Top Must-Read Books for Business Coaches

February 18, 2023

As a business coach, your job is to keep everyone motivated, always bring clarity of goals, and steer people in the right direction.

With that in mind, here are our top book recommendations to help you not just maintain your role as leader and mentor but also be at the forefront of your coaching business.

1) Profit First by Mike Michalowicz

Mike Michalowicz's third book addresses a common mindset when starting a business: "One day, I'll be profitable." Profit First emphasizes that the more you delay profit consideration, you become less and less capable of figuring out how to drive profitability. Profit is the health quotient for business. Ask yourself: Is my business cash eating or money-making?

Best quote: Profitability isn’t an event; it’s a habit.

2) Traction by Gino Wickman

If you're a 'what needs to be done' person, this is the book for you. Traction highlights the need to have systems in place and in paper to get you from mindset to execution. This book brings in a 6-component business model called EOS that summarizes all you need to do to plan for your future, get all things done and make sure nothing falls through the cracks. 

Best quote: In summary, successful businesses operate with a crystal clear vision that is shared by everyone. They have the right people in the right seats. They have a pulse on their operations by watching and managing a handful of numbers on a weekly basis. They identify and solve issues promptly in an open and honest environment. They document their processes and ensure that they are followed by everyone. They establish priorities for each employee and ensure that a high level of trust, communication, and accountability exists on each team.

3) The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber

I enjoyed this book so much I listened to the audio book twice in a row and then bought a few hard copies to give to few clients who were having problems, specific problems that this book outlines in glorious detail.

Rather than slave for your business, create your models and methods with yourself in mind. Gerber insists the entrepreneurs should not be enslaved by the business. Build in a way that does not make you feel trapped.

Best quote: If your business depends on you, you don’t own a business—you have a job. And it’s the worst job in the world because you’re working for a lunatic!

4) Think And Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

You may have the mindset, the desire, and the skills to achieve your definition of success, but the real difference lie in whether you’re a decision-maker or a procrastinator. Procrastination means giving up on yourself, it means paying too much attention to others opinions about you and the possibilities in your life, it means looking at successful people and asking yourself “What if?” when it will probably be too late to change something. Think and Grow Rich tells you that taking action equals making decisions.

Best quote: Action is the real measure of intelligence.

5) Built to Sell by John Warrillow

You should always run a company as if it will last forever, and yet you should also strive constantly to maximize its value, building in the qualities that allow it to be sold at any moment for the highest price buyers are paying for businesses like yours. Don’t become synonymous with your company. If buyers aren’t confident that your business can run without you in charge, they won’t make their best offer.

Best quote: Once you’ve isolated what is teachable, what your customers value, and what they need most often, document your process for delivering this type of product or service.

6) Atomic Habits by James Clear

If you want to achieve something, forget setting goals. Set systems. The most effective way to change your habits is to focus not on what you want to achieve, but on who you wish to become. This book outlines the 4 Laws of Behaviour Change that are simple to build better habits.

Best quote: You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.

7) The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande

The Checklist Manifesto explores the fundamental importance of the humble checklist in organizing and managing complex processes. Gawande speaks from his own experience, explaining how even the most competent surgeon, operating without a checklist, can miss a critical step. The increasing complexity of modern surgical procedures has made checklists essential, he argues.

Gawande focuses on medicine, but he also delves into the use of checklists in the aviation, construction, and investing industries. In Gawande’s view, the elaborate processes that characterize the modern world demand that we turn to the checklist, a simple tool that’s been around practically forever.

Best quote: Under conditions of complexity, not only are checklists a help, they are required for success.

8) Getting Things Done by David Allen

Over decades of coaching and training thousands of people, David Allen discovered that most stress people experience comes from inappropriately managed commitments they make or accept. Essentially, the book differentiates ‘what getting things done’ is vs just ‘thinking of getting things done.’ If you’re looking to get clarity of thought, minimising distraction and time wasters, this is a good book to read. 

Best quote: There is usually an inverse relationship between how much something is on your mind and how much it’s getting done.

9) 21st Century Entrepreneur by Robert Daudish

This is the book recommended for those who want to delve in ecommerce for the first time. If you’re tired of your 9 to 5 job or looking to add a second revenue stream, this book will teach you product development and outsourcing, pricing strategy and promotion with lots of valuable online resources. 

Best quote: Can’t find a quote or review

10) A Whole New Mind Dan Pink

Artistry, empathy, taking the long view, and pursuing the transcendent - these qualities have been scorned in the business world and ignored by schools. But it is now time to use both sides of the brain for the brave new world of the 21st century where workers of all stripes will need many different skills to navigate three or four separate careers.

Pink states that individuals and organizations that want to succeed in the future are going to have to ask themselves three questions:

1. Can someone overseas do it cheaper?

2. Can a computer do it faster?

3. Is what I'm offering in demand in an age of abundance where people are looking to satisfy their aesthetic, emotional, and spiritual demands?

Best quote: Good luck in the age of art and heart.

11) Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Dan Pink

Most people believe that the best way to motivate is with rewards like money—the carrot-and-stick approach. That's a mistake, says Daniel H. Pink.

In this book, Pink exposes the mismatch between what science knows and what business does—and how that affects every aspect of life. He examines the three elements of true motivation—autonomy, mastery, and purpose-and offers smart and surprising techniques for putting these into action in a unique book that will change how we think and transform how we live. While this is generally a management and leadership book, it will help you get more insight about your own motivations and how it affects many more situations outside the workplace.

Best quote: There’s no going back. Pay your son to take out the trash—and you’ve pretty much guaranteed the kid will never do it again for free.

12) The Success Principles by Jack Canfield

At the core of this book is the Law of Attraction: what you think about, talk about, believe strongly about, and feel intensely about, you will bring about.” Canfield emphasizes that if you want to be successful, you have to take 100% responsibility for everything that you experience in your life. The book is comprehensively divided in 6 parts, tackling success principles initially then leading to actionable points translating into leadership, relationships, motivation, mentorship and so much more.

Best quote: The world doesn’t pay you for what you know; it pays you for what you do. There’s an enduring axiom of success that says, “The universe rewards action.” Yet as simple and as true as this principle is, it’s surprising how many people get bogged down in analyzing, planning, and organizing when what they really need to do is take action.

13) Taking Care Of Business by John Flett 

This collection of John's blog posts are a candid, sometimes serious, look at that the challenges business owners face in building a successful and profitable business. A good part of the book deals with micromanagement, poor implementation, bullying and other nuances that make the workplace or business dreadful.

Best quote: There is something basically wrong in the organisation if there are insufficient systems to protect the company without the need of micromanaging.

14) Everybody Matters Bob Chapman

Everybody Matters is about caring for and treating people in your organization as if they were, (and in a sense they are) your family.   He emphasizes that true leaders realize that all of their people are mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers with lives that matter. They are not merely employees to help an organization succeed, or to use to help the leader succeed.  He says that “caring” is the key difference between leading and supervising, whereas most people in leadership positions are merely supervising. You may find this idea mushy but the book also details the practical manner with which he set about to realize it, and the success with which he’s implemented it.

Best quote: We simply asked, “Why can’t business be fun?”

15) Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh

The central theme of the book is literally delivering happiness as a business by living a life of passion and purpose.

Delivering Happiness details the story of Tony Hsieh and his company Zappos, an example of how thinking long term and following your passions first can lead to not just profits, but a happy life for you, your employees, and customers.

The book provides an alternative approach to corporate culture that focuses on the simple concept of making people around you happy, and by doing so, increasing your own happiness.

Best quote: Money alone isn't enough to bring happiness . . . happiness [is] when you're actually truly ok with losing everything you have.

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