What are the “must reads” for the wellness or health coach? These are the books that I have within arm’s reach on my own bookshelf and find myself recommending over and over again to the thousands of wellness coaches that I train and mentor.
What I want to share with you are books that will influence the way you do coaching right now. I’m holding off on all of the academic foundational theory and research types here. This is about application. This is a list, naturally, of my own opinion, but I’ll also share with you my rationale for each member of this list. Some of these books would make anyone’s list and some may be real surprises!
There are libraries full of good books out there and the list could be endless. Please share with all of us your own nominations for the list of vital reading for wellness coaches!
Let’s look at fifteen key books in the field and share them with you in four categories.
Wellness and Lifestyle Improvement
1. The Wellness Workbook, Travis & Ryan
2. High Level Wellness, Don Ardell
3. The Wellness Revolution, Paul Zane Pilzer
4. The Blue Zones, Dan Buettner
5. Changing for Good, Prochaska, Norcross & Diclemente
6. The Intrinsic Exerciser, Jay Kimiecik
Coaching Foundations and Skills
7. Co-Active Coaching, Whitworth, Kimsey-House & Sandahl
8. Becoming a Professional Life Coach, Williams & Menendez
9. Leadership From The Inside Out, Kevin Cashman
10. Taming Your Gremlin, Rick Carson
11. Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Brian Luke Seaward
12. The Open Heart Companion, Maggie Lichtenberg
13. Facing The Lion, Being The Lion, Mark Nepo
14. Wellness Coaching For Lasting Lifestyle Change, Arloski
15. Your Journey To A Healthier Life: Paths of Wellness Guided Journal, Vol. 1, Arloski (serious bias admitted!)
1. The Wellness Workbook, John Travis & Regina Sara Ryan., 3rd Edition. This is the foundational book to understand what wellness is truly about. Jack Travis is one of the modern day founders of the wellness movement and he lays out his theoretical foundation and theories in the introductory thirty-six pages which is worth the price of the book alone.
2. High Level Wellness: An Alternative to Doctors, Drugs and Disease, Donald B. Ardell. This was a ground-breaking book when it showed up in 1977 and is still an important take on what wellness is and how to present it to the world. “Wellness is much too important to be presented grimly!”
3. The Wellness Revolution: How To Make a Fortune in the Next Trillion Dollar Industry, Paul Zane Pilzer. A better subtitle might be “A leading economist looks at the startling opportunity in the wellness marketplace.” While it may be a stretch to call Rogaine a wellness product, Pilzer grounds you in the demographics and stats that make his economic prediction look quite likely.
4. The Blue Zones: Lessons For Living Longer From The People Who’ve Lived The Longest, Dan Buettner. Longevity, we’ve found out is only 20% genetics (at the most) and is really 80% lifestyle (culture, behavior, beliefs, environment). National Geographic funded this synthesis of anthropological studies of the hot spots or “Blue Zones” around the world where people like to ripe old age quite often. The lessons for wellness are profound and based in solid evidence.
5. Changing for Good: A Revolutionary Six-Stage Program for Overcoming Bad Habits and Moving Your Life Positively Forward, James Prochaska, John Norcross & Carlo Diclemente. Despite being “the Bible” of health promotion and much of the addictions fields, “Stages of Change” or the “Trans-theoretical Model of Change” is still either poorly understood or relatively unknown by a surprising number of coaches, psychologists, and healthcare providers. If you do nothing else Part One, the first 69 pages is absolutely required reading for anyone who works in any capacity helping people. (Recommended reading for Wellness Mapping 360 Wellness Coach Training).(www.realbalance.com)
6. The Intrinsic Exerciser: Discovering The Joy of Exercise, Jay Kimiecik. I find I’m recommending this little book whenever I’m talking about motivation for lifestyle improvement. Kimiecik, and exercise physiologist and health promotion prof, does an excellent job of helping make a mindset shift from fear-based “I’d better workout or I’ll die quicker” to the discovering the true joy of how it feels good to move and exercise. Intrinsic motivation is what makes lifestyle change last. (Recommended reading for Wellness Mapping 360 Wellness Coach Training).(www.realbalance.com)
We’ll look at the next four on the list, Coaching Foundations and Skills, on our next post. Check it out and be well!