One-on-One Mentorship | Ongoing Rolling Admissions
Applying Principles of
Neuroscience to Coaching
This 3-month, 20-hour 1-1 virtual coaching supervision teaches coaches how to apply principles and learnings from neuroscience into their coaching practice.
Dr. Justin James Kennedy (see Faculty page for bio)
This is a program designed to skills a coach in behavioral neuroscience principles, that can be used in conjunction with their regular coaching, learning, and personal development processes. This course will equip a coach with practical tools that will empower them to support their coaching practice in a manner that ensures their clients effectively can make permanent and significant mental, emotional, and behavioral shifts.
When people first become aware of neuroscience they usually only have a generic understanding. To start with, it is good to recognize that the human brain is, so far, the most complex biological structure ever known to man.
In this process, we take the coach through 20 hours of 1-1 learning to ensure they can apply neuroscience in a tangible way into their practice.
This will include the sub-disciplines:
Let us take a look at some fundamental principles in the course for behavioral neuroscience. The basis of the nervous system is a genetic construct of neural structures and pathways. We look at neuroanatomy and physiology and how these influence choice and behavior in the coaching processes. The nervous system controls and responds to bodily functions and controls behavior. We discuss the role of neurotransmission and hormones including:
Oxytocin – trust
Serotonin – wellbeing
Epinephrine – motivation
The brain generates the urge and the curiosity to explore and understand how coaching works.
Relationships are the basis of change.
The brain reacts in two basic directions:
By avoiding or confronting threats, and another is by seeking rewards.
Repetition, rhythm, and rewards help in the process of creating habits.
These are simple facts that can help you in understanding and in developing strategies in coaching for personal change. What does neuroscience have to do with coaching? Short answer: Quite a lot! A coach facilitates change for their client’s and neuroscience explains how the brain influences:
Thinking (beliefs and attitudes)
Emotions (more mindfulness and resilience)
Behavior (new healthy habits)
Mental skills needed to support lasting change
Health and wellness coaching, in particular, are emerging as powerful interventions to help people initiate and maintain sustainable change. We have academic research to support this claim as per the published research into Organizational Well-being Neuroscience and the OWN model. Based on Kandel’s paper, researchers at the Yale School of Medicine proposed seven principles of brain-based practical applications for health & wellness, business, and coaches.
Here is a summary of how neuroscience is applied to coaching and the seven principles of neuroscience every coach should know.
1. Both nature and nurture win.
Both genetics and the environment interact in the brain to shape our brains and influence behavior. Coaching can be thought of as a strategic and purposeful ‘environmental tool’ to facilitate change and may be an effective means of shaping neural pathways.
2. Experiences transform the brain.
The networks of our brain associated with emotions and memories such as the pre-frontal cortex, the amygdala, and the hippocampus are not hard-wired — they are ‘plastic’. The brain prunes and tunes its connections in response to the experiences it has.
3. Memories are imperfect.
Our memories are never a perfect account of what happened. Memories are re-written each time when we recall them depending on how, when, and where we retrieve the memory. For example, a question, photograph, or a particular scent can interact with a memory resulting in it being modified as it is recalled. With increasing life experience we weave narratives into their memories. Autobiographical memories that tell the story of our lives are always undergoing revision precisely because our sense of self is too. Consciously or not, we use imagination to reinvent our past, and with it, our present and future.
4. Emotion underlies memory formation.
Memories and emotions are interconnected neural processes. The amygdala, which plays a role in emotional arousal, mediates neurotransmitters essential for memory consolidation. Emotional arousal has the capacity to activate the amygdala, which in turn modulates the storage of memory. Our research suggests each of us constructs emotions from a diversity of sources: our physiological state, by our reactions to the ‘outside’ environment, experiences and learning, and our culture and upbringing.
Coaches will explore these Principles of Neuroscience for Coaches:
1. Relationships are the foundation for change. Relationships in childhood AND adulthood have the power to elicit positive change. Sometimes it takes the love, care, or attention of just one person to help another change for the better. The coaching relationship has the capacity to help clients modify neural systems and enhance emotional regulation.
2. Imagining and doing are pretty much the same thing to the brain. Mental imagery or visualization not only activates the same brain regions as the actual behavior but also can speed up the learning of a new skill. Envisioning a different life may as successfully invoke change as the actual experience.
3. We don’t always know what our brain is ‘thinking’.
Unconscious processes exert great influence on our thoughts, feelings, and actions (but I’m not willing to put a percentage on ‘how much is subconscious’). The brain can process nonverbal and unconscious information, and such information influences the coaching relationship. It’s possible to react to unconscious perceptions without consciously understanding the reaction.
This course will equip a coach with practical tools that empower them to support their coaching practice in a manner that ensures their clients effectively can their behavior most elegantly and be sustained.
20 hours of virtual synchronous 1-1 training and mentorship in sessions with Dr. Kennedy as arranged.