When we coach we do more than help our clients create new automatic behaviours. We help their brains develop. As health and wellness coaches, people often assume that we focus on what people do, or don’t do, as the case may be. How they destroy their health by lack of exercise or poor nutrition, yet really our work beings from the top end – in people’s minds. We not only create new behaviors but help people create new mindsets! How do we do this?
Neuroplasticity has shown that our brain has the ability to grow, develop and adapt over time. By helping clients reflect and become more self aware, we start the process of brain change. Add in self compassion, positivity, creativity and we have an environment that makes many things possible! Not least of all, better health behaviours.
However, the difference between encouraging a client to “comply” with our recommendations and working with someone who is encouraged to focus on their personal hopes, dreams and ambitions is the difference between allowing their brains to grow, or perhaps shutting them down into a fixed mind set where people have the belief that nothing can change! Which sounds the better?
How can coaching possibly have this much effect on a person?
There are several key aspects of coaching that encourage this brain “growth”.
Envisioning possibilities our first conversation with a client is not about what’s wrong with them, what’s not working but what would it be like if things were better – if they were at their best? This opens the brain up to notion of possibility thinking. Rather than going into analyzing and planning mode, our brains go into hypothetical thinking, visual imaging and creatively coming up with new ideas for the future!
Mindfulness – when coaches are working, they will be exhibiting high levels of mindfulness. This in turn helps the client become mindful and they will become sensitive to what is going on, both inside and outside of themselves. They will be experiencing open awareness in a very sensory way and perceptions can shift.
– when we deeply engaged in a conversation with another, we give full attention to that communication process and distractions are minimised. Our brains have an opportunity to tap into various regions and enhance neural activity in the areas that it is required.
Problem solving – giving clients the solution to their problem cheats them of the chance to creatively solve whatever issue they are facing, whereas good coaching gives them time and space to tap into their own resources and come up with often a far better solution than the “experts” could have thought of who have no knowledge of that person’s particular situation in life.
In coaching clients forge new connections, come up with new interpretations and meanings and create positive energy.
Coaches can truly help client’s change their brains.