By Gretchen Hofing
“A broader focus allows individuals to see what really matters most to them and then to turn this into a vision that can motivate them going forward and provide them with a stronger sense of meaning in life. This in turn allows individuals to cope better with the stress of change and to sustain their personal development”.
This is the closing statement of a recent article, “The Neuroscience of Coaching”, in the Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research1.. Doesn’t that sound wonderful-to focus on what really matters and has purpose? But how often do we get caught up in the little things or bogged down by ‘what ifs’? What if you had someone to guide you through this change process or you were able to be that guide or coach for someone else?
Research shows that coaching with compassion or with a positive emotional attractor (PEA) engages areas of the brain involved with motivation, stress response modulation, and a feeling of social and emotional connection. Coaching for compliance or to the negative emotional attractor (NEA) tends to be problem-focused and emphasizes situations and feelings that have been imposed on a person, placing an individual in a defensive mode, and decreasing their motivation and likelihood of accepting and embracing change. Unfortunately, the use of the NEA in trying to achieve change is far too common.
Digging in a little deeper on the neuroscience of change, a sustained effort is needed to maintain change, and if the change is based on a need, an ‘ought’, or for the benefit of someone else, the change and any associated effort is likely going to dwindle over time. On the flip side, if the change is seen as a means to the desired end and fulfilling a vision, the motivation is greater and more sustained. Coaching to this personal vision and arousing the PEA, engages people in being more open to new ideas and possibilities. The PEA brings an individual to a place of safety where they can face rather than avoid difficult or troubling issues.
The Duke Integrative Medicine Integrative Health Coach Professional Training (IHCPT) program’s Health Coaching Process model includes an intentional exploration of the client’s vision and values emphasizing mindful awareness and partnership of the coach in supporting the client reaching their goal of optimal health and well-being. If you’d like to be a part of a positive momentum in people’s lives and health, check out the IHCPT which is currently registering for the Foundation course beginning in early 2019.
1. Boyatzis, Richard E. and Jack, Anthony I. “The Neuroscience of Coaching”. Consulting Psychology Journal Practice and Research, vol 70, no. 1, 2018, pp 11-27.
If you would like to learn more about the Duke Integrative Medicine Integrative Health Coach Professional Training program, visit the Duke Integrative Medicine website. Register for the In-Person course before December 28, 2018 or for the Distance course before January 25, 2019, to receive a 10% early registration discount.