What distinguishes brain-based coaching?
From these insights, brain-based coaching is then characterised, in its practise, by a few distinguishing features.
1. Self-directed learning
Brain-based coaching helps people make their own connections. We all learn better when we find our own answers. So the coach’s role is to support others in their learning journey, rather than directing, advising or driving.
When we make new connections for ourselves, our insights are accompanied by a tangible release of energy in the brain that is motivating and compels us to take action. Brain-based coaching watches for and harnesses this energy.
2. Solutions focus
Coaching is about solutions: connecting with the vision of where we want to be and systematically working toward that end – focused all the time on solutions. Coaching is not about searching for problems and delving into their causes: that simply deepens those circuits and finds more problems. Far more useful to be solutions focused.
Focusing on solutions puts us in the future and immediately creates energy in our minds. We get more creative, find new inspiration, open up to new possibilities and create new choices.
3. Challenge and stretch
Our brains love challenge and stretch. Brain-based coaching delivers the degree of stretch appropriate to each coachee to get them (and their brains) operating at their best. That is: to generate new wiring.
Brain-based coaching challenges coachees to develop their thinking along new lines and to move out of their comfort zone to achieve different results. Stretch is about maximising a coachee’s resourcefulness to the full.
4. Positive feedback
Coaching is about attention, focus and positive reinforcement, not highlighting errors and mistakes. It’s about catching people doing something well – and acknowledging that.
Any new learning requires substantial brain activity before it is “hardwired”. To combat distorted thinking patterns and overly-harsh inner critics, the brain-based coach uses encouragement and acknowledgement to help keep a coachee’s mind calm, clear and wholly focused on what they are trying to achieve: to reinforce new wiring.
5. Process and structure
Brain-based coaching is a structured approach to improving thinking and produce lasting change.
To think along new lines and do things differently takes energy and uses limited resources in the brain. The familiar and brain-friendly structure of the coaching framework minimises distraction and concern; and allows coachees to focus on their thinking. A proven brain-based framework, customised for each coachee.
6. Developing the coachee’s agenda
Brain-based coaching focuses solely on the coachee’s agenda: for themselves, their future, their goals and their aspirations. As your coach, I leave my agenda at the door and focus on you, the coachee. If I do have an agenda, it’s simply and unassumingly: to support you to be more of who you are and who you have the potential to be. I should otherwise be “invisible” in the process.
Coaching is also about letting the coachee’s agenda develop naturally, not driving it – which takes the responsibility away from the coachee. Driving comes in many guises: from suggesting and asking (“why don’t you …”); through to instructing and demanding (“if you don’t …”). From the brain-based perspective, far more effective to focus on facilitating insights in the coachee and generating commitment to an action of their design.
What brings people to coaching?
People come to coaching to make positive changes, achieve goals and create better results.
Some come for a specific reason, such as unwanted pressure and compromise at work, keeping them from their longer-term aspirations. Some don’t quite know what their issue is, but for the persistent and nagging feeling that something isn’t quite right. And others have no specific issues at all: they just recognise that what got them their current success won’t get them the success they want in the future.
So people come to coaching for all sorts of reasons; but they are all united in their desire for positive change.
What are the benefits of brain-based coaching?
Brain-based coaching has wide application. But the focus will always be your (the coachee’s) agenda; and the objective will always be transformation.
Common coaching goals might be to accelerate your career; to be more effective at work; to have less stress in your life; to have more confidence in certain situations; or to have more influence and impact when working with others.
Benefits you’ll experience from your brain-based coaching will include:
- Greater clarity for an improved sense of direction and focus.
- Increased self-awareness and responsibility.
- Improved ability to relate to and influence others.
- Increased confidence, motivation and conviction.
- Improved personal productivity and effectiveness.
- Increased resourcefulness and resilience.
All of which culminates in the achievement of goals, the embedding of new and positive behaviours, and a greater sense of purpose, satisfaction and fulfilment.
It’s no exaggeration to say that coaching can literally change people’s lives.
Is coaching right for me?
Coaching is a powerful experience. As I’ve said: it can literally change people’s lives. But no one needs or should have coaching. Rather, each of us has to decide for ourselves whether coaching is the right option at any given moment.
If, as you’ve been reading, you’ve begun to think of your own circumstances and started to glimpse opportunities for coaching, you might like to consider the following questions. They will help you begin to form initial goals for a potential coaching relationship.
And whilst they are not intended to identify specifics, they will encourage thoughts and ideas that you can take to an initial chemistry session with a prospective coach.
Please take a few moments to sit quietly with these questions and reflect on your thinking.
- What goals are you currently working on?
- What project would you love to spend time moving forward?
- What’s going really well for you right now that you’d like to build on?
- If you could change one thing about your situation, what would it be?
- What do you really want?
With all the new connections you’re making, what you need now is a thinking partner to help you further draw-out your insights and get you into action. For that, brain-based coaching is an option worth some thought.