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6. Inspiration – 3 books about coaching and for coaches

Updated: Oct 22, 2023

If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking. -- Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood

1.Book: “Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships” by Eric Berne

1.1 Opening remarks

I am sometimes threatened to meet a medical doctor who is not working on his or her education and is treating or operating on people. Therefore, I was shocked at how many professional coaches (more than 70% of coaches in my professional environment) do not know about this book and ideas at all, and yet they provide on paired, team or systemic coaching (honestly I do not know their results). The problem of the present, one would say.

1.2 About the Book (excerpt from apple books)

We think we’re relating to other people–but actually we’re all playing games.

More thab sixty years ago, Games People Play revolutionized our understanding of what really goes on during our most basic social interactions. We play games all the time: sexual games, marital games, power games with our bosses, and competitive games with our friends. Detailing status contests like “Martini” (I know a better way), to lethal couples combat like “If It Weren’t For You” and “Uproar,” to flirtation favorites like “The Stocking Game” and “Let’s You and Him Fight,” Dr. Berne exposes the secret ploys and unconscious maneuvers that rule our intimate lives. Games People Play is widely recognized as the most original and influential popular psychology book of our time. It’s as powerful and eye-opening as ever.

1.3 Interesting insights

The book has three parts. The first part describes the role of transaction analysis, description and genesis of games and their classification.

In certain kinds of psychotherapy groups, reveals from time to time people show noticeable changes in posture, viewpoint, voice, vocabulary, and other aspects of behavior. These behavioral changes are often accompanied by shifts in feeling. In given individual, a certain patterns correspond to one state of mind, while another set is related to a different psychic attitude, often inconsistent with the first. These changes and differences give rise to the idea of “ego states”, a Parental, Adult or Child ego state.

At any given moment each individual in a social aggregation will exhibit a Parental, Adult or Child ego state, and that individuals can shift with varying degrees of readiness from one ego state to another.

The implications are:

  1. That every individual has had parents (or substitute parents) and that he carries within him a set of ego states that reproduce the ego states of those parents (as he perceived them), and that these parental ego states can be activated under certain circumstances. Colloquially: "Everyone carries his parents around inside of him."

  2. That every individual (including children, the mentally retarded and schizophrenics) is capable of objective data processing if the appropriate ego state can be activated. Colloquially: "Everyone has an Adult."

  3. That every individual was once younger than he is now, and that he carries within him fixated relics from earlier years which will be activated under certain circumstances. Colloquially: "Everyone carries a little boy or girl around inside of him."

If two or more people encounter each other in a social aggregation, sooner or later one of them will speak, or give some other indication of acknowledging the presence of the others. This is called the transactional stimulus.

The first rule of communication is that communication will proceed smoothly as long as transactions are complementary, and its corollary is that as long as transactions are complementary, communication can, in principle, proceed indefinitely.

The converse rule is that communication is broken off when a crossed transaction occurs. The most common crossed transaction and the one which causes and always has caused most of the social difficulties in the world, whether in marriage, love, friendship, etc.

More complex are ulterior transactions—those involving the activity of more than two ego states simultaneously—and this category is the basis for games. Salesmen are particularly adept at angular transactions, those involving three ego states. A crude but dramatic example of a sales game is illustrated in the following exchange: Salesman: "This one is better, but you can't afford it." Housewife: "That's the one I'll take."

A duplex ulterior transaction involves four ego states, and is commonly seen in flirtation games. Cowboy: "Come and see the barn." Visitor: "I've loved barns ever since I was a little girl." At the social level this is an Adult conversation about barns, and at the psychological level it is a Child conversation about sex play. On the surface the Adult seems to have the initiative, but as in most games, the outcome is determined by the Child, and the participants may be in for a surprise.

In the second part, there are already described games that you can see in everyday life and of which you are a part somewhere.

  • Life Games (Alcoholic, Debtor, Kick Me, Now I’ve got you, son of a bitch, See what you made me do)

  • Marital Games (Corner, Courtroom, Frigid woman, Harried, If It Weren’t For You, Look How Hard I’ve tried, Sweetheart)

  • Party Games (Ain’t it awful, Blemish, Schlemiel, Why Don’t You – Yes But)

  • Sexual Games (Let’s you and him fight, Perversion, Rapo, The Stocking Game, Uproar)

  • Underworld Games (Cops and Robbers, How Do You Get Out Of Here, Let’s Pull A Fast One On Joey)

  • Consulting Room Games (Greenhous, I’m only trying to help you, Indigence, Peasant, Psychiatry, Stupid, Wooden Leg)

  • Good Games (Busman’s Holiday, Cavalier, Happy to help, Homely Sage, They’ll Be Glad They Knew Me)

The third part describes the players, paradigms, and what follows.

1.4 What makes the book good?

The book is still actual and even in today's era of virtual relationships, you will find stimuli for their practical use in both individual, group and systemic coaching. I believe that in therapeutic practice it is necessary to know this. At the beginning, I mentioned the types of transactions that take place, for example, between the coach and the client. Lots of schools characterize the state when the transaction is adult versus adult as the OK principle.

1.5 What is the shortcoming of the book?

Personally, I am a visual type and I would appreciate more transaction diagrams and less text. Getting to know some types of games is complicated by the fact that other people enter to them. Furthermore, some abbreviations, without reading the chapter, impair the orientation. Descriptions and theses of some games are general. And I also feel lack of solutions to these situations, although that was certainly not the aim of this book, and in that context it may be unrealistic. A lot of time has passed since this book was written, how did new situations manifest themselves and what are the new games?

2.Book: “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams” by Deepak Chopra

2.1 Opening remarks

This book came to me in a winding way. Deepak Chopra is one of my intellectual role models and his work is enormous. In one show on youtube, I watched a moderator's conversation with Deepak Choopra, where the moderator pointed out this book. I read the book and I couldn't believe my eyes from the first lines. Simply and concisely written information that was put into context and a great opportunity for self-development. I read the book very quickly, it was like going through my thoughts and just needed to align them. In essence, the book touches on very spiritual areas that everyone faces. I have used this knowledge and practice several times in coaching in the form of reflexive techniques and metaphors, and I highly recommend it to you as well.

2.2 About the Book (excerpt from apple books)

In The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, Deepak Chopra distills the essence of his teachings into seven simple, yet powerful principles that can easily be applied to create success in all areas of your life. Based on natural laws that govern all of creation, this book shatters the myth that success is the result of hard work, exacting plans, or driving ambition.

Instead, Chopra offers a life-altering perspective on the attainment of success: Once we understand our true nature and learn to live in harmony with natural law, a sense of well-being, good health, fulfilling relationships, energy and enthusiasm for life, and material abundance will spring forth easily and effortlessly. Filled with timeless wisdom and practical steps you can apply right away, this is a book you will cherish for a lifetime, for within its pages are the secrets to making all your dreams come true.

2.3 Interesting insights

1. The Law of Pure Potentiality

We are, in our essential state, pure consciousness. Pure consciousness is pure potentiality; it is the field of all possibilities and infinite creativity. Pure consciousness is our spiritual essence.

2. The Law of Giving

This law could also be called the Law of Giving and Receiving, because the universe operates through dynamic exchange. Nothing is static. Your body is in dynamic and constant exchange with the body of the universe; The flow of life is nothing other than the harmonious interaction of all the elements and forces that structure the field of existence.

3. The Law of Karma or Cause and Effect

Every action generates a force of energy that returns to us in like kind. Everything that is happening at this moment is a result of the choices you’ve made in the past.

It’s still a choice:

I could offend you and I could insult you, and you could make the choice of not being offended. I could pay you a compliment and you could make the choice of not letting that flatter you either

4. The Law of Least Effort

If you observe nature at work, you will see that least effort is expended. Grass doesn’t try to grow, it just grows. Fish don’t try to swim, they just swim. It is human nature to make our dreams manifest into physical form, easily and effortlessly. Least effort is expended when your actions are motivated by love, because nature is held together by the energy of love. When your actions are motivated by love, there is no waste of energy. When your actions are motivated by love, your energy multiplies and accumulates — and the surplus energy you gather and enjoy can be channeled to create anything that you want, including unlimited wealth.

5. The Law of Intention and Desire

The only difference between you and a tree is the informational and energy content of your respective bodies.

Attention and intention: Attention energizes, and intention transforms. Whatever you put your attention on will grow stronger in your life. Whatever you take your attention away from will wither, disintegrate, and disappear. Intention, on the other hand, triggers transformation of energy and information. Intention organizes its own fulfillment.

6. The Law of Detachment

In order to acquire anything in the physical universe, you have to relinquish your attachment to it. You give up your attachment to the result. Anything you want can be acquired through detachment, because detachment is based on the unquestioning belief in the power of your true Self. Attachment, on the other hand, is based on fear and insecurity — and the need for security is based on not knowing the true Self. People are constantly seeking security, and you will find that seeking security is actually a very ephemeral thing. Even attachment to money is a sign of insecurity

7. The Law of Dharma

Dharma is a Sanskrit word that means “purpose in life.” The Law of Dharma says that we have taken manifestation in physical form to fulfill a purpose. you have a unique talent and a unique way of expressing it. There is something that you can do better than anyone else in the whole world — and for every unique talent and unique expression of that talent, there are also unique needs. Expressing your talents to fulfill needs creates unlimited wealth and abundance.

2.4 What makes the book good?

The book is concise and very deep in its content. What fascinates me is the easy applicability, which everyone can try immediately. Each chapter with the described principle also contains instructions on how to develop techniques within yourself.

2.5 What is the shortcoming of the book?

I didn't find any that I would mention.

3.Book: “Who Am I?: 16 Basic Desires That Motivate Our Actions Define Our Personalities” by Steven Reiss

3.1 Opening remarks

A book that the vast majority of coaches have never heard of, but I would say that it is very important for the work of a coach and not only a coach. I have always been interested in people's motivation, because motivation is a source of energy for change.

Until I discovered this book, I was looking for something to start with, and it was always incomplete. This book complemented my missing mosaic and allowed me to discover the reasons for people's behavior and connect them with coaching and hypnosis. You can quickly find out for yourself what motives, inner desires condition your behavior and how it affects relationships.

3.2 About the Book (excerpt from apple books)

What do we want? What makes us tick? From acceptance to vengeance to curiosity, this book explains the 16 basic and universal desires that shape our behavior—and shows how the ways we prioritize them determines our personalities. Grounded in up-to-date psychological research, this book can help parents comprehend their children’s needs and behavior couples understand each other. Better employers motivate their employees become more effective in their work. YOU achieve greater satisfaction and happiness in life.

3.3 Interesting insights

The first few chapters describe the basic desires (Power, Order,..). In the following, it is demonstrated and shown how to work with each other or, for example, in pairs. Very interesting is the chapter where it describes the relevance of selected personalities - high level of desire, average and low. An interesting link to motivational topics in relation to our lives or a link to Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

The author perfectly describes how important it is to perceive these needs in pairs, from my point of view excellent information for a couple coach, where it is clear what can be like a friction surface in communication.

In the next part, the author shows how these desires affect our and the surrounding happiness in the form of Value-Based Happiness.

Very interesting are the sections how desires affect the relationship at work. Your desire profile affects not only how you react to the people at work but also how you react to the work itself. Very inspiring part of book is how we can fulfill the 16 basic desires through family life.

I like this: although many people think that sports are primarily motivated by the need for physical activity, sports actually can satisfy nearly all basic desires. The various psychological aspects of sports—excellence, teamwork, endurance, winning, character, and leadership—satisfy different basic desires.

3.4 What makes the book good?

The book is based on research of people's motivations. It is clearly structured, and I think it will provide very important information that a real coach needs for work. The appendix is a nicely prepared procedure in the form of questions that can be applied for the questionnaire and other work.

3.5 What is the shortcoming of the book?

This book is based on original scientific research on the basic human desires that make our lives meaningful. Many people are not aware that the most famous analyses of human desire in history were not based upon scientific study. For 2,500 years, the greatest philosophers and scientists have produced many answers to the question, “What makes people tick?” Although the theories were brilliant and fascinating, few were based on any scientific research, and none was based on scientifically valid surveys of the kind reported in this book. What is perhaps most significant about the answer put forth in this book is that it is based on having actually asked large numbers of people what it is that is most important to them.

This book is based on surveys of more than 6,000 people from many stations in life, and authors discovered that there are 16 basic desires and values that drive nearly everything we do. I would also appreciate more insights from public and academic authorities and a larger research sample and population. For example, how did COVID affect our desires? Is that really all?

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