Coaching influences the brain, not only changing how we think and feel, but also encouraging the brain to change itself physically. The new buzzword, neuroplasticity, refers to this flexible quality of the brain and its ability to develop new roads, so to speak, allowing us to more easily make different choices in life. The more we do something, the clearer the road becomes. So coaching, which makes you pay attention over a period of time, helps the client create new neural pathways in the brain with a focus on developing willpower, creating habits and reaching goals.
What Coaching Does to Your Brain – A Neuroscience Perspective
Coaching is self-directed change in your brain.
30 years ago most scientists thought the brain could not change once it reached the adulthood. Now they know it can change.
Neuroplasticity has been the buzzword in recent years. Neuroplasticity is brain’s nature to be able to change. And that’s what we do when we work with a coach – we change our brain in the way we desire. By changing our attention, we change how we think and how we feel, but we also anatomically change our brain on both microscopic and larger level – some areas get larger, some get smaller; new pathways, new connections are formed; different chemicals are released. Coaching changes who we are, changes our personality.
Neuroscience is the foundation of all good coaching models. Understanding the neuroscience allows us, coaches, not only to know which tools work best in which situations, but also why they work.
The Aygdala and the Emotions
Amygdala is part of our limbic system and is traditionally regarded as a detector of threat, either real or symbolic. One of its functions is the “fight or flight” response.
Amygdala can hijack you. It reacts within 80 milliseconds, while conscious perception takes 250 milliseconds. Here are some examples of usual amygdala triggers in social or business situations: