Reading: My Favorite Trail Guides

Coaching Focus: renew

To Travel Your Trail, Some Proven Guidance Is Helpful…

Every year, there are over 15,000 business/leadership books published. Most of them follow this map:

  1. I did something great
  2. Here is how I did it
  3. You can be great if you … are exactly like me.

That last step is where most break down. Social media accelerates this with sound bites and photos of leaders doing things “perfectly” because of some system they have used (and probably have a financial impact from). I am all for this approach if you know what it is. It is advice and consulting, and the ideas mostly come from outside your experience and, thus, are not your own.

…when they help you be You.

The Coaching journey is different – the ideas have to come from within – your own opportunities, your own challenges, and also, the particular trail you are on. And, in my 40 years of leadership, there are a few frameworks and skills that will expand your knowledge of yourself… and help you leverage your abilities better. They are similar to Scouting Handbooks, or Merit Badge books in that they provide you with practical tools that YOU can make your own, and don’t rest on becoming someone else. The skills they reinforce build up as a part of your own toolkit, and over time, will become as easy as hiking up your favorite mountain.

Some of our earliest influences.

My Proven Set of Guide Books

Given that overview, there are 5 books that I think every leader, actually every human being, should read. These are skills and “merit badges” I leverage every day personally, and eventually with every leader I work with:

Change Your Questions, Change Your Life

This is the go-to book for the most basic skill all leaders… and humans need – listening. It is a fast read and gives you easily actionable steps that, as you practice them, will permeate every part of your life. It is like a compass – helping guide the way with simple directions.


Choosing what to focus your time and attention on in all areas of life shows up for everyone.  This practical guide helps you come up with what is truly essential about being you, and how to set real boundaries to continue to stay focused on that.

The Next Level

If you are working to move up the corporate mountain, this gives you the real “map” to the trails and necessary skills for each level higher. Written from the “failures” of many to succeed as they stepped up, those stories are reframed into specific proven approaches that will build into your backpack.

Overworked and Overwhelmed – The Mindfulness Alternative

If you CAN’T do the above, or master it, then this will be where you become. Written by the same author as The Next Level, it is very pragmatic steps to take to work back towards Essential elements of who you are and want to become.

Designing Your Life

Finally, many leaders are trying to set out into a different trail, even changing the mountains they are climbing. Built around a proven set of Design Thinking frameworks, DYL again gives you pragmatic skills

Additional Leadership Merit Badges Available

After those, of the 10,000 written EVERY YEAR about leadership, these gems continue to come to the top when prospecting:

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