In this two-part series, we look at working with art in coaching. Part 1: One way to get clients unstuck is to break out of the straitjacket of words by using diagrams and pictures. Sarah Gornall and Jenny Bird report We’ve all had times when we get embroiled in coaching in the client’s morass of thoughts, resulting in us both being stuck together. Clients give us huge amounts of information about their worlds and their processing as we work with them. The information they offer may come predominantly through their words and word patterns (their idiolect) and this is certainly […]

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Leadership coaches Megan Evans and Lindsay Wittenberg, with neuroscientist Dr Geoff Bird, examine the neuroscience of gender in the latest in a series of workshops   Diversity challenges in our society and organisations, and the lack of equal opportunity, exist not because male and female brains are as different as we tend to think, but because of socialisation, suggested practising neuroscientist and coach Dr Geoff Bird. Among some of the confronting myth-busting concepts presented by Bird at a recent workshop was the concept that the relationship between societal factors (including cultural factors) and gender differences – nurture rather than nature […]

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More and more research is being done into the brain, and our understanding is moving forward at a rapid rate. This article examines the latest updates – some of them quite surprising, reports Amy Brann If you’re reading this article you probably know that neuroscience is the scientific study of the brain. You know that technology has rapidly advanced our ability to see what is going on in the brain as it is happening. But what does this really mean to coaches and their clients? Recently, my husband and I took our three-year-old on her thirteenth plane journey. As she […]

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Profile: Professor Paul Brown

The limbic leader

Neuroscience expert Professor Paul Brown speaks his mind, and it’s our minds he’s passionate about. He tells Liz Hall why the neurobiology of behaviour is the future of coaching

With Paul Brown’s penchant for challenging the status quo, it seems fitting that we meet in London’s Reform Club, birthplace of many of the ideas, ideals and political activity expressed in the UK’s Great Reform Act of 1832.

Members of the former gentlemen’s club have included Winston Churchill, E M Forster, Henry James and H G Wells. Admission is not based on background, but character, talent and achievement – and Professor Brown has all three in abundance.

If anyone can convince me it’s coaching, rather than any other profession, that should carry the baton of neuroscience in the occupational arena, it’s Brown. Not only is he eloquent, charming and irreverent, he has an enormous wealth of expertise and knowledge at his fingertips.

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High Anxiety

Neuroscience part 3: Showing anxious clients how to reframe their negative self-beliefs through reappraisal strategies can help them better control their emotional responses, says scientist and NLP practitioner Dr Trish Riddell I’m often asked to speak on the neuroscience of learning and memory, or of coaching. Despite studying the brain for about 30 years, I still don’t always believe that I’m qualified to talk on these subjects. A little bit of me worries that someone will ask a question for which I have no answer, that someone in the audience will know more than me and catch me out, or […]

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Spotlight on nlp

LETTER Your articles on neuroscience and NLP in the September/October issue (vol 7, issue 5) had my neural pathways lighting up and making connections! Drawing on NLP as a fundamental part of my coaching practice I found Trish Riddell’s article on research into aspects of NLP thought-provoking. First for its content, but second for making me curious as to why there is no systematic or comprehensive research into how and why NLP works. I’d be intrigued to know what other practitioners believe to be the reasons for this. Is it partly because there is just so much to it, in […]

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News: Neuroscience research paper roundup

The four key requirements for bringing about neuronal change in the brain are focused attention; repetition and practice; a good relationship between coach and client, and coaching processes that both parties believe in, according to research presented at the Henley Coaching conference. Kitty Chisholm was one of three graduates from Henley’s MSc in Coaching and Behavioural Change presenting their research on neuroscience. Her paper discussed the concept of neuroplasticity (how changing ideas, attitudes and behaviour involves ‘re-wiring’ neurons). She suggested that a science-based rationale enables some clients to come to it with more belief in its efficacy. Ann James examined […]

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News: C@W conference roundup. Approach or avoid?

‘Deeply social’ brains seek rewards in engagement. Our brains are organised to seek reward and minimise danger, and levels of engagement are linked to these functions, said Christopher Samsa. In his keynote address on neuroscience and positive psychology, Samsa, director of the NeuroLeadership Group (UK), outlined research on the threat (away or avoidance) and reward (towards or approach) systems. The latter is linked to higher engagement, a solution focus, higher creativity, increased cognitive resources and a ‘global view’, whereas the threat state is linked to uncertainty, a danger focus and tunnel vision, said Samsa. Samsa talked about how our brains […]

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Neuroscience part 2 : The eyes have it

Neuroscience part 2: Is there any evidence that NLP works? Scientist and NLP practitioner Trish Riddell believes there is As a scientist and practitioner of Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP), I often find myself balancing partially conflicting metaphors in my approach to NLP. I have seen for myself the power of some of the techniques for developing rapport and creating change, crucial skills in coaching, but the empirical evidence is often lacking. However, there is research which addresses issues that bear on NLP concepts. Rapport is one of them. In a two-part study by Molly Ireland and colleagues at the University of […]

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Power up

Tired? Weary? Retreat coaching is beginning to gain ground as a way of helping clients recharge and re-evaluate their health, values and beliefs. Retreat coach Dorothy Larios creates time and space for her clients on coaching retreats. The age-old practice of retreating and connecting with self and source is the most valuable gift one can give oneself or someone who is tired and weary, says certified retreat coach Dorothy Larios. Coaches are well placed to offer this. “There is much to experience in the practice of retreating safely. Modern-day coaches can become well-equipped to meet the needs of those who […]

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