Research Paper By Peter Tavernise
(Leadership Coach, UNITED STATES)
This paper is a synthesis of interviews with 14 established coaches in the United States, Costa Rica, and the United Kingdom, ranging from 5 to 15+ years in professional coaching experience. The interview questions covered several topics of significant interest in coaching students who are nearing the end of their studies, specifically:
- How did you navigate establishing your niche, and how has your niche evolved over time?
- What advice would you give to new coaches who are just starting out?
- How did you set your initial fees, and how has your pricing evolved as you gained experience?
- What resources would you recommend to the new coach – what are your go-to references now?
Disclaimer: This is a regional sample and does not cover coaching practices and perspectives from all geographies, which was outside the scope of this paper. The author invites other coaching students to perform similar interviews covering other regions and related questions, to add to this body of work. Also, note that not all coaches hold the same views or opinions, nor gave the same answers. What follows is a synthesis of their responses, with anonymized quotations, along with potential conclusions that can be drawn from the interviews.
How did you navigate establishing your niche, and how has your niche evolved over time?
For coaching students engaged in defining our niche, the process can feel like navigating unknown waters. What would be helpful is a map to help us know where the rocky shoals may be, and what a navigable route to harbor might look like. The established coaches interviewed for this paper provide at least three general ways to approach the niching process, while also at times calling out landmarks, hazards, and caution about believing that there is a destination.
First, a few of the interviewed coaches talked about defining niche along the lines of what is taught in the ICA curriculum – the more defined and narrow your niche the better, as one attempts to enter or create a market for coaching services. In other words, for a few established coaches, narrowly defining their niche did lead directly to a viable business model and a thriving practice.
Second, and by contrast, most coaches interviewed found that even when they attempted to narrowly define their niche, what actually happened was more a process of discovery than of following their pre-defined niche restrictions. How this manifested was expressed in terms of “your niche finds you,” “my niche evolved organically,” “think about niching as a sort of ongoing experiment,” or “it is fine to narrow an offer in order to enter a market, but what you find is that your niche begins to broaden immediately after that.”
Third, it is common that a coach may initially want to coach in a field that they know well, that perhaps is centered on their previous professional background or field. For several of the interviewed coaches, this approach has worked well, and some even provide consulting services in those professional areas as a blended model in addition to coaching. By contrast, what other coaches reported is that they identified too closely with the clients they worked within their previous field to be truly effective as coaches for those individuals. Instead what they found is that they were much more successful coaching people in fields that are well outside their area of professional experience. For instance, a coach with a previous career in marketing found more success and was more comfortable coaching engineers, CTOs, programmers, etc. than coaching people in the marketing field.
Fourth, several interviewees described having “niches” plural and/or had adjacent services they offer, or activities they engaged in to balance out their coaching offering, which included consulting, writing, teaching (usually as a coaching instructor), resume assistance, assessments, webinars, or offering psycho-therapeutic services or counseling.
Finally, three interviewees insisted that niching is never complete, and as one puts it “your niche evolves underneath you over time.”Niching, like coaching, may simply be a process of ongoing discovery, and if you do hit some rocks with the keel of your boat – well, that is part of the journey. A journey without a specific destination or final harbor.
Advice and reflections around niche: a compilation of thoughts from across the interview cohort.
“Most coaches niche way too soon. This is like choosing a winning Superbowl team if you have never watched a football game. You don’t know the teams and you have nothing on which to base your decision. But if you watch for an entire season, then you do have experience on which to base the selection of your winning team. Same with coaching. Coach for a season, then decide. A year or whatever a season means to you. Get enough experience to make an informed decision.”
“Coaches niche too soon because it is easier to spend time choosing a niche, and building a website, and writing blogs than it is to start an actual coaching business. You avoid that part out of fear and uncertainty. Get out there and start coaching, first and foremost.”
“First, I went up into my head to try to THINK through this. But what ultimately helped was working with a coach, who suggested I consider my journey, and what I most enjoy helping clients with.[So now I am] working with a broad range of people on the same type of things I have worked through myself: resilience, purpose, confidence, authentic leadership. The other threads (nature, adventure, outdoors) are really the method by which I do that work, the tools.”
“I’ve been focusing on Team coaching, shadowing team meetings, seeing how [clients] actually behave in action. This is a trend in the executive context, to shift the system. Still, there is an intimacy in one-on-one coaching, which is satisfying and people’s deep hunger for meaning is significant – people are willing to sign up for an extended engagement to answer that question. [With that said,] market factors mean it may still be better to work with groups.”
“Niche is a type of business that is different from demographics. When I launched my business, my insistence on a narrow niche definition led me to bankruptcy. When you define your niche, you base it on your current level of Awareness, so how do you know the niche you set for yourself is correct? You should be discovering it as you go.”
“Niche is helpful for the client to identify with and to find you. Niche is also important to create a specific product that you bring [to a specific] market. We need to inventory and identify our skills, background and map those to our potential niche. Be honest with yourself about what you have to offer. Also, what complementary services to offer (assessments, etc.). Last, be sure to join or create a community. Nothing happens if you are not part of a community.”
“My grandfather always said, “A Path Leads to a Path.” This is the single most common sentiment my clients reflect back to me over time – it turns out to be true in their lives. Be cautious, don’t define your niche forever. Step into it now, what you are confident in, start with knowing it will evolve. It will feel better when you understand what works.”
“Do not get stuck in a scarcity mentality, which is especially easy in the early years of coaching. Mindset is so important. Don’t come at this as though you must land any client who will take you. Trying to take anyone who will be your client is just not attractive. Remember you are coming from a place of abundance, you have so much to offer. Also, know when someone is just not going to make a good client – it is ok to let them go! Once you do all this, things open up more.”
“Focus on the triangle of: can they pay me, am I good at coaching them, do I like to coach them? Find clients at the intersection of that triangle and there in your niche.”
“About niche, there is also the layer of who is drawn to you and who you are drawn to, who are clients who get you excited vs. saying “Meh,” when you see them on your schedule? This should tell you who your people are.”
“Do I have a niche? Certainly not as we have trained and advised our coaching students. It is less than obvious. It is a WHAT I DO as opposed to a WHO WITH.”
“Make the distinction between marketing, and practice perspective. Marketing is a very specific avatar you create. You validate and segment your message by audience. Don’t confuse them. At the same time, you can market narrowly, but practice broadly. People will show up seeking something specific (e.g. seeking career coaching) and will lead to other referrals and areas of practice. And then you’ll see the next iteration of your life.”
“By the time you get to the second session, it is all life coaching. Less than 50% of these executives [I work with] have business-related issues: instead, they are struggling with political situations, personal issues, “who am I and what do I want?” Usually, it means a job change. Instead of identifying our target niche, we should identify our ideal client.”
As you can see there was an incredibly rich and diverse spectrum of advice on niching offered by the coaches interviewed. The above excerpts are barely a fraction of the niching content from these conversations but were selected to reflect the most relevant and consistent elements on the topic that occurred across the interview cohort.
What advice would you give to new coaches just starting out?
We coaching students just starting out have apprehensions about what happens after we graduate. Interviewing established coaches was an opportunity to ask: “What do you wish you had known when you were starting out?” and “If it was only one bit of advice, what would you go back and tell your younger self? What do you wish you had known?” As found previously, the range of advice was thematically diverse:
- Trust the process
- Coach, coach, coach
- Get yourself a coach
- Cultivate a Growth Mindset
- Find and participate in a community of practice
- Establish and run sound business practices and processes
The most common advice to the new coach centered on trusting the process of coaching itself. By following the model, simply listening to and holding space for a client we are most of the way there towards successful coaching. As one interviewee put it, “Coaching is about PRESENCE, be present with the client, put your attention and your INTENTION together to reach the problem underneath the problem.”Along those lines, “This work is 90% love and presence, and 10% coaching.” Also mentioned is the aspect of coaching as a practice, not as performance: “The more you look at everything as a form of practice as opposed to performance the better. Study each aspect of the process, practice each stage, and revise based on experience.”
Also trusting the process of finding a niche, that if we reach enough people with coaching our niche will define itself. This instruction led organically to the second most common advice: we became coaches to coach, so do that. Coach before you worry about website content, blogging, marketing, or any other aspects of your business.“Keep coaching at all costs – keep reminding yourself of the power of coaching.”Make sure your every-day routine includes coaching. “Coach as often and as well as you can until you start getting word of mouth referrals, everything grows from this approach.” It does appear from all the interviews that it can take between 3-5 years for word-of-mouth referrals to become the primary sustaining factor of coaching practice (as opposed to being reliant on other strategies such as active marketing).
In terms of reframing our lack of experience as student coaches, “take the opportunity as a new/student coach to coach as much as you can at low or no fees before it becomes an issue of having to charge and things get more complicated.” Use the resources of our coaching training school, take advantage of online resources to review what master coaches say about case studies. “Be playful and creative. Coming right out of coaching training you are all up in your head. Adopting a sense of play brings you into a more embodied and presence-filled place.” And most of all: “Don’t stop your own process of discovery – continue to find yourself, because if you lose that growth and search for fulfillment you are cheating yourself and your clients. See to yourself, as you are the instrument through which you coach.”
As well, the advice is we must walk the talk by hiring our own coach. Someone who can challenge us, and who is far along enough ahead of us that their Awareness and mindset can help inform our own– which is still developing as a new coach. One interviewee insisted our coach should have at least five years of experience running their own successful coaching practice. “Not just any coach, but one who is like what you want to create in your own business – someone who is successful and established. Not to say working with early coaches isn’t valuable, but their Awareness level is different than that of an established coach.”
Joining and participating in an affiliative community around coaching was also very common advice. To combat loneliness, to have a group of peers with which to compare notes, and to provide mutual referrals. Also, our peer coaches can be a great source of initial endorsements or testimonials, solving that chicken-and-egg problem of how to get clients when we don’t have a way to tell a story of how we have already helped clients.
Other advice ranged from the attitudinal, “trust your gut,” and “remember you love to work with people” to the practical, “set up your client agreement structure, client creation script, and payment processing.”
For instance, practical business advice:
“Get good at your processes… How do you want to handle the “onboarding” of a new client? How do you want to track what a client is up to? How do you want to handle accountability? Do you want to review progress in sessions or off-line in e-mail check-ins? How do you want to manage assessments? What is your policy for no-shows? Figuring this out upfront instead of doing it as you go will save you a lot of time, churn and even confusion with clients. These processes don’t need to be perfect, you can always change them. However, figuring it out as you go is very time consuming, so put in the time upfront.”Also: “Don’t sell yourself short, you have a lot to offer so don’t under-price your services. If you are going to discount services, make it REALLY clear to the client that you are doing this so they understand that you are giving them a deal and that it may not always be that way.”
Along the same lines: “Figure out what works for you – fewer clients and higher fees, or more clients with lower fees, whatever fits your needs and interests.” Coaches also talked about the incredible importance of Growth Mindset: “This is about the Art of Possibility, which is about getting out of our own way, the ways we sabotage ourselves. This is about what do we WANT TO CREATE.” As another coach put it, “You will get knocked down, things will not work out at times, so be sure to cultivate a growth mindset and see these things for the lessons they are, just as you would want your clients to do.” This includes practicing the art of Recommitting and recognizing where our own Resistance may help as a compass guide to point out what factors or activities we are potentially avoiding when we should be paying closest attention to those things and taking action on them.
As a last word of advice: “Coaching is an infinite game, don’t limit yourself.”
How did you set your initial fees, and how has your pricing evolved as you gained experience?
This was not a question I had initially planned to ask for the research paper. However, during the final months of my ICA coaching program, I encountered distress around how to set fees in so many peer coaching sessions with my fellow student coaches that I felt compelled to go back to my initial set of interviewees and add this as a written response, and then included the question in subsequent interviews.
One interesting point: even the established coaches I spoke with were intensely curious to hear what their peers were saying about fees. It seems this question-mark around how to set fees is not fully resolved even after five or more years in the profession.
While I had hoped to gather some clear direction on how one should set coaching fees, the responses were so diverse that after analysis, it seems the best approach is to simply outline a general set of criteria or variables by which coaches make their decisions about what to charge for their services.
These decision criteria for how to set fees included:
- Amount of coaching experience of the coach
- Amount invested by the coach in coaching training and other previous professional training
- Amount and type of relevant previous (non-coaching) professional experience
- Previous (non-coaching) pay-ranges
- Geography where coaching is provided
- The ability of target/niche demographic to pay (e.g. corporate clients could pay more than those in other fields)
- Who is paying (e.g. third party corporate coaching vs. individual)
- In-person vs. virtual/ phone coaching; individual vs. group coaching
- Type of coaching offered (e.g., executive coaching vs. creativity coaching)
- Focus and scope of an offering (e.g. packages, programs, or group coaching; the number of months and/or number of sessions in aggregate)
- Lifestyle/level of needed or intended income of the coach him/her/them-self
- Number of coaching clients a coach plans to take on (or thinks is reasonable to take on, which can be stated as the number of clients per X time period; the number of calls per day; clients per week, etc.)
- Increasing the fee/ rate after any of:
- X number of additional clients served
- Additional months or years of coaching experience
- Moving from ACC to PCC or MCCcertification
- After any new relevant training or certifications
NOTE: Several established coaches reported holding between one and three initial sessions with a potential client before ever discussing packages or pricing (the “creating the client” process).
Ranges of fees charged: Coaches interviewed reported charging everything from $10/hr-$35/hr (as a student coach) to $50,000/year or more per packaged offering as an established coach. The lowest fees were reported while still in student coach status, and the highest fees began to peak after as little as a year or two of coaching. One coach reported simply basing their pricing on market research (having done the analysis and arrived at average ACC/PCC fees charged, roughly equal to $200/$350 per hour, respectively). One established coach admonished that we should charge no less than the most we had ever been paid in any previous role. Several coaches set sliding scales for pricing, either based on the number of sessions offered, or on the ability to pay – for instance when charging more to higher-ability-to-pay clients (corporations) allowed them to charge less for individual clients in certain populations with less economic means. The relative nature of what we choose to set as our fee was summed up this way by one interviewee: “I have met extraordinary coaches who charge less than me, and I’ve also met ordinary coaches who charge double what I charge.”
Advice and reflections around fees: a compilation of thoughts from across the interview cohort.
“When I was still in training, what helped me is what I heard from my coaching instructor: “Charge as much as you can get out of your mouth without choking.” It sounds glib but makes a lot of sense. Everyone is different, there is no formula, every niche is different, your background, history, your reputation and street cred in that niche may mean you can command a higher fee. It is about trusting ourselves, about how much we feel we are credibly worth at that moment in time and the perceived value of the outcome to the client.”
“Only sell packages. I don’t think coaches should quote hourly fees, it is not healthy for our profession to go down that commodification road. And not good for the client. Because the client doesn’t understand what they are getting, they need to have a different kind of value conversation. We don’t sell ourselves, or our time, we are selling the change the client wants – what is that worth to them?”
“As a profession, we need to be careful about not under-pricing our services. There is a trend towards cheap, ‘on-demand’ coaching via things like SMS text that has a potential ripple effect of diminishing coaching’s value.”
“We coaches are paid for results. Best if we do not charge by the hour but instead by the package.” And similarly: “I hired a marketing coach who said you need to sell an ultimate result.”
“If you do the exercise of comparing to your peers [e.g. market research] try not to set not too high, not too low: price competition will drive the market to the bottom and that doesn’t help anyone.”
“After every six clients at a given fee/rate, raise your rate again.”
“Stop assuming what you think any given client can pay – simply ask your price and see what happens. They will often surprise you.”
“Add…up the cost of tuition, fees, and … the number of labor hours … spent on coaching classes, study, and reading. [Start with the rate you earned at your last job]. Please keep in mind no company will be able to fully compensate us for what we are worth based on the value we bring to an organization, but it is a good baseline. We all know we are worth far more than what we are getting paid!”
“Many coaches set their prices based on a feeling. For instance, they think they can’t charge much because they are “new.” This doesn’t take into account their life experience and everything they bring to the table. It is not based on truth.”
Regarding the example of setting lower fees for creatives (artists, dancers, writers): “Maybe this is something to re-examine, for instance, if creatives themselves are not set fees for what they are really worth, can paying a coach more help them realize they also need to charge more for their services?”
“Ask yourself, what is your floor, and what is your ceiling? How much is the least I would accept, and what is the most I could imagine ever asking? What is the minimum you can charge wherein two months you won’t say to yourself, “it is not fair to myself that I charged so little.” Don’t go below that.”
“Consider that our fees are subject to change. Because each day, each week, each month I spend coaching and investing in my development, the value I can provide definitely increases.”
“Five rules of coaching, which build on each other:
- Be Coaching
- Charge something, charge anything – the difference between zero and $1 is massive for some people.
- Charge more.
- Charge more than you ever thought you could to do coaching.
- Hire a coach you couldn’t possibly afford.”
“I recommend early pricing at $500 for two sessions a month – most people will say yes to that because it’s less than rent or a mortgage payment. This also allows you to get started with clients with no big commitment, that builds your confidence — you get money flowing in, your confidence grows. Then you can move on to packages, such as $10K/ year. In coaching, reaching a fee level of $1000/month per client is the big threshold.”
“Most coaches are averse to selling when it is the most important skill you have other than coaching. It is not different from coaching. Really great coaching is no different from really great sales. When you coach, you coach for resolution through insight. When you sell, you coach for resolution through commitment.”
“I have a philosophy that I’m not an ‘hourly’ service. If I have a client mention that a particular book is informing their thinking, I’ll read the book so I can coach them with that in mind. If I have a client that needs me to custom-design an exercise for them, I’ll do that…. I take calls between sessions, texting, e-mails, I will extend beyond the number of sessions to achieve a milestone, etc. So I knew I needed to charge a ‘package’ price, not by the hour.”
“If you are a coach you are always underestimating your worth, so work on it. Ultimately “Charge what feels right.” At that time, for that client. Balanced by “you’re probably underestimating what you’re worth.” You can play with this dynamic – you don’t have to charge anything in particular – it is up to you. Experiment.”
“Don’t get stuck thinking about this from a perspective of lack and scarcity, instead consider it a place of possibility and excitement. Think about it. Are our clients really paying you for your time? No. they are paying you to get them where they want to be. Massive change, insights, events, What is that worth?”
At a meta-level, as asserted by three interviewees: what is clear from a coaching standpoint is that the issue of setting and paying fees is intimately bound up in the coach’s own issues around money and self-esteem (“what am I worth =what can I charge?”), and the client’s issues around money and self-esteem (“what am I willing to pay; what can I afford; what is my growth worth to me when considered in terms of money?”). As one established coach put it: “when a client first commits to pay for coaching at a certain level, there, the journey of change has already begun.”
What resources would you recommend to the new coach – what are your go-to references now?
This topic was approached with the assumption that every established coach might have one or two favorite resources that they constantly find themselves recommending, whether to clients or to fellow coaches. For instance, I have lost track of the number of peer coaches and clients I have suggested should read the Stanford Design School-based Designing your Life workbook.
First, as might be expected, several interviewees mentioned their primary resource and what they recommend is the relationship they have established with their own coach. Continuing to walk the talk around coaching means being open to continuous and lifelong learning through engaging the coaching process as a client as well as a coach. Included along those lines is engaging a community of peer coaches with whom to compare notes, provide mutual support and “ongoing reflection on each other’s work.”
Second, an emphasis for several interviewees was their ongoing reliance on their initial training, and on periodically revisiting the fundamentals over time with a new perspective and additional experience. These fundamentals include such ICA basics as Active Listening, Direct Communication, Designing Actions, etc.
Regarding all other resources, as it turns out, some coaches consciously curate their recommendations by an individual (and where an individual is on their journey), or curate their recommended books by coaching competency. Others don’t recommend books as much as they might recommend a certification or training program, tool, methodology, or coaching model. As one established coach put it, periodically stepping into new and unknown territory by engaging in a new model or training keeps things fresh, and demonstrates an “orientation to a lifelong learning mindset.” Finally, one coach interviewed said the most important and profoundly supportive resources are meditation and spending time in nature. Thus, the originally intended list of books has grown to include websites, models, associations, etc. All of these have been aggregated and are listed at the end of this paper.
Predominant categories/themes in the resources section include:
- Leadership and related organizational roles/skillsets
- Creativity, Trust, Bravery, Confidence, and similar human qualities
- Mindset, Choice, and Autonomy
- Diversity and Inclusion
- Coaching practice and theory
- Sales and Selling; Business and Strategic Planning
- Peripheral / enrichment / inspiration resources (poetry, etc.)
While my original intention had been to read and briefly review all recommended resources, the sheer volume of suggestions has led me to recognize it will take a few years to delve into and fully appreciate what has been provided. With that said, I have provided a thumbnail preview for the books or resources I have been able to read thus far. May you find at least a few worthwhile touchstones for yourself and for your coaching practice in the list below.
Student coaches about to launch into their careers should find comfort that there seem to be many viable paths to a successful practice. In contrast to many of the niching resources available to the coaching student, which emphasize the need to narrow the focus to specific demographic and purpose, several successful coaches advised instead that niching is an ongoing process that happens organically over time, and which may never be completed.
With regard to fees, the interviews made it clear that generalized rules for setting a price for coaching are highly individualized and difficult to distill into any single approach. Instead, the process of setting a coaching fee is best summarized as a set of criteria or variables that can be used to make a pricing decision.
With regards to advice to the fledgling coach, lifelong learning, a growth mindset, be coaching, have your own coach, and trusting the process all are themes found throughout responses to these four questions. Finding and participating in an affiliative community of practice appears to be important as well for support and mutual guidance. This initial research shows there is significant value in students spending time talking with and learning from established coaches to help guide our steps after certification.
References and Resources
Interviews, by Name, Organization, and Date:
- Arias, Minor.LideresDeterminados, Vivir por Diseño. November 5, 2019
- Atwood, Laura. Laura R. Atwood & Assoc. August 6, 2019
- Collison, Tara. Meddlers, October 10, 2019
- Corcoran, Heather. Corcoran Leadership, August 30, 2019
- Curtin, Katie. Life Design for Creative Souls, August 28, 2019
- Horey, Catriona. With Catriona. September 2, 2019
- Kennedy, Tracy. Kennedy Coaching and Consulting, September 19, 2019
- Mackay-Lewis, Hamish. Nature Calling, January 20, 2019
- Maddox, Paula. Paula’s Perspectives, July 26, 2019
- McCree, Toku.Unexecutive, December 3, 2019
- Polk, Melanie. Bright House Marketing and Coaching, September 5, 2019
- Swale, Robbie. Robbie Swale Coaching, October 30, 2019
- Toller, Michael. Michael Toller Coaching, November 25, 2019
- Villalobos, Jose Antonio. Javs Mundo Leadership Coaching, October 11, 2019
References Recommended by the Interviewees
Berger, Jennifer Garvey Unlocking Leadership Mindtraps: How to Thrive in Complexity Berger outlines five leadership mind-traps based on her review of decades of research: we are trapped by simple stories, by a sense of rightness, by our tendency to seek agreement, by our need for control, and by our ego. For each trap, she offers proven practices for individuals, leaders, and groups to work through those traps and use them for opportunities for growth and expansion.
Burnett, Bill, and Evans, Dave. Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life. A workbook by two professors from Stanford Design school, and built out of their popular on-campus course of the same name. Their approach is to consider the question ‘what do I want to be when I grow up’ not as a question to be answered once and finally, but instead to be approached as a series of iterative design prototypes, that are tested, implemented, and continuously revised over time.
Bursel, Ayse. Design the Life you Love
Chandler, Steve, and Litvin, Rich. The Prosperous Coach. Challenges assumptions regarding how to build a coaching practice as a business.
Covey, Steven. Trust Drivers model
Coaches Rising, and Coaches Rising Podcast
Dethmer, Jim et. al. The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership: A New Paradigm for Sustainable Success.
Drake, David. Narrative coaching more densely academic text than many other coaching references works, but well worth the time if your interest is in client’s stories and how their personal narrative may help them self-author their changes in ways that help them embrace new challenges through a new way to view and tell their stories. The main principles offered include “everything needed is already available in the session; radical presence.”
Eagleman, David. The Brain (also has a PBS show) about the conscious mind
Edmonson, Amy. The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth. “How psychological safety works and can be built-in organizations.”
Ericsson, Anders. Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise.
Frankl, Viktor. Man’s Search for Meaning.
Glasser, Neil. Choice Theory: A New Psychology of Personal Freedom. Human misery is linked to seeking quick happiness from things (drugs, alcohol, etc.) rather than being in a true relationship. What makes us happy is relationships with other people. What gets in the way of those relationships is the urge and our efforts to control circumstances and other people. We have a choice every moment how to respond to others – with acceptance and understanding or with this urge to control and/or punish.
Godin, Seth. The Icarus Deception
Goleman, Daniel. Force for Good: The Dalai Lama’s Vision for our World
Hendricks, Gay. The Big Leap, overcoming our Upper Limit so we can enjoy greater happiness, love, and success.
Intrator, Sam et. al. Leading from Within: Poetry That Sustains the Courage to Lead (inspiration as a topic, poem a day, etc.).
Katty, Kay, and Shipman, Claire. The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance – What Women Should Know.
Kegan, Robert, et. al. Immunity to Change: How to Overcome It and Unlock the Potential in Yourself and Your OrganizationAn elegantly straightforward framework with which to assist individuals, teams, and organizations to identify, work with, and then change what is needful for themselves, their way of operating, and their cultures to thrive.
Kimsey-House, Henry et. al. Co-Active Coaching, Fourth Ed. The Proven Framework for Transformative Conversations at work and in Life. A comprehensive and dynamic coaching model including four major areas of practice centered on fulfillment, balance, and process. Starting with the assumption that every client is naturally creative, resourceful and whole, moving through dancing at this moment, focusing on the whole person and ending with evoking transformation.
Kimsey-House, Karen et. al. Co-Active Leadership: Five Ways to Lead
Kofman, Fred.The Meaning Revolution: The Power of Transcendent Leadership
March, James. On Leadership (don Quixote extended metaphor, former Stanford Prof)
Michalowicz, Mike. Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money Machine One coach called this “required reading for all coaches.”
Michalowicz, Mike. Toilet Paper Entrepreneur
Neill, Michael. SuperCoach. Not so much a book for coaches as a set of coaching engagements arranged with lessons by chapter, including overcoming mind-traps, decoupling our sense of worth from concepts like money and time, and with exercises and challenges to practice for ourselves and to use with clients.
Neill, Michael. Inside Out Revolution.
Newport, Cal, et. al. Deep Work: Rules For Focused Success in a Distracted World.
Osterwalder, Alexander et. al. Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers and Value Proposition Design.
Passmore, Jonathan et. al. Mastering Executive Coaching
Passmore, Jonathan. Diversity in Coaching: Working Across Gender, Culture, Race, and Age. One coach recommending this book said: “you can’t have one size fits all coaching.”
Peterson, Jordan. 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos
Pink, Daniel. Drive: The Surprising Truth about what Motivates Us.
Pressfield, Steven. The War of Art: Break through the Blocks and Win Your Creative Battles.An astoundingly motivating, and easily absorbed primer on how to overcome all types of creative blocks, focusing on overcoming Resistance as the primary obstacle to any worthwhile human endeavor.
Rackham, Neil. Spin Selling: Situation, Problem, Implication, Need, Payoff
Rock, David. SCARF Model
Schein, Edgar. Humble Inquiry: The Gentle Art of Asking Instead of Telling. A short but invaluable resource for coaches and leaders regarding how changing our mode of questioning to one of open humility can lead us to the answers that are most vital for the success of our business and our lives.
Scott, Kim. Radical Candor.
Silsbee, Doug. The Mindful Coach: Seven Roles for Facilitating Leader Development. Based on mindfulness practices, consciously embodying the seven coaching roles of Master, Partner, Explorer, Reflector, Teacher, Guide, and Contractor can be used as powerful coaching construct to help clients reach their fullest potential.
Sinek, Simon. Start with Why. (Jose Antonio gives this to millennials)
Singer, Michael. The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself
Stocking, Jerry. How to Win by Quitting
Stoltzfus, Tony. Coaching Questions: A Coach’s Guide to Powerful Asking Skills. The seminal resource for coaching students, including classics such as the GROW model, and peer-self-study guides.
Tolle, Eckhart. A New Earth: Awakening to your Life’s Purpose The follow up volume to Tolle’s previous work, The Power of Now. Both volumes have proven to be immensely accessible introductions to meditation, mindfulness, and presence as a way to address the ego-based complexity and conditioned suffering inherent in our every day lives.
Trungpa, Chogyam. Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior.
Vanderpol, Leon. A Shift in Being: The Art and Practice of Deep Transformational Coaching. A resource for coaches who wish to go a level deeper than transactional, goal-based coaching to something at the spiritual level.
Winch, Guy. Emotional First Aid (for those who are just opening up to their emotions, such as executives)
Zander, Ben, and Rose. The Art of Possibility: Transforming Personal and Professional Life.