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5. Inspiration – 3 books about coaching and for coaches

Updated: Oct 22, 2023

Some books leave us free and some books make us free” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

1. Book: Conversational Intelligence: How Great Leaders Build Trust & Get Extraordinary Results by Judith E. Glaser

Opening remarks

This book really brought me luck. In 2017, I was at the EMEA PMI conference in Rome. I was inspired by a lecture by Phil Bristol - a former Ranger and currently a top project consultant and coach in his company on "We Need to Talk - Feedback that doesn't have hurt". I was so interested in the topic that I followed in the footsteps of resources and completed similar training as Phil. One key reference was to the work of Judit E. Glaiser. It was the best coincidence in my life. Unfortunately, I won't see Judith live anymore, but her book has taken me light years forward.

About the Book (excerpt from apple books)

The key to success in life and business is to become a master at Conversational Intelligence. It's not about how smart you are, but how open you are to learn new and effective powerful conversational rituals that prime the brain for trust, partnership, and mutual success. Conversational Intelligence translates the wealth of new insights coming out of neuroscience from across the globe, and brings the science down to earth so people can understand and apply it in their everyday lives. Author Judith Glaser presents a framework for knowing what kind of conversations trigger the lower, more primitive brain; and what activates higher-level intelligences such as trust, integrity, empathy, and good judgment. Conversational Intelligence makes complex scientific material simple to understand and apply through a wealth of easy-to-use tools, examples, conversational rituals, and practices for all levels of an organization.

The book has 3 parts and 12 chapters:

PART I Conversational Intelligence and Why We Need It

PART II Raising Your Conversational Intelligence

PART III Getting to the Next Level of Greatness

Interesting insights

For me personally, the most interesting chapters and information that I have incorporated into my practice are the following:

  1. Applying the TRUST model to everyday life and application of the 5 steps that help you to reach it.

  2. Shifting from I to We. How to make TRUST (Transparency, Relationship, Understanding, Shared Success, Testing Assumptions) shift that we have to bridge from I to We

  3. Five Conversational Blind Spots

  4. Five questions from Protect…. Partner

  5. The Heart Brain

  6. Sideline Signals from the amygdala

  7. Trust and Distrust

  8. Ladder of Conclusions

  9. Listening for threats

  10. Vital instincts: Forces

  11. The Road Map for Building Conversational Agility

  12. Conversational Rituals for Change

  13. Working with exercises (Double – Clicking, LEARN, Back to the Future)

What makes a book good?

Thanks to this book, I realized how sensitive our brain is and how incredibly little is enough to activate fight to flight mode. This book is excellent not only for coaches, but for anyone on this planet who communicates with human beings. What is described in the book really works, these are clear rules that everyone can master.

What is the shortcoming of the book?

I did not find anything I could comment on.

2. Book: Coach the Person, Not the Problem: A Guide to Using Reflective Inquiry by Marcia Reynolds

Opening remarks

At Converge in 2019, where I helped as a volunteer, I met Marcia Reynolds. Marcia had a lecture "Coaching the Person, Not the Problem", which fascinated me so much that I immediately got the book, read it and applied the acquired knowledge to my practice.

About the Book (excerpt from amazon books)

"Coaches rely far too much on asking open-ended questions," says Marcia Reynolds. But questions only seek answers--inquiry provides insight. When, instead of just questions, clients hear their thoughts, opinions, and beliefs spoken by someone else, it prompts them to critically consider how their thinking affects their goals. Reynolds cites the latest brain science to show why reflective inquiry works and provides techniques, tips, and structures for creating breakthrough conversations.

This book will free coaches from the cult of asking the magical question by offering five essential practices of reflective inquiry: focus on the person, not the problem; summarize what is heard and expressed; identify underlying beliefs and assumptions; unwrap the desired outcome; and articulate insights and commitments. Using these practices, combined with a respectful and caring presence, helps create a space where clients feel safe, seen, and valued for who they are. Coaches become change agents who actively recharge the human spirit. And clients naturally dive deeper and develop personalized solutions that may surprise even the coach.

Interesting insights

For me, I divided the topics into important, to remember and tips:


  • Coaching versus Telling

  • When you are racking your brain to remember a good question, you are in your head and not present. You miss when clients tell you what they really want or when they reveal the belief or fear that is paralyzing. Being present is more important than being perfect.

  • Did your words lead to clarity, or did you lead your client to accept a definition of the situation based on your own experiences?

  • Another form of paraphrasing is to use a metaphor. You use a metaphor to paint a picture of what the client is telling you in a different context connected by meaning…

  • Bottom lining helps clients isolate what needs to be resolved to achieve their desired outcome. They often agree on what they want but then declare all the reasons why they can’t move forward. When you summarize their reasons, they add to the list. The conversation then runs in circles.

  • Listen for the word but.

  • When you hear a conflict of desires or values, you can better frame the options by asking

  • If you want your clients to feel comfortable being vulnerable with you, you need to let your reactions to their emotions fade away.

  • Without consciously acknowledging the needs that trigger our emotional reactions, we become enslaved to the needs

  • Recognizing needs frees us to choose our reactions

To Remember and Tips:

  • 3 Tips for Focusing on the Person, Not the Problem

  • 3 Tips for Summarizing

  • 3 Tips for Noticing Emotional Shifts

  • 3 Tips for Brain Hacking by Coaching What Holds Together Your Clients' Stories

  • 3 Tips for Keeping the Conversation on Track

  • 3 Tips for Articulating Insights and Commitments

  • The following three steps will help you align your brain

  • Creating the Habit of Aligning Your Brain: Presenting Routine

  • Five Steps for Building Sensory Awareness in Conversation

  • Creating the Habit of Receiving: Full-Body Presence


  • Creating the Habit of Catching and Releasing Your Emotions

What makes a book good?

The book is written by a coach for coaches. I've been to many trainings, but in this book you can find some important information about coaching that, no training will give you.

What is the shortcoming of the book?

I did not find anything I could comment on.

3. Book: The Forgotten Choice: Shift Your Inner Mindset, Shape Your Outer World by Brenda Bence

Opening remarks

This book came to me through Marcia "like" on linkedin. But what convinced me to read it were the following questions about the goal mentioned in this like paragraph. “Think of a goal you have for yourself – something you really, really want. On a scale of 1-10 (10 being high), how strong is your desire to achieve that goal? Now, consider this: On that same 10-point scale, how would you rate your self-belief that you can actually achieve that goal?” Coincidentally at that time, I had a client whose self-belief was key for next session.

About the Book (excerpt from amazon books)

In The Forgotten Choice: Shift Your Inner Mindset, Shape Your Outer World, motivational author and leading global coach Brenda Bence clearly demonstrates that success in relationships, work, finances, health, and beyond lies in disrupting the one thing inside of you that can create real, lasting, and positive change: the way you think. And that’s true despite whatever chaos may be going on in your outside world.

the topics that are covered:

  • why mindset is everything

  • how to shift out of a negative mindset and think different

  • why “what you think really IS what you get” and how to fully take charge of your thoughts, once and for all

  • how to make change immediately and how to make it stick

  • how to face the fear and do it anyway

  • embrace the unknown with a sense of excitement and adventure

Interesting insights

  • What else would we believe? Three hundred years of Newtonian physics taught us that cause is outside of us and that we are at its effect. Because we believe so heavily in this cause-and-effect relationship, it tends to leave us feeling victimized. After all, it’s hard to feel any sense of satisfaction when we believe we are at the mercy of everything that is going on externally.

  • cause is not outside of us, but inside. Your thoughts are the cause; your life is the effect.

  • beneath any anger—there is always fear.

  • your self-talk has two distinct voices that speak to you all day long: the Inner Defeatist (the voice of fear), and the Inner Coach (the voice for the Joy of Possibility).

  • The Undeniable Satisfaction of Being in the Present

  • Creating Your Future Is Easier Than You Think

  • The Importance of Believing You Can Shift - knowing that you can choose differently, and that in doing so, you will experience change

What makes a book good?

For me, following chapters: "The Undeniable Satisfaction of Being in the Present", "Creating Your Future Is Easier Than You Think" or "How to Put This to Work for You" are the best that I have implemented in my practice.

Then "The What-You-Think-Is-What-You-Get Pyramid", "Two Energies, Two Pyramids" or "Your Most important Conversations" were most valuable for me.

The book is readable and can be read with notes and self-study in a few days.

What is the shortcoming of the book?

I would merge the first three chapters into one. I would shorten some other chapters.

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