10 Books to Boost Your Personal and Professional Growth

Whether you’re taking on a challenge, broadening your perspectives or gaining new skills, sometimes the right book can make all the difference.

Our coaches often recommend books to help clients transform their leadership and their lives. Here are some of their latest picks.

Coach Michael Regan: ‘Essentialism’ and ‘Boundaries for Leaders’ 

Almost every new client I engage with will mention priority management as an area of focus for our future coaching sessions together. I have learned that before I jump right into methods and resources, I must first help them embrace an ideology behind any priority management “tips and tricks.” This allows me to lead the client toward a sustainable hope that they will experience personal leadership improvement with priority management.

To introduce fresh perspectives, I consistently refer two of my favorite books: Greg McKeown’s “Essentialism” and Dr. Henry Cloud’s “Boundaries for Leaders.”

Both authors raise several important topics around how we identify a true priority, how we limit competing agendas and distractions, and how we move each priority forward toward the measurable outcomes they are aiming for. What I love about each of these author’s voices is how they relentlessly pursue disciplined simplicity, which is always refreshing in a world today dominated by priority complexity.

In the end, each author helps us explore better questions about what priority management will mean to each client’s commitments. Better questions tend to lead to better results. And I have yet to meet a client who is not seeking improved results.

Coach Kristen Gielow: ‘
The Three Signs of a Miserable Job’

I had a client who had a team member who just wasn’t engaging. I recommended “The Three Signs of a Miserable Job” by Patrick Lencioni, because it discusses the main reasons why someone on our team may not be happy.

The book gave her an opportunity to have a one-on-one meeting with this team member and uncover if the team member felt anonymous, irrelevant or if they didn’t feel like what they did had measurable metrics.

Coach Greg Harkavy: ‘Halftime: Moving from Success to Significance’

My client had been successful owning a business for over 25 years but was starting to drift. He was no longer clear on his “Why.”  Was it about success or significance? At this stage in his life, he had made a comfortable living but still wasn’t sure what his legacy would or should be.

I recommended he read “Halftime: Moving from Success to Significance” by Bob Buford. It talks about how we find ourselves as we move toward the second half of our lives either answering to success or transitioning to significance.

Significance is about legacy. It is about giving back. Success is great, but it is more about what you get rather than what you give. When you start to seek your purpose and you have had success, it no longer drives the same way. “Halftime” takes a very practical approach to help someone explore and answer what is most important to them in this season of life.

My client is beginning to see himself in that story and will create a vision for his organization and how he develops other leaders in light of significance. The focus is imparting wisdom, skills and opportunities for others rather than concerns about personal success alone.

Coach Laurel Emory: ‘And Still She Laughs,’ ‘One Thousand Gifts’ and ‘Option B’

I have quite a few clients who have experienced loss. Loss of a parent, a job, a marriage, a child. Many of them have been struggling with how to face their grief and their new reality.

There are three books that I recommend to these folks, depending on their specific situation: “And Still She Laughs” by Kate Merrick for loss of a child, “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp for general loss, even loss of self, and “Option B” by Sheryl Sandberg for loss of a loved one or general loss.

All three books share the author’s personal experience with loss and grief, how they dealt with it, and wisdom for people facing something similar. Each book is one that I will continue to recommend for years to come.

Coach Raymond Gleason: ‘A More Beautiful Question’ and ‘75 Cage Rattling Questions to Change the Way You Work’

I was observing my client, a CEO, during one of her company’s meetings. As she listened to a presentation from her senior team, I noticed that she was doing three things wrong:

  1. Asking predominantly “leading” questions
  2. Asking (and masking) “hidden judgment” questions
  3. Asking questions that she answered immediately after she asked them.

I see clients asking one or more of these types of questions all too often. It’s a mistake leaders can’t afford to make. Leaders must study, understand and practice asking great questions.

I recommended my absolute “go-to” books regarding questions: “A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas” by Warren Berger and “75 Cage Rattling Questions to Change the Way You Work: Shake-Em-Up Questions to Open Meetings, Ignite Discussion, and Spark Creativity,” by Dick Whitney and Melissa Wilson.

Berger’s book is philosophical and research-oriented. He makes a holistic case for why people should learn about questions and how to ask them, and he offers a solid framework for asking questions that enables both individual and team innovation to blossom.

Whitney and Wilson’s book is hands-on, with 75 really great questions to ask, explanations of the motivation behind the questions and direction on how to deliver the questions. You couldn’t find a more practical or fun book on the topic.

The Building Champions Team: ‘Living Forward’

Of course, our team always recommends “Living Forward” by Building Champions CEO Daniel Harkavy and former Thomas Nelson Publishers Chairman and CEO Michael Hyatt. The book will take you step-by-step through the process of designing a powerful Life Plan.

We’ve coached thousands of people through a proven process to design the life they want and have seen the tremendous results they’ve achieved in all areas of their lives.

If you’re drifting through life or just getting by, it doesn’t have to be that way. This book will help you discover how to live in a way that every day adds up to the life you want now and the legacy you want to leave behind.


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