Summer Reads


In the wonderfully long and lazy days of summer, if you are looking to add heft to your time, here are three books to keep in your reading rotation:

“The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead”
This new book on coaching skills by Michael Bungay Stanier is my go-to recommendation for managers and leaders looking to improve. This is an easy-to-read book that offers seven key coaching questions to ask in conversations during check-ins with direct reports. Stanier was one of our keynote speakers in the early days of the Michigan Coaches conferences. In addition to his lovely Australian accent, he was witty, smart and creative as a speaker and is the same as an author. This book is fun, practical and is sure to become the principle coaching resource in the years to come.

“Becoming ATHENA: Eight Principles of Enlightened Leadership”
Written by Martha Mayhood Mertz, the founder of ATHENA International, this book by one of Lansing’s own is an interesting read on personal leadership, as well as the origins of the ATHENA Award and leadership model. This year, I am facilitating the WIN Executive Connections groups, and we are using this book to discuss eight leadership principles – live authentically, learn constantly, advocate fiercely, act courageously, foster collaboration, build relationships, give back and celebrate.

“Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t”
This book by Simon Sinek, a popular TED Talk speaker and author of “Start With Why,” was recommended to me by several participants in my various leadership trainings. Sinek offers five lessons, discusses the influence of the generations and offers a section on leading millennials. That section is broken down into what companies can do, what millennials can do and what parents can do. One of my favorites for a company is to ban cell phones in the conference room. Sinek says this will force people to chit-chat before a meeting, which provides opportunities to build trust and relationships.

Happy reading and have a great summer, everyone!


Susan Combs

Susan Combs, MBA and Professional Certified Coach, works with coaching clients to create fresh starts, enhance their leadership skills and increase their confidence. She is an authorized licensee of the Fit Leader's Program. Susan provides one-on-one coaching, DiSC team-building training and manages corporate mentor programs. She lives in Lansing with her son, Max, and their golden retriever puppy. Visit or for more information.

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