If you’re like me, at least a little bit, you want to know why stuff works. I’ve a long history of pulling things apart to see what makes them tick. It’s just something I need to do. I can appreciate magic but I can’t help thinking of an explanation for the effect. Perhaps you do too.
That’s why I was initially a bit sceptical about coaching. I know there are lots of great true-to-life examples of coaching success, especially from the sports world. Which great Olympian doesn’t have a coach? And team sports just wouldn’t be the same or, perhaps exist, without the Coach alongside the players. So why the hesitation?
I just had to have a framework, some foundation, to understand why a coach isn’t simply an expensive nag. Well I found it when I started to explore the neuroscience-based approach taken by David Rock. He’s built on relatively recent discoveries about how our brains actually work to construct a coaching model and process that takes advantage of our innate behaviour to instill new thoughts and habits without undue pain and stress.
He’s not alone in this approach of course. Dr. John Medina, on the basis of his neuro-biological work, has also written a brilliant “expose” explaining how we can exploit our brains to enhance our productivity. In his book, Brain Rules, he sets out twelve basic rules to follow to think and act better – and describes the brain activity that supports each.
Back to David Rock. Over time he evolved his coaching experience and interest in neuroscience into coherent coaching methods. Results Coaching Systems is the organization he created to spread these methods. To date, more than 6000 folks worldwide have participated in his coaching development programs. I’m one of them.
So what’s the big deal you ask? For me, it’s having the understanding of how what we’re doing in a coaching engagement is actually leveraging our brains. With this approach we can achieve new goals and behaviour faster than by simply exploring options in less structured way. We can get better results faster by being aware of, and avoiding, the distractions and roadblocks that our brains love to put in the way of doing something new.
It’s amazing how limited our capacity to think actually is. To a great degree we pass through our days on autopilot; doing things without a great deal of conscious thought. There’s a good reason for this – it’s called survival. Imagine if we had to consciously think of each choice that we face every morning. We’d never get out the door! The habits and automatic responses that we develop over time are energy-saving tactics. Thinking is hard work, consumes energy and we’ll simply avoid doing it if possible.
Coaching with the brain in mind can overcome these aspects of our behaviour that conspire to hold us back from new ideas and action. I’m not saying that remarkable things don’t happen in the absence of this understanding. But doesn’t it make sense that if you know how something works it’s likely you’ll use it better?
I think so…which is why I’m such an advocate for brain-based coaching. II you’re interested in how this can work for you please contact me anytime to chat about how it can benefit you, someone you know or teams you work with.