6. Inspiration – 3 books about coaching and for coaches

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.