There are thousands of resources on developing leadership skills. Yet even with the many leadership books available, a leader can fall flat. Why? Because successful leadership starts with the right mindset.
Books on executive coaching and leadership development are valuable resources. They provide leaders with tools to identify problems, set goals, and dig deeply to find lasting solutions. The best books, however, don’t just contain to-do lists; they help leaders open to change and growth to capitalize on leadership development.
Whether they teach personal development, team leadership, or organizational oversight, the top executive coaching books encourage a growth mindset and help mold managers into high performing leaders and team members.
The Importance of a Coaching Mindset
Two leaders read the same book. Leader A skims the book, then keeps it on a shelf. When a team member makes a mistake, Leader A does what they always do: they interact with the employee in a way that demotivates them, stifling their learning and growth, then wonders why the company is floundering.
Meanwhile, Leader B takes notes, highlights sections in the book, and talks about it with their team. As they read, Leader B considers their own leadership style and how it aligns with the book’s lessons. They reflect on their strengths and weaknesses and work toward positive change.
Both leaders read the same book. Why were their experiences so different?
How a Coaching Mindset Makes a Difference
Reading a book and engaging with one are different things. To learn from a book, you must practice what you read. And to be open to change—whether working with executive coaches or reading a best-selling business book—you need a coaching mindset.
What is a coaching mindset? Consider sports. Is it the coach’s job to win the game? No! Instead, the coach motivates, supports, and trains the athletes, so the team can achieve greatness. The team’s success reflects the coach’s success.
Leaders with a coaching mindset take a “learn and grow” approach with their own leadership development. Instead of saying, “I’m the boss, and I know best,” these leaders have the emotional intelligence to recognize their limits and mistakes. They seek and apply feedback by turning to a coach or leadership book.
Executive Coaching Books on Leadership and Mindset
Most people aren’t born with a coaching mindset or the intuitive knowledge of great leaders. Luckily, the right tools can help anyone—from CEO to first-time leader—adopt a coaching mindset and develop leadership skills.
Executive Coaching Books for Leadership Development
While a coaching program is a valuable resource, any leader can—and should—develop their coaching skills on their own. The following books apply coaching principles to leadership:
Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek emphasizes cooperation. Drawing on a series of anecdotes from organizations in different sectors, Sinek analyzes how trust creates team resilience.
Another Sinek work, The Infinite Game, presents the concept of an “infinite mindset” to develop big-picture thinking. Rather than focusing on minute details, having a sense of greater purpose allows leaders to build innovative, forward-thinking teams.
My book, Leader Is Not a Title, offers practical solutions from an experienced executive coach. The book maintains that leadership is a coaching process. Rather than acting as a boss, executives should cultivate their team, guide their employees like the coach of a sports team, and practice the Platinum Rule.
Finally, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni outlines five common ways teams struggle and how to overcome those setbacks.
Executive Coaching Books for a Growth Mindset
When you hit an obstacle, where do you turn? Instead of resorting to established practices, these books push leaders to adopt a growth-oriented mindset and look for new solutions.
Marshall Goldsmith’s What Got You Here Won’t Get You There helps senior leaders who have hit a roadblock in company growth. Goldsmith points out how a leader’s behavior can either hold them back or create lasting solutions.
Meanwhile, Goldsmith’s Triggers discusses how external factors affect our behavior. Through self-reflection exercises, Goldsmith coaches the reader to recognize shortcomings and take responsibility for their actions.
Good to Great by Jim Collins is a best seller for good reason. Collins’s research analyzes twenty-eight companies and the practices that enable sustained success.
Applying What you Learn from an Executive Coaching Book
A coaching tool only works as well as you do. Remember Leader A and Leader B? They read the same book but had different results because of how they approached the book and engaged with the material.
To maximize your reading experience, first, identify your needs. Is your focus on a specific area, like sales leadership? Is the book applicable to your situation? Determine what you want to learn and set appropriate goals.
Second, read with an open mind. Remember you’re here to learn—not teach. Take notes and mark relevant passages. Active engagement helps you retain information and apply knowledge.
Third, reflect on yourself and your team. What are your strengths? Where do you need to grow? How can you apply what you learned to leading your team?
Finally, put what you read into practice. Reading isn’t learning until you apply the knowledge you gained from the book to your leadership work.
Beyond Executive Coaching Books
Books provide a leader with resources and coaching exercises to strengthen their skills, and reading can open a leader’s mind to engaging with other executive coaching tools.
Meanwhile, an executive coach provides services beyond what books offer. A professional executive coach provides a personalized, hands-on experience and tools to put your coaching mindset into practice. An executive coach analyzes a leader or team, provides in-depth feedback, talks over specific concerns, and helps leaders set goals.
Ready for your own coaching conversation? Drawing on over twenty years of entrepreneurial experience and a background working for the White House, I offer a tailored coaching practice to meet the needs of clients. My 360-degree leadership approach incorporates work, family, and community.
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