„The best books are those that tell a person what he already knows." — George Orwell, book 1984
1. Book: Flow - About Happiness and the Meaning of Life
The book 📖Flow, in my opinion, belongs in the fundamental library of every serious coach. I read the English version from 1990 published by HarperCollins Publishers (https://www.amazon.com/Flow-Psychology-Experience-Perennial-Classics/dp/0061339202 ), and its Czech translation is available here: https://obchod.portal.cz/psychologie/flow/ . The book can also be obtained in an electronic version.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi introduced the term "flow" as an expression of a particular mental state in which a person is deeply immersed in an activity, to the point where nothing else seems important. It is a moment when the body or mind rises to the challenge of achieving something difficult and worthwhile, pushing the boundaries of its capabilities.
For more details, see: (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow)
Interesting TED presentation: https://www.ted.com/talks/mihaly_csikszentmihalyi_on_flow .
From the content of the book:
Returning to the theme of happiness
Anatomy of consciousness
Joy and the quality of life
How the state of FLOW emerges
The body and the state of FLOW
Thinking and the state of FLOW
Work and the state of FLOW
Enjoyment of solitude and of company
How to transcend chaos
How to give meaning to one's life
Some passages are particularly interesting, where the state of Flow can emerge – It describes a wide range of areas, for example, in art, martial arts, or even during sex. The book is also suitable for managers who want to motivate their subordinates. It covers a variety of topics that coaches can use and connect.
2. Book: Presence: Unlock your inner confidence to embrace life's biggest challenges
The book written by Amy Cuddy is, in my opinion, an approachable presentation of scientific work to a wider audience. The book has 336 pages and needs to be read with certain expectations. More about Amy Cuddy, please see TED.
Note: Personally, I use some techniques both in trainings and in my life, and I can confirm that they work.
The book in Czech version: https://www.kosmas.cz/knihy/217871/tady-a-ted/
Some interesting points:
To be fully focused, various elements of your self must be in alignment: emotions, thoughts, bodily and facial expressions. If we don't act in line with our values, we don't feel authentic.
The body communicates what words cannot express; the body never lies.
Amy says that it's not enough just to recognize the values, qualities, and strengths that represent your best authentic self. You must affirm and trust your own responses.
The test on social stress and the discussion about hormone levels in relation to self-assurance are also intriguing.
Trust is the pillar on which influence stands, and we gain trust only when we are authentic.
The imposter syndrome: similar feelings are common among very capable and high-achieving people.
Who fears failure the most? People who have achieved something - who are definitely not imposters...
While we torture ourselves with ideas about what others think of us, we don't listen to them when they tell us what they really think...
It has been found that people suffering from the imposter syndrome are significantly represented among those who seriously considered changing their careers and also among those who actually changed them...
Social power is power over someone – the ability to control the state and behavior of others.
Personal power is the ability to do something – the ability to control one's own state and behavior...
The feeling of powerlessness weakens thinking and even forces one to focus on oneself...
It quite clearly describes the relationship between feelings and nonverbal expression, body language.
I remembered at the beginning it describes the traditional Maori dance HAKA, what it causes and how it originated. Well, at the same time, I was watching basketball and what do I see... HAKA performed by a basketball team... The opponents were really amazed.. 😀
Decisions create confidence.
Bodily experiences evoke emotions, not the other way around.
A person can pretend to have an emotion for so long until they actually experience it.
An interesting study on the application of Botox and its danger to genuine emotions.
Body posture is a source of personal power.
With increasing power, testosterone levels rise, and cortisol levels decrease. This hormonal profile is associated with high assertiveness and low anxiety, making it an ideal combination for enhancing persuasiveness and presence in challenging moments.
If people perceptually assimilate their virtual representation, they tend to adopt typical features of their avatar.
Recommendations on how to do it 😊 what body posture is okay and how to make it a habit.
The ability to slow down is a sign of strength. Slow speech, pauses, and occupying a certain space are related to power and personality strength, just as taking time in decision-making during tense moments.
We often look at what others are doing and deduce from that which behavior is correct – especially if we identify with those we observe. The more similar they are to us, the greater influence they have on our behavior.
New Year's resolutions are full of psychological traps that work against us 😊
Don't pretend until you can handle it – pretend until it becomes true 😊
3. Book: How Your Brain Works / Brain at Work
The book "Brain at Work" by Dr. David Rock, published in 2009, contains about 304 pages of fascinating reading suitable not only for coaches. I have read the English version, which I can recommend. The book in Czech can be found at:
By the way, Dr. David Rock is the founder of the NeuroLeadership Institute (https://neuroleadership.com/ ), which is one of the approaches used by coaches worldwide, based on neuroscience. You can enroll in courses like "Brain-Based Coaching."
The book takes you through the story of parents Emily and Paul and their adolescent children. The story itself stems from real-life problems that every entrepreneur or working parent faces. However, the focus is not solely on the story but on keeping the reader engaged in the context of much more important information that is essential. The book comprises 14 main chapters divided into 4 acts or themes:
Problems and Decisions
Staying Calm under Pressure
Collaborating with Others
In the individual chapters, you will learn, for example:
Why our brains feel overloaded and how to maximize our mental resources.
Why it is challenging to maintain focus and how to better manage distractions.
How to increase the chances of finding solutions to seemingly insurmountable problems.
How to stay calm in any situation to make the best possible decisions.
How to collaborate more effectively with others.
Why giving feedback is so difficult and how to make it easier.
How to be more effective in changing the behavior of others.
And much more.
What caught my attention the most?
How energetically demanding and complex processes occur in the brain. When it is ideal to tackle complex tasks, such as planning. I got an answer to why sometimes planning is difficult for me and how to change that.
If we think our brain can handle resolving 7 tasks at once, it is one of the biggest misconceptions (optimal is around 4). The brain can handle much less. For making decisions between options, having 2 alternatives is effective (and those can also create nice problems).
We can consciously focus on only one task at a specific time. The belief in multitasking is a misconception, which costs us energy, precision, and reduces performance.
Attention can be easily lost. The most common distraction is our own thoughts and the engagement of the default brain network.
Peak performance requires a certain level of stress – but it's not about minimal stress. To achieve high performance, one can practice rituals.
It is easy to get stuck when solving a particular problem, and it is quite challenging to master techniques that help be constructive.
The brain prefers staying in its comfort zone, minimizing danger, and maximizing reward. It's also a way to catch it and get the most out of it.
SCARF and its significance in forming Psychological Safety. This is the most crucial information I acquired and immediately incorporated into practice.
How the brain works and distinguishes friend vs. foe and its impact on team collaboration.
How crucial fair treatment is for the brain and its direct impact on perceiving threats.
The role of motivation and feedback. The current failure of management lies in using "carrot and stick" motivation, which does not work in current structures.
Avoid giving advice! Instead of providing advice, it's better to ask the right questions.
Despite being demanding, the brain is constantly changing. Instead of various exercises, it is appropriate to initiate and direct change through attentional focus.