Upon making the move to life and leadership coaching, my family and friends were VERY supportive and encouraging. My brother included. He let me know that he was excited for me in my new endeavor. My brother and I both like to fire away at each other with sarcasm, the way that only brothers can. His comment was, ‘That’s really great Matt. I am happy for you.” Then there was a long pause. Then he said “You know that there’s a fair amount of non-sense in that right?” Except, he didn’t use the word ‘non-sense’. Think more bovine. I laughed, reminded him that there’s a fair amount of ‘non-sense’ in what he does as well (operating his own business within the resort industry, and as an elected official in his town).
When I first began coaching there were occasional mentions of how the brain chemistry actually changes when coach and client are engaged. At first I thought ‘non-sense’. But then, as I was coached and began to coach others, I noticed in fact a connectedness between coach and client. The process left me thinking differently, and more focused. I found that it didn’t really matter if I was coaching or being coached, my mind operated more effectively (and therefore I operated more effectively) because of the coaching process.
Studies show that the neural circuitry in two people becomes attuned when a leader, counselor or coach shows empathy and genuine interest, so that there is interconnectedness within their brains (here’s a great article on the subject from Psychology Today). This interconnectedness actually causes new neural pathways to be created in our brain, changing the way we think, act and live.
Our brains work on the path of least resistance. Over time, thought and behavior patterns develop. These patterns, like ruts in the mud caused by the rain are the easiest way for our brain to function, even if it isn’t the most effective. The process of coaching causes the neural pathways to change. Over time, through the process of talking through acting on new ideas, coach and client create new, more powerful pathways for these neurons to work.
My mind is sharper now than it has been in a long time, largely because the process of coaching has created new, more powerful ways for my brain to work! Don’t believe me? Take coaching for a ‘test drive’ and see how it impacts you!