My top 20 books on Executive coaching

Who do you admire and ask for advice?

Throw a ball at that person. For example, the other day I asked for tips from some highly respected fellow executive coaches. Book tips.

I asked “What are 3 essential books for you when it comes to executive coaching? What are essential books that are at the foundation of our profession?

The answers were refreshing! And very diverse. What is striking and surprising is the breadth and depth of knowledge an executive coach needs.

I have put the books in the list below, enjoy!

Some of the books* I share are affiliate links. If you buy a book through this link, it doesn’t cost you anything extra but I get a small incentive by sharing it with you. Regardless of whether the books contain an affiliate link or not, I personally love each of these books. So I use them regularly in my work with clients.

Spiegel aan de Top*

Yvonne Burgers

Using interviews, the author distills the mores at the top, issues of the executive and about the craft, tricks and skills of the executive coach.

*only in dutch

The Body Keeps the Score *

Mind, Brain and Body in the Transformation of Trauma

Bessel van der Kolk

This book explains how stress literally changes the wiring of our brains-particularly in the areas that serve the experience of pleasure, engagement, control and trust. Based on regulating and synchronizing the body and mind, through the use of neurofeedback and body-oriented exercises, among others, he shows opportunities for recovery that can pave the way to a balanced life.

Strategisch Coachen*

Maarten Kouwenhoven

This book shows readers how to get the best out of themselves, others or a team, department or company. Strategy requires knowledge in the form of theory, methodology and procedures. A selection of the topics: transactional analysis, systems theory, a number of methodologies, restorative behavior coaching, task- and wellness-focused coaching, coaching teams and coaching difficult people.

*only in dutch

Clinical Applications of the Polyvagal Theory

The Emergence of Polyvagal–Informed Therapies

Stephen Porges, Deb Dana

The insights offered by the inspired therapists in this book provide an accessible stepping stone for all professionals considering incorporating polyvagal theory into their work.

Liefde Boven Angst*

Erik de Haan

Real-life cases chronicled by the author.

*only in dutch

Tricky Coaching*

Difficult Cases In Leadership Coaching

Konstantin Korotov, Elizabeth Florent-Treacy, Manfred Kets De Vries, Andreas Bernhardt

Case studies written by experienced leadership and executive coaches from around the world. This project explores the most challenging situations leaders face in practice

De Sjamaan en de Manager*

Sven Goedbloed

Sven Goedbloed shares eleven principles of natural leadership that he discovered during his personal quest in shamanism.

Critical Moments in Executive Coaching*

Erik de Haan

A complete handbook that for the first time provides access to a global qualitative research base in the field of executive coaching.

Personality issues in Executive Coaching*

Insights on 8 complex personalities

Manfred Kets de Vries
De nodige inzichten in verschillende persoonlijkheden om beter inzicht te hebben op verschillende executives die niet alleen hun organisatie, maar ook anderen schade berokkenen.

*only in dutch

Reflective Leadership*

Rhian Last, Sue Lillyman

Reflective leadership is fundamental to providing safe and effective health care as a professional to increase the resilience of individuals, teams and organizations.

The Polyvagal Theory in Therapy

Engaging the Rhythm of Regulation

Deb Dana

In this book Dana gives polyvagal theory practical tools to inhibit the survival response to enable social engagement.

The Evolving Self

Robert Kegan

The Evolving Self focuses upon the most basic and universal of psychological problems—the individual’s effort to make sense of experience, to make meaning of life.

Self-Determination Theory*

Basic Psychological Needs in Motivation, Development, and Wellness

Richard Ryan, Edward Deci

By far the most popular theory of motivation is the self-determination Self Determination Theory. You can increase intrinsic motivation if you know how to address three basic psychological needs: 1. Autonomy, 2. Sense of competence, 3. Relationship, social connectedness.

Mastering Leadership*

Robert Anderson, William Adams

This book provides an integrated framework for breakthrough performance and extraordinary business results. A systemic approach for developing your senior leaders and the leadership system of your organization.

Positive Intelligence*

Shirzad Chamine

His groundbreaking research exposes ten well-disguised mental Saboteurs.

Shirzad tells many of their remarkable stories, showing how you too can take concrete steps to unleash the vast, untapped powers of your mind.

The Big Leap*

Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level

Gay Hendricks

Gay Hendricks, a major voice in the fields of relationship transformation, and body-mind therapies, developed these methods over the last thirty years by working closely with more than one thousand extraordinary achievers in business and the arts. 


Greg McKweon

Essentialism is a systematic discipline for discerning what is absolutely essential, then eliminating everything that is not, so we can make the highest possible contribution toward the things that really matter.

Executive Coaching for Results

Brian Q Underhill

This book is not a “how-to-coach book”, but rather a comprehensive guide on how to strategically use coaching to maximize development of talent and link the impact of coaching to bottom-line results.

The Speed of Trust*

The one thing that changes everything

Stephen R. Covey

According to Stephen M.R. Covey, trust is the foundation of the 21st century economy, but its power is generally underestimated and misunderstood. Covey shows you how to inspire others to direct trust.

What Got You Here Won’t Get You There*

Marshall Goldsmith

Breaking persistent patterns – the one thing that stands in the way between you and where you want to be. In fact, it could be the very trait – like always wanting to win – that has gotten you where you are today, but is preventing you from moving forward.


Picture of Marijne van den Kieboom

Marijne van den Kieboom

Executive Coach, Leiderschapstrainer en Psycholoog. Ik empower missie-gedreven organisaties en leiders, zoals jij.