Including some key neuroscience principles
Setting a scene
I am a leadership and neuroscience coach and about to have a chemistry session – a session to see if a potential client and I are a good match for a coaching relationship. Not quite an audition, yet, an important time for both parties. We both want the client’s needs and goals for coaching to be achieved. Rapport being gained in this meeting, is a good sign that we can communicate well together, build trust and progress with the changes being sort.
Meeting a client where they are
On this occasion as we explore what is happening for them and how they think coaching can help, a not uncommon theme arises.
After many years of hard work, a ‘C’ suite position has been achieved. How they describe their situation shows the immense pressure they are putting on themselves to be ‘immediately outstanding’.
They see their role as one where they should be able to do it all, have an answer or solution to everything. The reality of all the ‘new’ and ‘unknowns’ has delivered a surprisingly high dose of vulnerability, self-doubt and uncertainty.
How neuroscience can help
Neuroscience plays a significant part in how I coach.
I have studied it (and continue to) over the last 5 years and apply neuroscience to my 20 years of leadership coaching. What does that actually mean? What do my certifications in neuroscience allow me to draw on?
- It helps me reveal to my clients how their way of thinking and behaving has evolved.
- It gives insight into how your brain has perceived your experiences.
- It enhances your self-awareness and consciousness to make change where, when and as it’s needed.
- It puts neuroscience in to simple, usable format
A few principle of neuroscience
There are a few principles of neuroscience that are incorporated along with the usual skills for my coaching (listening, asking questions, being non-judgements, giving feedback etc) and my years of leadership experience. Below are some of these ‘high-level principles’ (thank you, Dr Sarah McKay) showing some of what I am considering as I help you find deeper self-awareness and focus for change.
Some principles of neuroscience:
- Your brain is shaped by both genetics and the environments you have experienced and this influences your behaviour.
- Much of the brain is not hard wired. These ‘plastic’ network areas are growing and shrinking daily in response to your experiences.
- You rely on your memories to remember the past, understand the present and predict the future. Like Chinese whispers recalling the past cannot be relied upon as accurate an reflection.
- Emotions are an interrelated neural process to memory formation and retrieval.
- Your relationships have been crucial to your ability to make positive change. Belonging and being valued is part of your brain’s innate strategy for survival.
- Imagining, pretending, visualising for your brain is similar to actually doing. Imagining activates the same brain regions as the actual behaviour and can speed up your learning experiences.
- Your brain does many things without you being consciously aware of them. This includes how you respond unconsciously through thoughts feelings and actions.
Back to the chemistry session
The example above, gives an opportunity to explore the clients relationship with vulnerability, perfection and what is driving their behaviour. these neuroscience principles above help with understanding, perspective and opportunities for change.
Point five relates to relationships and I believe it to be the most significant to successful coaching partnerships. There have been times when a client’s relationship history has been challenging, causing openness to be very testing.
In this chemistry session example, by being able to connect the concerns of this client to some specific aspects of neuroscience it helped them decide that working together was a going to benefit them.
Want to work with me?
I most often work with Execs, business owners, senior leaders and new managers. With the people aspect in mind, I also support psychologically impactful change initiatives (mergers, system changes, restructures). I provide coaching, leadership and management development and other skills to aid workplace success, transitions and results.