How important is coaching to your organization?
Do you coach your direct reports?
Would you like managers and leaders in your company to coach employees more often and in more effective ways?
Could good coaching solve a performance deficiency in your workplace?
One of the simplest methods for learning or teaching better coaching is reading books on performance coaching that are written by performance coaches and mentoring experts and express timeless principles. We have compiled a list of twelve of our favorite performance-coaching books below.
Another excellent way to learn the skills of high-performance coaching is to attend one of CMOE’s coaching workshops and/or engage in one-on-one coaching with one of our experienced executive coaches. In the meantime, choose one of the books we’ve highlighted here for a fascinating read. Each one offers insights on how to better diagnose business problems and create plans to help your employees reach peak levels of performance.
Performance-Coaching Books to Read in 2019: The Top 12
Authors: Dr. Steven J. Stowell, Ph.D.; Cherissa S. Newton, M.Ed.; and Eric D. Mead
This coaching book can help both beginning business coaches and those who are more seasoned. If you are unfamiliar with the principles of coaching or how to have effective coaching discussions with others, Coaching for Results can help. This book offers case studies, action steps, and examples that will get you started quickly. If you’re an experienced coach, CMOE’s Coaching TIPS2™ Model will give you a proven, time-tested framework built from decades of coaching research on the skills that all high-performance coaches demonstrate and how to use them in your role. This book is focused on how to use coaching to support better job performance and enhance the results of your business.
Author: Mary Beth A. O’Neill
The title of this book refers to the idea that if you coach powerful executives, you must mirror the passion they feel for their business objectives. That’s the heart. You must also have the courage, or backbone, to tell those executives the truth, something that many subordinates won’t do, especially during an emergency. As an executive coach, you must be seen as a powerful personality in your own right, not an underling. This book teaches you how to establish and measure goals with the executives you coach, help them change their behavioral patterns, measure the ROI of coaching, and much more.
Author: Tony Stoltzfus
Asking the right questions is a crucial skill in coaching—more important than in any other situation, according to Tony Stoltzfus, a top trainer of coaches. He presents dozens of frameworks for asking questions and shows how they can be translated into approximately 1,200 different example questions found throughout the book. These questions can help the employees you are coaching by encouraging them to think differently and try out a new strategy or action. The book also shares training exercises for mastering questions, the top 10 mistakes coaches make when they start to ask questions, and other useful insights.
Author: Viktor E. Frankl
Although this book doesn’t appear at first glance to be focused on business coaching, it deals with the deepest questions on what motivates people to act in the ways they do. The author was able to find meaning, motivation, and compassion in Nazi concentration camps, even as his family died around him. His insights and theories have influenced many people to find what motivates them—well beyond pain and pleasure. Understanding these ideas could help you in mentoring your employees to tap into the fundamental sources of their motivation.
Author: Myles Downey
This author was the founder of a successful consultancy business in London and serves as a master coach to high-level business executives. The style he uses to explain the basics of coaching is easy to understand and includes an explanation of the mindset of successful coaches and managers. But this book isn’t only for leaders; anyone working with other people will benefit from its ideas. The author also explains how to set up a workplace environment that brings out the potential of employees, supporting higher levels of performance and helping people reach their goals. Read his descriptions of the process of working with clients to learn how to become a better coach.
Author: Michael Bungay Stanier
Mr. Stanier’s book is a practical and unusual guide to coaching, aimed at helping people coach more regularly in the workplace—and allowing them to expend less effort and have a more-positive effect when doing so. He teaches seven categories of questions that help managers get results more easily:
- The Awesome Question keeps conversations focused
- The Kickstart Question finds the main point
- The Learning Question helps employees benefit more from coaching
- The Lazy Question and The Strategic Question help you save time
- The Focus Question and The Foundation Question help you find the main problem
The author offers scientific research, wit, and practical advice.
Author: Andrew S. Grove
The former CEO of Intel shares his philosophy for managing people in almost any organizational setting, whether you’re a consultant, a departmental manager, a teacher, an executive, a founder, or working in another business role. This book gives hands-on ideas for managing a company or building a more-effective small team. It explains how to motivate employees better and uses real case studies to make ideas vivid and clear. Many readers, including Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, have used this book to improve their workplaces.
Author: Jennifer Garvey Berger
Through her exploration of important theories of human development and growth, this author explains how to lead people in any situation. She also uses practical case studies to teach the foundational principles of leadership. After learning these ideas, you should be able to turn your team members into more-effective performers and make your team more adaptable in any situation. These ideas can help you if you lead a department, work in HR, simply want to achieve peak performance in your own job role, or want to learn to coach better.
Authors: Jennifer Garvey Berger and Keith Johnston
This innovative book teaches three techniques for dealing with situations in which many factors are unknown, particularly when traditional methods of leadership don’t seem to be working. It will teach you to see your whole business system clearly, ask better questions, and understand additional perspectives in any situation. You will also learn to understand yourself, your role, and the marketplace better. Turning these simple ideas into habits will give you greater problem-solving abilities for difficult, recurring business challenges.
Authors: Daniel Kahneman
A bestseller and winner of multiple awards, this book teaches that human beings have two systems of thinking: a quick, intuitive system and a slower, more logical system. The Nobel Prize-winning author reveals how easy it is to become overconfident in our own corporate strategies and how our biases shape our decisions. He explains many aspects of business and life through his theory of these two systems of thinking and ultimately teaches us how to put our intuitive and our logical thinking abilities to their best use.
Authors: Matthew Syed
This book can help anyone in any industry learn from their mistakes and use them to their benefit. Matthew Syed, a bestselling and award-winning journalist and author, explains through surprising real-life stories how many people and companies have learned from failure and become much more successful. The book teaches practical lessons for becoming better at thinking of mistakes as opportunities and deeply exploring each failure to find the lessons for success. This book teaches how to practice these habits as part of your overall strategy and, as a coach, you could teach leaders to employ this mindset.
Authors: Carol S. Dweck
This book, which has influenced millions of people, can help you understand the critical lessons of having a better mindset, something you can also pass on to the people you coach. Using decades of psychological research, the author links the growth mindset to forms of success in almost all types of activities. You can use these ideas to help employees accomplish more than they thought was possible and create a better culture for your business. This book can both increase success and improve lives.
Which Performance Coaching Book Will Serve You Best?
To decide where to begin, ask yourself which of these books seems most interesting to you and where you are in the stages of development as a coach. If you’re just starting out, you might want to focus on a performance-coaching book that teaches fundamentals, such as Coaching for Results—but bear in mind that this book can also elevate the coaching skills and results of even the most veteran leaders.
Every one of these books can enhance your coaching and mentoring practices in some way. To discover how you can help others to become better performers and more-well-rounded human beings, add one of these books to your reading list right away.