The Book List: Communication and Relationships

Coaching clients often ask me for books that I would recommend on various topics, so in this post I summarize some of my favourite books when it comes to communication and relationships.

(For a lengthier list of books that have influenced me and my approach, see the page Influences and Extras. And for a great list of book recommendations from The Coaches Training Institute on coaching, leadership, and business, head here.)



Communication and Relationships

The Non-Violent Communication (NVC) series of books is exceptionally helpful for starting to recognize one’s own needs and emotions, and for learning to listen for the needs and emotions expressed by others. NVC slows one down enough to really be present in the conversation, rather than always thinking one step ahead to the point one wants to make (whether or not making that point is helpful to the relationship or the conversation!). The series has many different titles and you’re likely to find at least a few of them at your local library. Search under the author’s name, Marshall Rosenberg. And for more information, explore the Center for Non-Violent Communication‘s website, or watch Marshall Rosenberg on YouTube.

How to Be an Adult in Relationships, by David Richo, is a fantastic exploration of the patterns we bring to our intimate relationships, and how to work through some of those patterns so that we aren’t expecting our significant other to fill all of our unmet needs. It’s a book about how to grow up, both for ourselves and for the sake of those we are in relationship with. It’s highly readable, full of sample exercises and checklists, and offers lots of “ah-ha!”s for anyone willing to open up to the less attractive side of themselves — a side that always shows up in our relationships sooner or later.

Loving What Is, by Byron Katie, is one of a number of Byron Katie books that helps the reader through “The Work”, Katie’s name for a system of inquiry that illuminates our own projections and where our own work (not the work of the Other in the relationship!) remains to be done. Regularly doing “The Work” shows us how our judgments and irritations about the Other are just windows into the growth we ourselves are needing. Plus, Katie is funny. You can read more about The Work, and see video examples, on her website.

What would you add?

What books — or other resources — have you found most helpful for your learning about communication and relationships? I’d love to hear your replies in the comments.