Brain Based Coaching

The What, Why and How of Brain-based Coaching & Counseling

What is Brain-based coaching and counseling? How does it differ from the many other methods used? What makes it so beneficial? And why might you choose brain-based coaching/counseling over other personal development options?

I’m a doctor of cognitive and behavioral neuroscience, known for two things: helping people embrace their brain’s natural ability to change; and pioneering an  approach rooted in contemporary neuroscience. Throughout my website, we’ll take a closer look at brain-based coaching or counseling: to give you some insight into the what, why and how; describe what you might expect from a brain-based coaching conversation; and encourage you to think about your opportunities for brain-based coaching/counseling, and how you could benefit from it.

So let’s imagine right now: I am your prospective coach and you are my prospective coachee. You’re thinking about coaching as a possible option. And you want to know more. Let’s think a bit about what brain-based coaching really is.

What is coaching and counseling?

Let’s start by outlining what I mean when I  talk about “coaching” and “counseling”..

Both of these are a form of learning where a professional (me, the doctor) supports someone else, (you, the client) to generate new ways of thinking, behaving, emoting, perceiving and projecting.  My aim here is to create learning, self-development, self-awareness, self-belief and promote focused action in ways that benefit you, not for weeks or months, but permanently.

My cutting edge approach essentially transports someone from one place to another. In today’s context, it’s about generating shifts, moving forward and creating positive, and enduring change.  This is NOT done through once per week meetings, but through a trusting partnership we develop where I am available to you throughout your entire package; in real time, as things happen in  your life.

Traditional coaching or counseling is most often delivered as a conversation, or series of conversations, between doctor and client. So it’s basically just talking and thinking, endlessly, session after session.

But my conversations with you will differ greatly from regular day-to-day, antiquated methods still used today.  Our conversations and sessions will be special in its structure, carefully architected by me, to benefit you and your thinking, learning and action. 

As we embark on this journey together, our work will feel very different from other coaching or therapies you may have experienced.  See, that is my goal.  To not sound the same as anyone else and to offer my clients something not just different, but change based in hard science. 

What is brain-based coaching and counseling?

My approach is rooted in contemporary neuroscience: the scientific study of the brain and the rest of the nervous system. Using the latest insights into how the brain works, my brain-based coaching is a new approach which complements and amplifies the principles and practices of positive psychology. My aim is to create far more powerful, positive and transformational changes for my clients.

Much or all of the science will be invisible to you at first. But as your therapeutic partner, I will be using my deep knowledge of neuroscience at every step, developing a brain-friendly coaching and counseling environment that will: focus on the thinking; help you break out of autopilot; encourage new thinking and insight; leverage your brain’s preference for hardwiring; and embed new learning and behavior. 

This brain-based approach can thus be defined as: facilitating positive change by first improving and understanding your specific thinking patterns, known as cognition.  Simply put, I facilitate change by starving off old patterns that are no longer beneficial for you, and diligently creating new, much more advantageous ways of thinking, emoting and behaving.

What is my brain-based method … not?

Brain-based neural rewiring is not consulting, traditional therapy, ineffective coaching, mentoring or training. As your doctor, I won’t be instructing you to come up with the answers, but instead I will give you the answers, as I stretch and support your new growth mindset.  

During our time together, I bring with me my extensive toolkit comprised of over 23 years of practicing, my unparalleled academic training, a deep sensitivity and empathy, and a formidable desire to make certain we accomplish all we have set out, change or abolish, surpass every goal we set and ensure I am the last coach or counselor you will ever need to see.  Period. 

So brain-based coaching is “self-directed”: focused solely on your agenda; and on drawing out what’s already there. It will provide the structure and process to help you, draw on your best thinking and deepest insights. And it will create the environment for you to connect or re-connect with your best self.

How and why does brain-based coaching and counseling work?

Brain-based neural rewiring works by bringing to bear all the resources and resourcefulness of you, that, you are most likely unaware you possess.

In a focused and motivated effort to progress your goals, I do this by creating an environment conducive to new insight, creating the space to think deeply and differently about the topics that matter most to you; and in the way most appropriate for you and your brain.

Within our sessions, you will experience a focus and attention that enables you to develop greater self-awareness and a deeper appreciation of your circumstances: both challenge and opportunity. Together, we will create new ways to resolve issues, produce better results, release past traumas, work through any anxiety, depression, lack of self-confidence or self-worth and achieve your goals far quicker than any other program available today.

As a result of my brain-based coaching, you will break out of the deeply hardwired autopilot our brains favor and move into more conscious thought and deliberate action, embedding new and positive habits to achieve long-lasting change.

What makes brain-based coaching so different?

Latest neuroscientific research has uncovered a number of discoveries that expose many of the otherwise standard practices for self-improvement as largely ineffective.

These insights tell us that the key to helping others improve, achieve and succeed, is to help them think for themselves, understand their thinking patterns and have an overall understanding of ones own  brain and what it does or doesn’t respond to. 

MindLab’s brain-based approach is founded on this principle.

Here are 6 fascinating insights  about the brain that have helped shape my brain-based program as a game changing  approach to thinking, learning, developing and lasting change.

  • Insight #1: The brain is a connection machine.
  • Insight #2: No two brains are wired the same.
  • Insight #3: The brain sees the world according to its own wiring.
  • Insight #4: The brain hardwire’s everything it can.
  • Insight #5: It’s practically impossible to deconstruct our hardwiring.
  • Insight #6: It’s really easy to create new wiring.

Insight #1: The brain is a connection machine

The underlying function of the human brain is to find links, associations, connections and relationships between whole concepts, often stored in many different regions of the brain. It does this non-stop, at the rate of a million new connections every second.

These processes continually reshape our brains’ circuitry. Every thought, memory, skill and attribute we have is a vast, complex and ever-changing map of connections between higher-level cognitive centers, deeper-level hardwired skill centers and many other regions of the brain.

In the brain based coaching and counseling context …

Brain-based coaching and counseling supports client’s in their thinking, helping them to break themselves out of their own impasses and make new connections.

Insight #2: No two brains are wired the same

The brain is hugely complex. To choose just one brain stat: 300 trillion constantly changing connections.

These 300 trillion connections are continually reshaped by every thought, feeling and experience we’ve ever had throughout our entire lives. The result: near-unlimited ways the brain can encode experience, learning and information.

At a distance our brains may look similar, but up close: no two brains are wired the same.

In the brain based context …

Not only is it a waste of our energy to do the thinking for others; it’s also a significant obstacle to that person’s own thinking.

Brain-based coaching and counseling respects the substantial differences between people’s brains, focusing on helping clients think things through for themselves and make their own new connections.  Of course with assiduous guidance and direction from me.

Insight #3: The brain sees the world according to its own wiring

Any idea or experience gets broadly the same treatment from our brains: lightning-quick comparison with our existing mental maps to see where the connections are.

This process of perceiving the world through our hardwiring is there out of necessity: it enables us to cope with the sheer volume of information we face throughout the day.

But it can also come with consequences. Familiar and expected inputs are neatly processed, when the data doesn’t quite fit, we can sometimes go to extraordinary lengths to make a connection. Such thinking can have significant drawbacks.

In the coaching and counseling context …

My brain-based approach usually starts with a deep dive into a client’s current thinking patterns.  Once any distorted cognition is detected, I help each client make positive changes to their “faulty” thinking, ensuring that:

  • A client’s internal realities do not lag behind external reality;
  • A client’s maps are based only on up-to-date and relevant experience;
  • A client’s internal representations do not omit crucial information.

 

Perceiving the world through our own hardwired filters means we can significantly improve performance simply by shifting ours and others’ thinking. Brain-based coaching offers this benefit by helping people break free of their autopilot.

Insight #4: The brain hardwire’s everything it can

With so much information to process, and with such a limited working memory, the brain must take any repetitive or otherwise important thought or activity and “hard code” it into our more capacious subcortex (the part that holds long-term memories and processes).

Unsurprisingly then, lasting change takes effort and a whole new approach. Brain-based coaching provides that new approach.

In the coaching and counseling context …

Brain-based approaches leverage the brain’s preference for hardwiring by deepening connections around insights, embedding learning and establishing new habits.

This is all of great benefit to you, the client, since your brain’s hardwiring is far more dependable and more able to deliver results than the conscious brain.

Insight #5: It’s practically impossible to deconstruct our hardwiring

Hardwired connections are just too deeply embedded to be “unwired”. In addition, any attempt to understand the source of a habit just serves to deepen the very circuitry we’re trying to undo.

In the coaching and counseling context …

Neuroscience is telling us it’s better to leave hardwired connections where they are. So brain-based coaching transforms performance and results by maintaining a focus on solutions and creating whole new habits, backed-up by attention.

Insight #6: It’s really easy to create new wiring

Everything we think and do influences the connections and layout of our brain, continually fine-tuning its pathways. The upside of this is our extraordinary capacity for new connections.

In the coaching and counseling context …

The brain is an attention economy. Brain-based coaching helps hardwire new behaviors by giving them enough attention – and of the sort that gives the new maps increased depth and density.

My unique and cutting edge brain-based coaching and counseling focuses on moving my client’s from impasse, to insight, far quicker than other forms of self-improvement or antiquated therapeutic practices.

What distinguishes brain-based coaching and counseling?

Everything we think and do influences the connections and layout of our brain, continually fine-tuning its pathways. The upside of this is our extraordinary capacity for new connections.

In the coaching and counseling context …

The brain is an attention economy. Brain-based coaching helps hardwire new behaviors by giving them enough attention – and of the sort that gives the new maps increased depth and density.

My unique and cutting edge brain-based coaching and counseling focuses on moving my client’s from impasse, to insight, far quicker than other forms of self-improvement or antiquated therapeutic practices.

1. New Connections

When we make new connections, our insights are accompanied by a tangible release of energy in the brain that is motivating, and compels us to take action. I have curated a tangible brain-based program that is designed to watch for, and harnesses this energy.

2. Solutions focus

My goal has always been about solutions: connecting with the vision of where my client  wants to be and systematically working toward that end – focused all the time on solutions. Brain based coaching is not about searching for problems and delving into their causes: that simply deepens those circuits and finds more problems. I have found it far more useful to be solutions focused.

Focusing on solutions puts us in the future and immediately creates energy in our minds. We get more creative, find new inspiration, open up to new possibilities and create new choices.

3. Challenge and stretch

Our brains love challenges and to be stretched. Brain-based coaching and counseling delivers the degree of stretch appropriate to each client to get them (and their brains) operating at their best. That is: to generate new, much more advantageous wiring.

Although each program I design is unique to that specific client, with unwavering support, I challenge my client’s to develop their thinking along new lines, and to move out of their comfort zone to achieve different results. Stretch is about maximizing my client’s resourcefulness to the full.

4. Positive feedback

My mantra has always been that it is far more effective for me as a doctor to focus on the positive changes I see my client’s make and provide a good deal of reinforcement.  I choose not to harp or highlight errors and mistakes, but rather to recognize and reinforce my client’s when they are doing something well, and doing it consistently.   

Any new learning requires substantial brain activity before it is “hardwired”. To combat distorted thinking patterns and overly-harsh inner critics, my brain based approach uses encouragement and acknowledgement to help keep a client’s mind calm, clear and wholly focused on what they are trying to achieve: to reinforce new wiring.

5. Process and structure

Brain-based coaching and counseling is a structured approach to improving thinking, and produce lasting change.

To think along new lines and do things differently takes energy and uses limited resources in the brain. The familiar and brain-friendly structure of MindLAB’s framework minimizes distraction and concern; and allows me to focus on their thinking. A proven brain-based framework, I customize for each and every client.

What brings people to want to make changes in their life?

People come to see me to make positive changes, achieve goals and create better results that they know are rooted in hard science..

Some of my client’s come for a specific reason, such as unwanted pressure and compromise at work, keeping them from their longer-term aspirations. Some come to see me to solve marriage or relationship discordance and restore harmony in the home.  Some seek relief from past traumatic events that they still find haunting. Others seek my brain based approach to gain a deeper level of self-confidence and trust in their decision making capabilities.  Some don’t quite know what their issue is, but for the persistent and nagging feeling that something isn’t quite right. And others have no specific issues at all: they just recognize that what got them their current success won’t get them the success they want in the future, both personally and professionally.

So people come to see me for all sorts of reasons; but they are all united in their desire for positive and enduring change.

What are the benefits of brain-based coaching?

Brain-based coaching has wide application spanning from career and executive coaching, anxiety, trauma and depression relief, relationship issues, all the way to confidence and self-esteem building.  No matter what the issue or problem is, my focus will always be aligned with your agenda; and the objective will ALWAYS BE TRANSFORMATION.