ways to do this effectively. One of them is through interviews and questioning, but different clients will respond differently to the same questions.

It’s important to make sure you have a wide repertoire of different questions that you can tailor to your client’s character. This resource is a great starting point for building a range of different question styles.

 

3. 5 Kinds of Strengths Questions

Helping clients to identify and acknowledge their key strengths to support their growth is a core part of coaching. Following on from the ‘30 strength spotting questions’, this resource provides five different styles of questioning that can be used to help uncover and identify a client’s strengths. Each set of questions focuses on a specific area:

  • Questions for Survival
  • Questions for Esteem
  • Questions for Support
  • Questions for Exceptions
  • Questions for Possibilities

 

4. Active-Constructive Responding (Communication skills development)

As we’ve already touched on, communication skills are essential for effective coaching. Ensuring you use a wide range of communication techniques to engage and motivate clients is crucial. Gable et al. (2004) found that sharing positive events has been linked to increased daily positive affect (mood).

Langston (1994) went further to show that how we respond when positive events are shared is equally important on the outcome of the sharer’s mood. We often struggle to feel positive when good things happen for other people as it reminds us of areas we also want to improve or work on for ourselves.

This resource provides a great activity for correcting responses to ensure a positive experience for all involved in the sharing experience. It’s great for coaches personally, and for developing clients.

 

5. Awareness of Progress and Accomplishments

A client will usually engage with a life coach with a specific area of life or goal/s they want help with. For the coach, this is great to start developing a session plan and an action plan for how to support the client. What often gets overlooked on this journey are the small goals and accomplishments along the way that lead to the bigger achievement.

Research has shown that tracking progress along the way can increase positive behavior change, leading to better lasting outcomes (Harkin et al., 2016). This resource helps both the coach and the client reflect on and build awareness of their progress throughout the journey.

 

6. Analyzing Relationship Commitment

The success and overall effectiveness of any coaching relationship will depend on the commitment of the client (and the coach to the same extent). Commitment is driven by motivation in different ways.

This resource could be excellent to tap into when the relationship with a client doesn’t appear to be yielding the desired results. By evaluating the commitment and motivation of each party involved, you can decide on a new plan of action of whether the right commitment is there to proceed with the journey.

 

A Take Home Message

As a practicing coach myself, I know how rewarding it can be when you support a client to achieve their goals. I find it so important to ensure I don’t become complacent in my skills and my personal development so that I can be the best version of me to best support my clients. Reading a range of books is a massive part of that for me.

If there’s one thing I want you to take away from this article, it’s that for whatever stage of the coaching process you’re at; there is always opportunity to learn, gain more knowledge, and develop better skills. Lifelong learning is a core part of becoming a successful life coach. Luckily, there’s plenty of literature out there to help you achieve this! Make sure you add a substantial reading list to your repertoire of professional development.

Are you an aspiring coach, or have you been practicing for a while? What books have helped you along the way?

 

  • Aronson, J., Fried, C., & Good, C. (2002). Reducing the effects of stereotype threat on African American college students by shaping theories of intelligence. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 38, 113–125.
  • Dweck, C. (2017). Mindset: Changing the Way You Think to Fulfil Your Potential. Little Brown Book Group; UK.
  • Gable, S. L., Gonzaga, G., & Strachman, A. (2006). Will you be there for me when things go right? supportive responses to positive event disclosures. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 91, 904–917.
  • Harkin, B., Webb, T. L., Chang, B. P., Prestwich, A., Conner, M., Kellar, I., Benn, Y., & Sheeran, P. (2016). Does monitoring goal progress promote goal attainment? A meta-analysis of the experimental evidence. Psychological Bulletin, 142, 198-229.
  • Langston, C. A. (1994). Capitalizing on and coping with daily-life events: Expressive responses to positive events. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67, 1112-1125.

About the Author

Elaine Mead is a passionate educator, writer and learner. Since completing her degree in psychology, she has been fascinated by the different ways we learn - both socially and academically - and the ways in which we utilise our experiences to become more authentic versions of our selves. She is currently completing her diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Coaching & Mentoring. Find her on twitter sharing more words and things she finds on the internet: @_elainemead

Comments

  1. Jan P. de Jonge

    Great article with some interesting reading tips!
    Thank you, Elaine!
    Jan

    Reply
    • Elaine Mead

      Thanks, Jan, for your positive comments! Great to connect on Twitter too.

      Best,
      Elaine

      Reply

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