Books by Elena

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The PD Book: 7 Habits That Transform Professional Development

In The PD Book, bestselling author Elena Aguilar and co-author Lori Cohen offer seven habits—and a wealth of practical tools—that help you transform professional development. In this book, you’ll learn how to inspire adult learners, the importance of having clear purpose, and how to navigate power dynamics in a group. You’ll also learn a new way to plan PD that allows you to attend to details and be a responsive facilitator. The dozens of tips and tricks, anecdotes and research, and tools and resources will enable you to create the optimal conditions for learning.

You’ll also:

  • Craft effective outcomes for your adult students and design an agenda that aligns with adult learning principles
  • Use storytelling as a tool for effective workshops and trainings
  • Plan backwards from evaluations and outcomes to create powerful and lasting educational experiences

Ideal for educational leaders and administrators, professional development facilitators, coaches, and positional leaders in both K-12 and higher education, The PD Book is an incisive resource offering concrete strategies for educators at all levels.

Coaching for Equity: Conversations that Change Practice

If we are going to interrupt educational inequities and create schools in which every child thrives, we must refine our conversation skills. Coaching for Equity offers extensive strategies for talking about race, power, and systems of oppression, strategies which lead to changes in a teacher’s practice. This book is for teachers, leaders, and coaches who accept responsibility for interrupting inequities in schools and who want to build the knowledge and skills to coach for equity.

Coaching for Equity contains an updated Transformational Coaching framework and the tools and rubrics that are necessary to implement this model of coaching. In addition, personal narratives demonstrate what coaching for equity looks like and help us see how we can make every conversation count towards building a more just and equitable world.

Coaching for Equity covers key topics in the larger societal conversation surrounding equity, including:

  • understanding what equity is and what it should look like in your school
  • recognizing and preventing inequities in the classroom and school community
  • realizing the path that created inequitable environments in your school
  • making changes that contribute to an equitable environment
  • raising awareness for issues of inequity

The Art of Coaching

Elena Aguilar’s first book is The Art of Coaching, (Jossey-Bass, 2013). Readers find it informative and actionable, inspiring and illuminating, and applicable in many contexts.

The Art of Coaching offers the foundational skills and tools needed by coaches, as well as presenting an overview of the knowledge and theory base behind coaching best practice. Established coaches will find numerous ways to deepen and refine their work. Principals and others who incorporate coaching strategies into their work will also find a wealth of resources. Elena offers a model for transformational coaching which could be implemented as professional development in schools or districts anywhere. Although she addresses the needs of adult learners, her model maintains a student-centered focus, with a specific lens trained always on addressing equity issues in schools.

The Art of Coaching

  • offers a practical resource for school coaches, principals, district leaders, and other administrators
  • presents a transformational coaching model which addresses systems change
  • pays explicit attention to surfacing and interrupting inequities in schools
  • offers a compendium of school coaching ideas

“When my copy arrived, I expected to find some great how-to advice (which is present throughout The Art of Coaching) but I had no idea Elena’s book would be so potentially transformative for its audience. It practices what it preaches – the transparency, the trust-building, the human connection so necessary to set the stage for growth and positive change, it’s all there in her own voice and writing. My guess is that 10 years from now, if we examine the Essential Reference shelves of the nation’s best teaching coaches, we will find well-worn, sticky-note filled copies of this extraordinary book.”

John Norton, founder of MiddleWeb

“Having Elena Aguilar’s The Art of Coaching in my bag has been like having my own coach nearby.”

Sarah Gordon, coach in CT, writing for MiddleWeb

“This book challenges coaches to be fully intentional–with equal doses of care and rigor.”

Lynda Tredway, Independent Leadership Coach and former coordinator, Principal Leadership Institute, U.C. Berkeley

“Elena Aguilar knows how to foster the bravery and humility teachers must have to transform their practices. Her methods will help coaches become the trusted, supportive forces we need in our teaching lives.”

Ariel Sacks, teacher leader and education writer, Brooklyn, NY

“To produce drastic gains in the academic achievement levels of our students we need the strongest, most prepared teachers. The Art of Coaching provides concrete, actionable steps to move teachers along the continuum of excellence to meet this challenge head on.”

Heather Lechner, turnaround school leader, New Orleans, LA

The Art of Coaching Workbook: Tools to Make Every Conversation Count

A practical guide for getting the most out of The Art of Coaching

The Art of Coaching Workbook is the resource you’ve been waiting for to accompany Elena Aguilar’s The Art of Coaching. Ideal for new and novice coaches, as well as for those who have years of coaching under their belt, this workbook will help you improve your coaching skills.

This vital companion text includes:

  • Dozens of activities to help you internalize the concepts described in The Art of Coaching
  • Exercises to guide you in identifying your own coaching beliefs, style, and practices
  • Short and lengthy transcripts of coaching conversations
  • Additional examples of key concepts in The Art of Coaching, including the Ladder of Inference and the Coaching Lenses
  • New ideas and information that build on those in The Art of Coaching 

This workbook is also for those who lead and manage coaches. An entire chapter is dedicated to structures, routines, and practices that are easy to implement in professional development sessions. In addition, a new Transformational Coaching Rubric and other tools for assessment and reflection are included. If you aspire to provide meaningful learning for coaches, and you already have The Art of Coaching, this workbook is all you’ll need.

The Art of Coaching Teams

The Art of Coaching Teams is a playbook for creating and leading great teams. The Art of Coaching Teams celebrates the art in leading great teams and provides a practical framework to help you understand the unique factors about your team and move the team toward common goals.

You’ll learn the administrative tasks that keep your team on track, and you’ll gain access to a wealth of downloadable tools that simplify the “getting organized” process. Equally important, you’ll explore what it means to be the kind of leader that can bring people together to accomplish difficult tasks. You’ll find practical suggestions, tools, and clear instructions for the logistics of team development as well as tools for building trust, developing healthy communication, and managing conflict.

Inside you’ll find concrete guidance on:

  • designing agendas, making decisions, and establishing effective protocols
  • boosting your resilience, understanding and managing your emotions, and meeting your goals
  • cultivating your team’s emotional intelligence and dealing with cynicism
  • utilizing practical tools to create a customized framework for developing highly effective teams

“There are many books on coaching, but this one you must have. Aguilar has written a comprehensive book on coaching that provides enormously useful ideas, concepts, and strategies in an extremely accessible form. This is one of the best books on coaching I have read and a book that will make anyone a better and more reflective leader.”

Kent D. Peterson, Emeritus Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison, author of Shaping School Culture

“Elena Aguilar’s book is an extremely practical guide to leading teams that doesn’t ignore the complexity of that important work. If you’re a coach who leads teams, this is a must read.”

Jim Knight, author of Instructional Coaching: A Partnership to Improving Instruction

“In The Art of Coaching Teams, Aguilar succeeds in translating her transformational coaching framework into a practical and heartening resource for all who coach and manage teams. She infuses 30+ years of research on emotional intelligence, team development, and leadership with her unique blend of empathy, clarity, and hope.”

Laurelin Andrade, Manager of Coaches

“Elena’s book provides leaders with a framework to create, coach and manage effective teams – with both compassion and clarity. The powerful personal anecdotes humanize a daunting process, and the detailed scripts allow for ample opportunities to practice.”

Maia Heyck-Merlin, author, The Together Teacher and The Together Leader

“Drawing deeply on her lived experiences, Aguilar offers readers a path to leadership characterized by reflection, intention, and humility. In balancing the practical and profound, The Art of Coaching Teams lives up to its promise as a guide for leaders who seek to transform themselves and their teams.”

Brianna Crowley, High School Teacher and Instructional Coach, Hershey, PN

“Anyone who believes that a school’s student culture is only as strong as a school’s adult culture would greatly benefit from reading this book. The guidelines that Aguilar provides elevate the technical “how to” and offers adaptive moves for building a transformative community in any environment.”

Yanira Canizalez, Founding Head of School, Lodestar-A Lighthouse Community Charter Public School, Oakland, CA

Onward: Cultivating Emotional Resilience in Educators

Onward (Jossey-Bass, 2018) is Elena’s long-awaited resource on how we can manage stress, prevent burnout and thrive as educators. It is practical, informative, inspirational and relevant to new teachers, mid-career and experienced teachers, and to leaders committed to boosting the resilience of their staff. Grounded in science, social science, and psychology, and peppered with Elena’s personal narratives, this book will undoubtedly change the way we think about emotions, stress, and our purpose as educators. The book focuses on the 12 habits that cultivate resilience, and their correlating dispositions, and provides a roadmap for how to feel more effective, more fulfilled, and happier at work. Onward offers a 12 month curriculum for individuals and groups, and is accompanied by The Onward Workbook which includes hundreds of activities to boost your resilience.

Onward also has its own website,, where you can find more information about the book and further resources.

“Elena Aguilar’s latest book, Onward, is a gift. It is grounded in current research and 20 + years of Ms. Aguilar’s experiences teaching and coaching. This book is a supportive and encouraging guide for how to better one’s self as a teacher, administrator and human being. Filled with practical, applicable ideas and inspiring stories, Onward fills a much-needed niche in the classic teacher library of how-to books which typically give advice that rests solely on classroom practices and instruction. Instead, this book focuses on making each teacher and administrator a better, stronger person, which, in turn, will make each of them a better stronger teacher and leader. With her focus on cultivating resilience, Aguilar is realistic: stress will never go away but strengthening our response to stress can bring more joy, deeper connections and increased personal satisfaction. Without a doubt, this book will change schools and lives for the better.”

Judith Wolochow, veteran educator

Onward provides school leaders an invaluable resource to enrich the lives of the teachers in their schools, keep them growing, and not have to replace them every year. Imagine leading when more people choose to follow because they trust you and are certain of your humanity! Onward provides principals with a manual to do so.”

Cheryl Beeson, leadership coach & former principal

The Onward Workbook: Daily Activities to Cultivate Your Emotional Resilience and Thrive

An empowering journey that keeps great teachers in the classroom The Onward Workbook is a collection of tools and strategies that help teachers banish the burnout and cultivate true resilience. Keyed to the framework presented in Onward, this companion piece augments the text with practical exercises, coaching, and step-by-step walkthroughs of beneficial practices. Deep introspection allows you to verbalize your feelings, name your challenges, and identify the tools you have and the tools you need—from there, you’ll explore each of the 12 Key Habits and learn how to put them into practice every day.

In cultivating resilience within yourself and your teaching practice, you improve your health, your outlook, and your relationships while building an environment in which every child succeeds. This workbook takes you on a journey of specific self-discovery that changes your perspective, renews your confidence, and empowers you to make the much-needed changes that allow you to continue inspiring young minds.

  • Dig deeper within to discover what you’re truly made of
  • Decode complex emotions, body language, and nonverbal communications
  • Challenge your beliefs, build community, and navigate difficult interactions
  • Learn more, feel more, play more, and practice effective self-care