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24 of the Best Life Coaching Books

24 of the Best Life Coaching Books

If you're looking for a few books to add to your reading list, explore 24 of the best life-coaching books now!


Leveraging the learnings of other experienced coaches or business professionals is an incredible way to jump-start your business. If someone has already done the hard part and learned the hard way, take their learnings and use them as life coach training :)

There are many ways to become a better coach, but the best way is to hunker down and lean into your own skillset and really understand the fundamental tools that you need to grow personally and professionally.

Whether you’re an experienced life coach or you’re on the path to becoming a professional life coach, using the key learnings from these books can immediately apply to your skill set. You can learn new coaching techniques and deepen your emotional intelligence.

With that in mind, let’s get into it! Here are some of the best life coaching books in the industry. They’re available in paperback, hardcover, and audiobook.  

1. Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett & Dave Evans

Design thinking is a process that teams use to understand users, challenge assumptions and redefine problems. Designing Your Life is a #1 NYT Best-Selling self-improvement book that shows readers and new coaches how to build — and design — a life that allows you to thrive every day.

The outcomes from this book can apply directly to your coaching business and will make you more effective through tools like journaling and design thinking. These tools and exercises allow readers to reflect on important aspects of life and prioritize what the future should hold. Ultimately leaving this book you might develop a roadmap for your coaching business or improvements to your coaching model.

Find this book on Amazon

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

Originally published in 1989 this book by Covey has stood the test of time. This book does an exceptional job of introducing a paradigm shift to help readers understand different perspectives and view problems from differing points of view.

The first six are focused on achieving independence and the seventh habit is helping to maintain independence. The full seven habits as described by Covey are:

  1. Be proactive
  2. Being 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

This isn’t a “quick start” kind of book so if you’re looking to sink your teeth into something and really delve into a solid read, consider The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Find this book on Amazon

3. The Life Coaching Handbook by Curly Martin

This book is one of the essential guides for many coaches (and of course life coaches!) while building your business plan. This book is a comprehensive step-by-step guide on how to coach yourself and coach others effectively. You can apply these skills to your own life or using this book you can build a successful coaching practice as it leads you through advanced life skills coaching program and NLP techniques including:

  • State control
  • Rapport-building
  • Spiral coaching
  • Meta-programs
  • Meta-languages
  • The Milton Model

If you’re an NLP practitioner, this is an essential read for you. Curly Martin himself is a professional life coach, trainer, author, and internationally recognized NLP Master practitioner as he’s coached for more than twenty years.

Find this book on Amazon

4. The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stanier

Michael Bungay Stanier is at the forefront of shaping how organizations see coaching as an essential leadership competency. His book The Coaching Habit is the best-selling coaching book of this century, with over a million copies sold. In 2019, he was named the #1 thought leader in coaching, and he has spoken on coaching from Brené Brown's podcast to the TEDx stage.

Drawing on years of experience training more than 10,000 busy managers from around the globe in practical, everyday coaching skills, Bungay Stanier reveals how to unlock your people's potential. He unpacks seven essential coaching questions to demonstrate how--by saying less and asking more--you can develop coaching methods that produce great results.

  • Get straight to the point in any conversation with The Kickstart Question
  • Stay on track during any interaction with The Awe Question
  • Save hours of time for yourself with The Lazy Question, and hours of time for others with The Strategic Question
  • Get to the heart of any interpersonal or external challenge with The Focus Question and The Foundation Question
  • Finally, ensure others find your coaching as beneficial as you do with The Learning Question

Michael recently joined us in 2022 to talk about  how to apply these principles learned in The Coaching Habit - it’s worth a watch!

Find this book on Amazon

5. The Coaching Effect by Bill Eckstrom and Sarah Wirth

The coaching effect will help leaders at a multitude of levels understand the need to challenge their network out of their comfort zone and create a high level of growth within an organization. Becoming a more effective coach and mentor is a fundamental tool to be better whether you coaching clients or coaching your internal team.

Readers will learn how to develop trusting relationships and become accountable to leverage high-growth experiences.

''Using evidence-based findings and vivid examples, Bill Eckstrom and Sarah Wirth reveal the 'missing piece' in leadership: the coaching factor. They show how, using growth rings and healthy tension, you can get the great people you hired to perform at peak capacity.''
-Mary Uhl-Bien, Ph.D., BNSF Railway Endowed Professor of Leadership, Texas Christian University

Find this book on Amazon

6. Do Hard Things by Steve Magness

Steve Magness is a performance expert, executive coach, and co-author of Peak Performance. Do Hard Things is a best-selling book teaching readers to do exactly what it says, do the hard things! As a performance scientist that coaches Olympic athletes, he’s helped rebuild broken models of resilience grounded in psychology and science.

Magness shares four core pillars to cultivate your resilience.

Pillar 1- Ditch the Façade, Embrace Reality
Pillar 2- Listen to Your Body
Pillar 3- Respond, Instead of React
Pillar 4- Transcend Discomfort

Find this book on Amazon

7. The Life Transformation Workbook by Hunter Carson

This workbook written by Hunter Carson was created to provide step-by-step actions to readers make positive changes in their lives. Through these 40+ exercises, readers will practice a few important programs for real-life personal development skills:

  • Create a life vision that excites you
  • Discover your purpose or “Why”
  • Set multiple goals in various life areas
  • Eradicate limiting beliefs
  • Work to change unwanted emotions
  • Implement powerful habits and routines in your life
  • Understand your core values and needs
  • Take action on your ideal life
  • Think of ways to make more money
  • Strengthen your faith

Find this book on Amazon

8. The Book of Coaching: For Extraordinary Coaches by Ajit Nawalkha

This book is filled with practical tools that you can apply to your coaching session today. This isn’t a technical manual filled with philosophical theories or a motivational book filled with “rah rah” messages to get you pumped up. This book is for coaches that want to be truly extraordinary.

In a letter from Ajit Nawalkha, co-founder of Mindvalley and host of Evercoach.

I know what it's like to want to make a difference but feel like you're going nowhere. That's why I've written a book on how to transform the world through coaching -- a book I want YOU to have.

Find this book on Amazon

9. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

Grit was an instant New York Times best-selling book. Written by Angela Duckworth, this book takes readers down a powerful story of toughness as she draws on her real-life experiences and stories.

From the synopsis of the book, there are a few valuable insights:

Why any effort you make ultimately counts twice toward your goal
How grit can be learned, regardless of I.Q. or circumstances
How lifelong interest is triggered
How much of optimal practice is suffering and how much ecstasy
Which is better for your child—a warm embrace or high standards
The magic of the Hard Thing Rule

Find this book on Amazon

10. The Good Life by Robert Waldinger and Marc Schulz

Waldinger a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical and Schulz an associate director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development combine to help readers answer the key question, “What makes for a happy life, a fulfilling life?”

Although complex, the answer is actually quite simple: relationships. This book has invaluable insights from some of the personal stories in their studies about adult lives.

This book tells us how we can make our life happier and more complete through our connection to friends, family, and colleagues.

Find this book on Amazon

11. The Prosperous Coach by Steve Chandler and Rich Litvin

With over 100,000 copies sold, The Prosperous Coach is a best-selling book for those looking to build a coaching practice with a small number of high-performing and high-paying clients.

This book is known globally to help coaches of all types build a business through referrals and word of mouth. We know from our recently published 2023 State of Coaching report that this is one of the most popular ways that coaches grow their businesses.  

The Prosperous Coach has been described as a must-read for every coach (and even consultants) because it provides a step-by-step path to running a successful life coaching business.

Find this book on Amazon

12. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown

Brené Brown is one of the most prolific authors in the world of coaching and a thought leader in shame, authenticity, and belonging. The purpose of this book (or as some refer to it as a workbook) can help readers embrace their imperfections. As described by Harriet Lerner, “The Gifts of Imperfection" is like having a long, uplifting conversation with a very wise friend who offers compassion, wisdom, and great advice.”

This book is an important tool for helping readers lead a fuller life and tackle some of life’s most challenging moments. Read along to learn the ten guideposts on the power of a fulfilled life  and how to engage the world from a place of worthiness.

Find this book on Amazon

13. Leadership Coaching by Tony Stoltzfus

This book is an essential tool for anyone who wants to learn to coach or improve their coaching skills. Tony Stoltzfus is a renowned Christian Coach Trainer and this book is filled with all of the real-life stories from his experience. He shares practical tools and exercises you can easily apply to your coaching clients.

Find this book on Amazon


14. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

This is one of the classics on our list and is absolutely a bestseller. Written in 1936 by Dale Carnegie, How to win friends and influence people sold over 30 million copies globally. This book has stood the test of time and is still relevant today.

Through this self-help book, you can learn the six ways to make people like you, the twelve ways to win people over to your way of thinking, and the nine ways to change people without arousing resentment.

Find this book on Amazon

15. The Power of Self-Coaching by Joseph J. Luciani

The power of self-coaching shares a five-step program to reconnect with the innate capacity for happiness. With this book from Luciani, you’ll learn to:

  • Identify learned patterns of thought and feelings that make you unhappy
  • Apply Dr. Luciani’s celebrated Self-Talk techniques to develop new, healthy ways of thinking — this can be applied as a coaching tool with your clients
  • Eliminate bordem, hopelessness, chronic fatigue, and numbness in your life
  • And finally, tap into your full creative and emotional potential to live a fulfilling and rich life.

This review captures the essence of the book well:  

"There is nothing more empowering than accepting responsibility. Taking responsibility is not about assuming fault; it is about re-taking the helm and control of your journey in life. This book will help you navigate through the difficulties of personality and behavioral change to more emotional peace."

-Dr. Laura Schlessinger, author of The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands

Find this book on Amazon

16. The Ultimate Coach by Amy Hardison and Alan D. Thompson

Hardison and Thompson have an interesting approach to positioning this book. They don’t lean on any testimonials or social proof to entice you to read, but simply want you to, “not read this book about me [them] and rather read this book about you.”

This is not a self-help book, or a strategy on how to coach, but rather reveals the evolution that took Hardison into one of the most sought-after coaches in the world today. Reading this book allows you to unlock some of the hidden corners of your soul.

But Steve Hardison would not say any of this. He would say this book is about BEING. It is ultimately about YOU.

Find this book on Amazon

17. Co-Active Coaching by Henry Kimsey-House, Karen Kimsey-House, Laura Whitworth, and Phillip Sandahl

Released in July 2018, Co-Active Coaching is an extremely useful book in any Coach’s Toolkit and a must-have for any reading list for new coaches. This book is used as an important resource in dozens of professional development programs.

This book teaches important tools in a transformative communication process allowing readers at all levels to benefit from building strong, collaborative relationships up and down the organizational chart.

Find this book on Amazon

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

Habits can be an essential tool for running a successful coaching business. If you work to keep your coaching clients more accountable and instill habits in their routines and lives, The Power of Habit is a great tool for you.

At its core, this book helps readers understand how habits work. The key to any kind of habit development in exercise, losing weight, becoming healthier, or any other kind of self-improvement priority comes from consistency and that means building a successful habit.

Find this book on Amazon

19. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Published in 2011, this book by Daniel Kahneman illustrates how two systems in your brain are constantly fighting over the control of your behavior and actions. Kahneman teaches you multiple ways to solve for errors in judgment, memory, and decision.

System 1 is fast instinctive and emotional whereas System 2 is slower, more intentional, and logical. Using this book, Kahneman shares a few ways for you to run a number of personal experiences to understand the differences between the two major thought systems and how you can arrive at different destinations given the same starting place.

Find this book on Amazon

20. Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? by Dr. Julie Smith

No, not Julien Smith ;) Dr. Julie Smith, a British clinical psychologist teaches readers how to fortify and maintain mental health even at the most difficult times. This book is packed with proven strategies  and offers a deep understanding of how your mind works. This is essential in running a coaching business as you’ll want to understand what you’re good at and what you’re not so good at.

As a very practical book, you’ll derive coping techniques that will help you stay resilient while dealing with anxiety, and criticism, cope with depression, build self-confidence, find motivation, and learn to forgive yourself ultimately. This book might change your life :)  

Find this book on Amazon

21. Walks of Life: Professional Life Coaching for All by Jill M. Fratto

Walks of Life is known as the ultimate life coaching guide. Jill Fratto is an ICF-certified life coach and specializes in coaching-based programming. She’s published this book drawing from actual client conversations and you can apply these tools to your coaching practice immediately.  

This book has over 50+ pages of real coaching dialogue. So for new coaches looking to get hands-on with real client conversations, it’s a must-read!

Find this book on at the National Coaching Academy

22. Make Money as a Life Coach: How to Become a Life Coach and Attract Your First Paying Client by Sally Miller and Melissa Ricker

This is a great book for new life coaches just launching their coaching business. Published in 2018, this book by Miller & Ricker provides a step-by-step path to launching and growing a successful. life coaching business. Getting your first paying client is tough, everyone will admit that!

If you wish someone would tell you exactly how much to charge or where to engage your first clients, this is a fantastic resource to become an effective coach.

And, if you’re looking for a guide to build your business plan, we’ve also published a free template for you!  

Find this book on Amazon

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

In this book written by Beck, you’ll truly learn how to read your internal compass. Surprisingly, your body has already built a compass and now it’s time for you to tap into it. Dr. Beck is a Harvard-trained sociologist and her experiences with clients provide a glimpse into the case studies, questionnaires, and exercises that you can use in your coaching practice today.

Find this book on Amazon

24. Revolutionary Leadership: Essential Lessons from the Men & Women of the American Revolution by Patrick Williams

What better time of crisis to refer to for leadership than the American Revolution? Pat Williams shows how the men and women from our pastime face incredible odds and dire consequences but prevailed with their own principles of leadership.

Find this book on Amazon


There’s no “secret sauce” to building a successful coaching business. By consuming some or all of the best life coaching books, you’ll be able to make an informed decision about what skills or techniques you’d apply to the needs of your clients.

And, if you’d like to streamline your coaching business you can try Practice free for 7 days!

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