What is it like using neuroscience for professional coaching?
To answer that, we first need to go on a tour of a brief history of coaching!
What is Coaching all about?
My friend, Dr Alan Beggs was one of the first psychologist coaches. Originally an academic, he was asked to ‘coach’ Team GB for the Australian Olympics and we had the best competition ever! People began to realise there was something to this coaching business, and as a result, organisations began flooding to coaching as a cure-all. Coaching began as a non-advisory system of questions that anyone could do, providing they stuck to a rigid framework which reflect Whitmore’s approach – where do you want to be? Where are you now? How could you get there? What will you choose to commit to? Coaching became about driving performance.
The new science has shown that this approach only works for people who are already capable of achieving their goals – in other words, those who don’t really need coaching, they just need encouragement and, perhaps a sense that they are not alone. This answers a very important human need, and so it is not to be niffed at, but there is a deeper need that has developed as a result that cannot be answered through this approach.
The need for organisations to drive performance and the use of transactional means to achieve this, i.e. Whitmore styled coaching, has instead created a problem. Where once we would have said that coaches should avoid anyone with mental health issues, these are so pervasive if we avoided them we would have practically no clients – stress, low mood, overwhelm, anxiety, depression, reactivity, etc are part of our usual lives, they are prevalent at work and they are worsened by standard coaching. Why? Because when we are already feeling stressed by workload, and therefore our brain is under functioning adding another goal is simply increasing the sense of threat that ensures poor performance – it is a vicious cycle.
For this reason, we developed a coaching programme focussing on the neuroscience of wellbeing: NeuChem Coaching. NeuChem is a psychologically sophisticated and progressive coaching framework that has been designed with the latest neuroscience as it’s foundation, that’s core aim is to get people into the driving seat of their brains. This means the coaching outcome is not, necessarily, a specific goal – although that will be a side product – but instead the outcome is the self-empowerment of the client; the ability to adapt to the ecology of work and perform at ‘peak flow’, the ultimate level of performance which is also a form of deep happiness. Therefore, true coaching has wellbeing at its heart, as without this there is no performance. Don’t just take my word for it, talk to existing coaches!
When the brain is in the right state everything becomes easier. When a coach can enable their client to alter their brain chemistry it becomes automatic that they can easily achieve the things that they want to achieve. It’s not rocket science! Our brain is changing state all the time, and this process known as interoception, means that we are altering our entire body to respond to situations on a moment by moment basis. However, stress shuts down brain processes needed for problem solving, creativity, decision-making and co-operation, so without being capable to alter our brain processing at will we are literally incapable of achieving our goals or even working as part of a team.
Coaching with neuroscience enables clients to get into the driving seat of their brain. With neuroscience it is possible to neutralise a client’s feelings of being overwhelmed, stressed, or other negative brain states. This paves the way for a client to achieve their goals, but more importantly, it looks at what they want in life as a whole, which is not possible to do when the brain is compromised by negative thought.
This process is best demonstrated by the client who, on experiencing a change in body chemistry that instantly took her out of anxiety said “This is weird and amazing! The person standing here now, is not the same person as the one who was sitting there two minutes ago!”
What is it like to learn?
NeuChem coaching has been designed and developed to enable clients to achieve change through methods that are fast, fun, easy and empowering. Consequently, learning to become a NeuChem coach is also fast, fun easy and empowering! Neuchem applies the science to the learning of the science. As a coach you learn to map and understand the brain, but you don’t need to be a scientist.
The learning is based on a step by step approach using our TAI (Theory, Application, Implementation) bitesize framework so you get lots of opportunity to explore the ideas and try them in a comfortable and stress-free environment. Laughter and fun increases learning, so the whole process is light and not fraught with in-depth therapeutic styled questioning sessions. Coaches learn techniques that are life-changing for themselves as well as for their clients and apply these with a light touch. Coaches also learn how to recognise and work with the key moments in the process where their client experiences transformation, or DNA change. One of the best things about this for the coach is hearing their client say – “this has changed my life”
Throughout the whole process you will be in regular contact with our team and with your learning cohort. We have a secure virtual learning environment built for our students only. Here, you can find:
- Ted Talks
- Academic research papers
- Recommended films
- Podcasts and interviews
- Blogs, articles and YouTube videos
- A discussion forum
We want to provide a well rounded and enjoyable learning experience, but one that sees you well equipped to support your clients.