I already thought that coaching was cool, interesting and extremely helpful to people. But now I’ve learned that the process of coaching is informed by neuroscience research! The science geek in me just can’t believe it. But, hey, read some of David Rock’s work and you’ll see how it fits together.
Well, it might take more than one reading to wrap your mind around the research that has been done on the human brain and how it relates to people’s behavior and how they handle new ideas and insights. (one article took me 3 tries to really get it!)
I’ll give you a short version of the story as I understand it…
1. It’s easier for people to do the same things over and over again (i.e. buy the same milk each week at the store). Picking up your regular brand each week takes almost no brain power. Inertia anyone?
2. Changes in life and behavior are hard for humans to accept. Thinking about making any change includes a lot of extra brain power and some discomfort.
3. Outside forces to change behavior through punishment or reward can have some effect, but do not usually create a long term sustained change in behavior.
4. On the other hand, the process of coaching, which seeks to facilitate awareness, can lead to an “aha” moment for the client. Imaging techniques have shown that these moments of insight have a big effect in the brain. If the coach and client pay attention to these new ideas and reinforce them through conversation, the client is much more likely to act on them, and ultimate create new pathways in their brain!!!!
5. This gives the client the brain power and wiring to make a change, which could eventually lead them back to step 1 where life is easy-peasy.
The thing that I find amazing is that science has found a way to pretty much prove something we’ve known all along. People are much more likely to do something, anything really, if it’s their own idea. And the process of coaching seeks to help people come up with their own ideas and resolutions.
Like I said, cool!