June 22, 2018

As neuroscience continues to glean insight into the workings of our brain, its use becomes increasingly prevalent in an array of applications toward furthering human performance.

A key principle at Contrast is our ‘zero base’ approach. Getting to zero-based thinking we use the premise of ‘getting to nothing’, where real creation happens. By aiming to continually find ways of uncovering what is beneath certain results and behaviours, we expand our client’s horizons and generate new opportunities for unlocking potential. This blog is the essence of this approach, as I begin to describe how basic neuroscience understanding is beneficial in the realm of business coaching.

Gaining knowledge of the neurological processes that give rise to our thoughts and behaviours sets a clear path to increasing self-awareness and granting deeper personal reflection. Coaching with neuroscience improves the ability to build better perceptions and increases openness to new ways of thinking. With this mindset, I set a basis for understanding how neuroscience applies to coaching and how it helps when achieving transformational growth.

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Application of neuroscience to coaching is becoming increasingly effective, given that it explains the most basic building blocks of thought and behaviour. With its use, clients are able to connect science principles to taking the necessary actions that will induce neurological change. For instance, recent research has demonstrated that the brain is plastic and that neural connections can change either positively or negatively over time. The only way this occurs is by shifting certain behaviours with focused effort and practice over extended periods of time. As a client is coached to understand this concept, they gain a better grasp of both the importance of taking effective charge, as well as the implications of doing nothing at all.

In focusing on taking the necessary actions that will lead to improvement, having a neuroscience backing will further enrich the learning experience. Uncovering the basic drivers behind our thoughts helps us to better explain problems and is useful in coaching for these reasons:

 

  • Emotion can impair the ability to realize limitations due to self-serving biases that maintain self-esteem and reinforce the idea that change is not possible
  • Failing to recognize how emotion comes to limit new perceptions results in a vicious cycle of self-denial and inability to recognize the truth
  • Fact-based detail is the starting point of a transformational roadmap as it clearly illustrates what must be addressed
  • Helps identify a personalized blueprint that will propel growth and transformation

Understanding the science behind our thoughts helps us to become more aware, and grants deeper reflection into explaining our actions. Gaining this ability is especially useful when working on developing a client’s ability to be coached.

Those seeking coaching do so to improve their work performance, become more effective, and generate greater outlook. Through effective coaching methods, past-based decisions are collapsed and limiting beliefs of what a client perceives as possible in a situation are removed. This, in turn, frees people up to change how they look at situations and events, thus creating new foundations for success.

Coaching techniques begin with uncovering a client’s self-inflicted barriers that have arose over time, followed by an understanding of how these come to inhibit further growth. However, despite these efforts, existing limitations also exist as roadblocks to the process given that biases are typically difficult to overcome right away. Thus, an individual who is deeply self-aware and has acquired the ability to remove such biases will vastly increase their openness to resolutions and taking the required steps for change to occur. In addition to teaching basic neuroscience, providing the client with the right mental toolbox further develops the necessary two-part relationship along with an effective ability to self-improve.

With the global neuroscience market estimated to reach 30.8 billion dollars by 2020 (Grand View), neuroscience research continues to investigate and remarkably describe the workings of our brains. From this, we gather many exciting insights into how we operate as humans and increasingly move to solve more complex problems. When applied to coaching, we focus on developing approaches that optimize performance with a detailed understanding of the mechanisms giving rise to thoughts and actions. From there, we improve the process of removing barriers and effectively find new opportunities for growth. At Contrast, this means actively look for ways to involve the latest research as we strive toward creating transformational results for our clients.

Anthony Marcovecchio

Anthony Marcovecchio

Strategy Intern

Student at Wilfrid Laurier University

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