Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Tao of Coaching - Max Landsberg

I like Max Landsberg's books for the simple reason that he outlines the subject matter comprehensively. There are a couple of things to take away from each book and a few topics you can mark to read in depth later. This is probably the third one that I read in his Tao of series.

First up Max says motivation is an integral part of leadership. He defines leadership as
Leadership = Vision X Inspiration X Momentum
'Vision' is a compelling image of both the destination and nature of journey
'Inspiration' is about enrolling others to be part of this journey
'Momentum' is about keeping team members and individuals energised and on course

Max says that all three factors mentioned above need the power of motivation.
The quote by Alexander Pope is outstanding
"Two principles in human nature reign
Self-love to urge, and reason to restrain"

Max comes up with an acronym to describe the various elements required to achieve the Tao of Motivation - VICTORY
V is the Vision that engages all senses and should be compelling enough to create a 1 page plan, visual, uplifting and exciting

I is for Impetus, one that you find inside yourself as a motivating factor and could be money, power, love, sex, pride, duty, success, hope etc

C is for Confidence which he says can be built by Seeding (the vision), Feeding (with positive feedback, support groups etc) and Weeding (removing barriers and distractions)

T is for Taking the plunge where he encourages one to prepare for taking the plunge - prepare for plunge (vision, support of key people and timing), taking the plunge (a voice must speak to you literally) and after the plunge (reflect and course correct) The key is to avoid hesitancy.

O is for Observing Outcomes / seeing Obstacles as Opportunities -  linking back to vision, considering plans and fall back plans, being flexible, developing serendipity, being adaptable and growing incrementally

R is Responding to feedback, he says feedback is the prime source of our learning, development and motivation and urges us to develop appetite for bitter sweet outcomes and use both positive and negative feedback to build, re-script self-talk, refocus your beliefs, praise yourself and remember your last success

Here he expands on self-talk types - generalizing (painting the entire thing with one general idea), irrationalising (drawing conclusions without supporting facts) and transposing (infecting one area with another).

He also explains how beliefs can be rational and irrational and how to stay with rational beliefs which can help you to improve, accept and learn and not merely complain, prevaricate, repress and self-blame as one tends to do with irrational beliefs.

Y is for You, who must link everything and integrate it all seamlessly to be good at this job of motivation - self or of others.

One important part of the book is the short 10 page look at Essential Psychology
First up, he outlays the five premises of psychology
1) Actions speak louder than words
2) There are trade offs for our actions (actions are creative or destructive, internally or externally directed. (Internally directed and creative would lead to - learning new skills, self praise, accepting help), Internally directed and Destructive  would lead to - Self abuse, getting out of shape, Externally directed and creative would lead to - helping others make things, letting children explore and Externally directed and destructive would lead to - ridiculing others, letting someone stop us etc.)

Our actions come from our deep wishes (Immortal, Irresistible and Omnipotent), urges (libido, love, Mortido and fate), leading to trade offs like (more security, pleasure + less anxiety and pain). In the conscious mind you'd make an explicit analysis and in the unconscious mind you deal with defence mechanisms.

Defence mechansims are well explained - denial (total denial), repression (repressing feelings - saying it was wonderful when it wasn't), projection (saying he hates me when actually you hate him), displacement (assigning blame to someone when actually a third party is responsible for it), sublimation (I enjoy the violin, when Rome is burning), regression (saying I'm a defenceless child, when you're an adult), rationalisation (I hit you because there was a fly on your cheek), reactive formation (this is a cat, when it is really a tiger), altruism (I am a Samaritan so I can ignore my problems), humour (that cruel joke on me was funny, was it?) etc. I guess I can plead guilty to all.

One cannot do away without knowing of the theories of motivation
Cognitive theory - theory x (lazy people) theory y (people want to work)
Maslow's Hierarchy of needs - physiological, safety needs, love/social, self esteem, self actualisation

3) Regression when stressed (go into a child state)
4) Growth as grooving vs growth as changing (seeking patterns as one grows as opposed to flowing with change)
5) Holy trinity of mind, body and spirit as one

Max discusses MBTI and other personality types, fear of success and a fear of failure. He discusses the Handbook of Montevideo Secret police on how to destroy motivation and break the will. Detailed stuff if you want to break some one's will. Some stuff on NLP.

For us then - to be aware of the domino effect where one falling domino could bring down the entire edifice. Keep dominos separate as a strategy. Better still, use domino effect in reverse.

On Praise
Mostly, I loved this statement - You cannot motivate anyone unless you are able to deliver praise in an utterly convincing way.
To do that - you must prove that you mean it, explain why praise is deserved, suggest that its an indigenous trait and mostly explain potential in a radical way.

Praise exercise - Last week, we did this exercise at Gap Miners. Made groups of two and asked everyone to indulge in a bit of self-praise (difficult) and then praise the other person (conditional and hesitant). Then we tried to praise one another on potential and realised it was even more difficult. The one role play that got it right was of two interns who used unconditional praise and pushed the envelope to potential - it was good to see Mrigank actually blush a bit. That's the effect that's probably required.

Max tells us how to differentitae bewteen stress and strain and how some amount of stress is good. He says its best to keep it at an optimum level.

Max asks us to take motivation beyond work place - to friends, family and self.

To master motivation he advises - be a seeker, a learned adept or a practical doer. You will become like those masters who have a rare generosity of spriit, an energy that's easy.

Key Actions to Practice
Addict yourself to the habit of motivating yourself and others (you will learn to be intuitive and instinctive). Create the pathways of expertise built cognitively and merge with experence built through practcie.

I loved the concept of mastering the art of praising and of praising one keeping potential in mind in a radical manner. We all remember those extra generous dollops of praise, those full on stuff, and not thse hesitant and conditional ones which do not sound like praise at all. Praise must make the person break out into a huge smile, blush at the possibility. Then it is something the person will hold dear to his or her heart.

I also loved the concept that says that when you take the plunge a voice must speak to you literally. It's such a valid point. Last week I met this young man who was at a cross roads in his career, a common dilemma, and we finally decided to work until he was sure. But this line - that a voice must speak to you - puts it so beautifully.

To motivate self and others, praise is the key. Self-talk is important. To practice it on self and on others is important to master it.

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