There are four ways to develop into a stronger coach: coaching, being coached, observing others coach, and getting trained. To be well-developed, you need to engage all four. The last way (training) is a broad category of many different elements, including classes, mentor coaching, feedback, podcasts, videos, and reading.
You will never become a great coach by only reading. Coaching is a skillful profession and there are very few skills you can develop simply by reading about the skill. I certainly would not trust an airline pilot whose only training came from reading about flying. That said, I would also not trust a pilot who’d never read anything about flying, mechanics, weather, aerodynamics, etc.
All of this is to say that great coaches include reading as part of their development plan. It shouldn’t be the only aspect of your plan, but it must be included in your plan.
Given the important place of reading in your development as a coach, the question is, “What to read?” There are many great coaching books, and here are some of the books we suggest, categorized by the topics of our CAM coach training courses.
CAM 501 Foundations for Christian Coaching
• Coaching for Christian Leaders: A Practical Guide (Linda Miller and Chad Hall)
• The Coaching Mindset: 8 Ways to Think Like a Coach (Chad Hall)
• Co-Active Coaching: The proven Framework for Transformative Conversations at Work and in Life (Karen Kimsey-House, et al)
CAM 502 Establishing Dynamic Relationships
CAM 503 Coaching Change, Transition, and Transformation
• Christ-Centered Coaching: 7 Benefits for Ministry Leaders (Jane Creswell)
• Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change (William Bridges)
CAM 504 Coaching and the Brain as a Learning Catalyst
• Anatomy of the Soul: Surprising Connections between Neuroscience and Spiritual Practices That Can Transform Your Life and Relationships (Curt Thompson)
• Switch on Your Brain: The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking and Health (Caroline Leaf)
• Make Your Brain Work: How to Maximize Your Efficiency, Productivity and Effectiveness (Amy Brann)
CAM 505 The Language of Coaching
CAM 506 Personal Coaching
CAM 507 Coaching Teams
• The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable (Patrick Lencioni)
• THRIVE: The Facilitator’s Guide to Radically Inclusive Meetings (Mark Smutny)
CAM 508 Coaching for Spiritual Growth
• Faith Coaching: A Conversational Approach to Helping Others Move Forward in Faith (Chad Hall, et al)
• Jesus Asked: What He Wanted to Know (Conrad Gempf)
• Maximum Faith: Live Like Jesus (George Barna)
• Self to Lose, Self to Find: A Biblical Approach to the 9 Enneagram Types (Marilyn Vancil)
CAM 509 Using Assessments in Coaching
• The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery (Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile)
• Personality Hacker: Harness the Power of Your Personality Type to Transform Your Work, Relationships, and Life (Joel Mark Witt and Antonia Dodge)
• Living Your Strengths: Discover Your God-Given Talents and Inspire Your Community (Donald Clifton)
CAM 510 A Coach Approach to Leading and Managing
• Leadership and the One-Minute Manager (Ken Blanchard, et al)
• The Coach Model for Christian Leaders: Powerful Leadership Skills for Solving Problems, Reaching Goals, and Developing Others (Keith Webb)
CAM 511 Growing Your Coaching Practice
• Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen (Donald Miller)
• Getting Naked: A Business Fable About Shedding the Three Fears That Sabotage Client Loyalty (Patrick Lencioni)
CAM 512 Coaching and Positive Psychology
• Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being (Martin Seligman)
• A Biblical Theology of Human Flourishing (Jonathan Pennington)
CAM 513 Coaching Church Planters
• Coach the Person, Not the Problem: A Simple Guide to Coaching for Transformation (Chad Hall)
• The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It (Michael Gerber)
• Building a Discipleship Culture (Mike Breen)
• Healthy Systems, Healthy Church E-book (Nelson Searcy)
Whew! That’s a long reading list. Even though it took you a while to read the list, simply reading the list will not help you grow as a coach. A better strategy is to reflect on your coaching and ask yourself, “Where could I grow stronger as a coach?” Let your response to that question help guide you to one or two of the resources listed above and then go from there. As you’re reading a particular book, be sure to put into practice what you are learning. And as always: keep your client’s growth and success as the driving purpose for what you do.
Finally, I must say that this is not a complete list (obviously!). That said, what other books would you recommend? Please leave your recommendations in the comments below.