When choosing a coach, be sure to verify your coach’s credentials, interests and approach. Ask what knowledge informs their practice. Expert coaches should be well informed in the fields of neuroscience, NLP, somatics, emotional intelligence and positive psychology. Here are six examples of how great coaching is informed by science; explaining why coaching works:

  • Changing habits: neuroplasticity shows that brain can and does change throughout life, it can be “rewired”. Just talking about change is not enough, a great coach will help rewire your habits through practice, making change stick. Coaches facilitate fun experimentation and provide a safe practice for experimenting with new approaches.
  • Building relationships: coaches are expert at building relationships through presence, trust, integrity and ensuring the client feels heard. Not only does this help the client feel relaxed and safe, but there is also real scientific evidence of the benefits. This deep, resonant, compassionate connection increases connective neural fibres for better cognitive functioning and also decreases natural threat response, giving a sense of trust and safety.
  • Motivation: change begins with a desire for something different. This desire has to be stronger than the old behaviour pattern we want to leave behind. Coaches can help create compelling visions through visualisation and connecting to deep personal values. Good coaches also tease out the consequences of no change.
  • Being more attentive: close attention releases neurotransmitters necessary for neural growth and connections. A coach should model being fully present during coaching, and coaches encourage meditation and mindfulness to develop attentive skills.
  • Memory: The brain remembers multi-sensory experiences more readily. Expert coaches use body gestures, play, movement, role play, games, walking, nature, images and anchoring techniques to enhance their clients’ memory and brain functioning.
  • Sleep and rest: Both are essential for integrating learning and sweeping out clutter in brain. Coaching can include silence, restful moments and coaches may also check on sleep patterns, diet, exercise etc.

For more information look at the work of these authors: Amanda Blake, Alan Fogel, Richard Boyatzis, Ann Betz, Dan Siegel, David Rock, Robert Dilts, Daniel Goleman, Eric De Haan, Jonathan Passmore and others working with both coaching and neuroscience. 

For more information on the science of coaching and the coaching techniques mentioned above, contact Dr Alex Morgan at the Insight Centre: alex@insight-centre.com