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Science behind Coaching

According to Neuroscience…


4 Faces of Insight: Awareness → Reflection→ Insight→ Action (David Rock)


5 Elements of Change: Attention → Awareness → Reflection→ Insight→ Action


Behaviorism doesn’t work. Change efforts based on incentive and threat (the carrot and the stick) rarely succeed in the long run.


Humanism is overrated. In practice, the conventional empathic approach of connection and persuasion doesn’t sufficiently engage people.


What works? Coaching… According to Neuroscience… Change is pain. It provokes sensations of physiological discomfort. New habits are created through repetition and positive reinforcement. Any change requires conscious attention. It activates your working memory (the prefrontal cortex), which has limited resources and uses lots of energy. In contrast to our unconscious learning (habits, the basal ganglia) that performs very well using little or no energy, our working memory gets tired and can only hold a limited amount of information. That may create stress and negative emotions.


How does that affect the way we coach someone through change?

1. We can share this data with our clients who go through change to make them more self-accepting and patient.

2. We can use this information to be more patient with our clients when they go through change.


Repeated, purposeful, and focused attention can lead to long-lasting personal evolution. What we focus on, we strengthen: Focus on what you want instead of what you don’t want. Focus is power. The act of paying attention creates chemical and physical changes in the brain. Attention is a limited resource and complex problems are rarely resolved by working memory.


According to Neuroscience… Expectation shapes reality. It is utilized in coaching through: reflection, powerful questions, and bringing awareness. Our clients change their perception and, therefore, their expectations are changing as well. We help them create the outcomes they are seeking.


According to Neuroscience… The Brain Likes Autonomy: The brain likes to be able to predict and have a say in the future. A feeling of having a choice dramatically decreases stress levels. No two brains are alike: Our brains are dramatically different. That is why in coaching it is very important to:

1. Allow our clients to make their own decisions about what they would like to work on and achieve.

2. Allow them to connect their own dots instead of giving advice.

3. Ask our clients for their insights instead of summarizing for them.




Based on “Neuroscience in Leadership” by David Rock

Goal Imagery® Institute Life & Career Coach Training Program 2014© Marianna Lead. All Rights Reserved in All Media


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