Coaching Leadership

Must have coaching books

I just returned from the LMA (Legal Marketing Association) Annual Conference in Atlanta where I had the good fortune to present “Coaching the Alpha Lawyer” with Heather Gray-Grant the Marketing and Business Development Director from the firm Alexander Holburn LLP. I’d like to thank the members of the audience who attended the presentation for their warm welcome, active participation, and great questions. As promised, here is a list of my favorite coaching books:

1. Hargrove, Robert. Masterful Coaching, Revised Edition. John Wiley & Sons; 2002. I can’t recommend this book enough. His materials on the seven hat coaching system, winning strategies, and river/rut stories, are valuable tools for coaching in the law firm. If I could only own two coaching books this would be one of them.

2. Flaherty, James. Coaching, Evoking the Excellence in Others, Second Edition. Butterworth-Heinemann, 2005.

This is the second book I think is absolutely vital reading for anyone interested in coaching. The word for Flaherty is RIGOROUS. His bibliography reads like it belongs in a PHD dissertation. Where some coaches like to work exclusively with leaders who are motivated high-performers up for a challenge, Flaherty’s approach to coaching works with a much broader group of individuals.

In the introduction to the second edition Flaherty writes:

How do I contribute to someone’s competence in a respectful, dignified, and effective way? If you find yourself asking these or similar questions, then this book definitely has something to say to you. (p. xxiii)

In late April I will be taking part in an advanced coaching program with Flaherty in San Francisco, and I’ll be sure to report on the experience in this blog when I return!

Other great coaching books if you are interested in further reading:

3. O’Neil, Mary Beth. Executive Coaching with Backbone and Heart, A Systems Approach to Engaging Leaders with Their Challenges. John Wiley & Sons, 2000.

4. Crane, Thomas G. The Heart of Coaching, Using Transformational Coaching To Create a High-Performance Culture. Second Edition. FTA Press, 2002.

5. Coaching for Leadership, How the World’s Greatest Coaches Help Leaders Learn. Edited by Marshall Goldsmith, Laurence Lyons, Alyssa Freas. Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer, 2000.    







About the author

Allison Wolf

I am the founder of AWAL and one of the most senior coaches for lawyers in North America. I have helped countless clients over the past fifteen years, develop thriving legal practices and before that served as director of marketing for award-winning law firms. My specialty is uncovering the thinking traps and gaps holding clients back and helping them acquire the mindsets, skills, and habits for growing successful and rewarding legal careers. After a career in legal marketing and business development with law firms in Beijing, New York, and Vancouver, I was trained as a coach in 2004 at Royal Roads University and now coach clients from across North America. You can reach me at or learn more about my coaching practice from the coaching section of the Attorney With A Life Website.