Neuroscience and Coaching
In my work it's important to share context around the three areas I incorporate in my coaching practice, along with the neuroscience behind them. What I love about neuroscience is that we all share the same brain and our brains impact our emotions, conversations and intuition, they impact everything. Left to it's own device the brain has what I can "default settings" it's these settings that left unchallenged keep us unconscious and stuck in old patterns. I call them intelligences because we all have them, yet unlike IQ all three can be learned and mastered through coaching, consciousness, intention and daily practice.
When I discovered Judith Glaser’s work on Conversational Intelligence (CIQ) and how conversations trigger different parts of our brain and set off a neurochemical reaction in the body, light bulbs went off like fireworks in my heart. Conversations are the way in which we communicate and connect. Words have weight, they are powerful and can have a lasting impact on individuals, organizations and relationships. Finally, someone decoded the brain’s role in human conversations - how they inhibit or empower us, and how profoundly they affect all of our relationships.
Conversational Intelligence is not only learnable it’s necessary and vital to the health of any relationship, leader and organization. As an executive coach, Judith’s work is geared toward leadership and group dynamics, yet as with all coaching the shifts we make positively affect all areas of our lives. Upping our CIQ changes everything.
Communication has always been my thing yet this new awareness of the neuroscience behind it was the final piece of a puzzle I needed. It is truly inspired and vital to the new paradigm of heart-centered business leadership or what I call the new paradigm of the heartmind.
As an intuition who believes energy is everything I was fascinated to learn that prior to any conversation our brains will literally energetically scan the other person to determine whether they are friend or foe, what they are feeling and more, setting the stage for the type of interaction that will take place. Are we safe, do we energetically trust enough to authentically connect or do we feel threatened and uncertain and hold back? Mind you all of this is happening unconsciously and continuously every moment before we speak a single word.
If we don’t feel safe we protect, we edit and we play it safe and our executive decision making part of the brain which also regulates emotions, the prefrontal cortex (the newest part of the human brain) will shut down and we shift to the prehistoric limbic brain in the back of the skull which is about protection, survival and fight or flight. This is when we become defensive, don’t hear what others say and unconsciously disconnect. It prevents authentic communication while creating frustration and confusion. We’re not on the same page or even in the same reality it seems. I’m sure so many of us can relate to this. How many times have you thought “did they hear a word I was saying?” The answer is no plain and simple. Their brain shut down. It’s amazing how the power of one word can send us into a tailspin.
The beauty of CIQ is that it illustrates the benefits of positive conversations and how the happy hormones oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin are released and conversely how toxic stressful conversation really are on our bodies. You know that feeling of knots in the stomach, a racing heart, sweating, etc.
All of us humans are hard wired for connection we thrive when we feel seen and heard, valued and appreciated for our contributions, our ideas and even simply for our essence. Not only in the workplace, in all of our relationships. It gives us purpose and meaning in our lives. When we lack CIQ we experience reality gaps. Does this person even live in the same reality as I do? How many times have you thought that?
Judith masterfully breaks it down into three levels of conversation, level I, II and III. She further explains that most people rarely have level III conversations yet that is where the magic happens. That’s where we are seen and heard, on the same page, seeing the same reality and literally co-creating. It’s where inspiration and innovation happens. I was also surprised to learn that positive level III conversations not only have the power to change our DNA they positively affect our brains and our bodies. We thrive, we feel more joy, we’re more creative, productive and we are happier, healthier humans. With level I we protect, in level III we partner.
Level I – Tell/Ask (Exchange Information)
Level II – Advocate/Inquire (Exchange Power)
Level III – Share/Discover (Exchange Energy)
When we co-create we not only share and exchange energy, we move from an “I” model to a “We” model. The old-school ways of power-over in leadership are no longer working. How far do you get when you tell, sell and yell? We need leaders who have a high CIQ to shift out-molded dynamics to invite and inspire innovation, collaboration, cohesion and creativity.
How do we do this? One simple word, trust. When we trust, we stay open to possibilities, we connect and we co-create. We need to refocus on the actions that gain and build trust in organization and all of our relationships.
T – Transparency (language of the reptilian brain)
R – Relationships (language of the heartmind)
U – Understanding (language of the limbic brain)
S – Shared Success (language of the neocortex)
T – Testing Assumptions and Truth Telling (language of the prefrontal cortex)
When humans are in sync and connected, they are literally reading each other’s minds and hearts.
Throughout my life, I’ve often wished I had an OFF button when my mind is racing on the hamster wheel of thoughts. Who are these voices in my mind and why can’t I turn them off? I’ve since learned the brain, left to its own devices is doing exactly what the “wandering” mind does. It wants to be anywhere but the present moment. It lives in the past and the future and loves to stay busy. I now call this brains default setting.
As an intuitive with very active mind, in order to strengthen my intuition, I had to learn how to turn down the noise in my head and listen to the intuition of my heart. Now I can do it intentionally. What I didn’t realize is how powerful the connection to heart is not only to intuition, that the heart is our power/control center. Think about this, humans can stay alive being brain dead but when the heart goes that’s it. It’s over. Even before all of my research, this fact alone intuitively told me that the heart is way more powerful than the brain.
Scientist have now discovered the heart has a sophisticated set of neurons organized into a small yet powerful nervous system which contains approximately 40,000 neurons, called sensory neurites, that connect and communicate with the brain and that it is a thousand times more powerful than the brain in influencing and sending signals and information to the rest of the body that regulate many functions, including thought and perception in the brain.
The heart does this using hormones, the nervous system, and a giant electromagnetic field it emits. The heart field envelopes the entire body and extends fifteen feet or more out into the surrounding environment. The electromagnetic field that envelopes the body has also been proven to influence the behavior of DNA in our cells. Think about how you feel when you fall in love. Life is vibrant, you’re glowing, feel and appear younger and healthier. You can stay up all night and need little sleep. It’s transcendent.
It has also been proven that our emotional state impacts the heart which in turn influences the information sent by the heart to the brain. When we are in alignment with the essence of who we are, are calm and peaceful this is when the magic happens. Heartmath calls this Heart Coherence. When this happens, the brain receives signals that promote the ability to focus, solve problems, perform physical and mental tasks that enhance creativity, intuition, and even spiritual awareness. Coherence signals to our brains to allow others in so we can have a transformative experience when we are in sync, bonding and sharing. We feel that transcendent connection and love.
The intelligence of the Heart is something that has been intuitively sensed both spiritually and philosophically throughout history. It is believed to be the seat of the soul where we receive and have access to inner guidance and a spiritual connection. What is it that we are connected to? We all "know" what it is by direct experience. We humans are hard wired for that connect with source or infinite intelligence and increased consciousness.
I and my clients have all experienced this powerful connection. You can too. It’s time to remember the powerful creator you really, get out of your head and lead from your heartmind.
Throughout blah blh
Intuition is the highest form of intelligence. It is a bridge to the unconscious mind and realms beyond which we can see or even understand. It is non-linear and transcends the material while connecting us with higher energetic frequencies. It is our internal GPS.
Intuitive leaders understand, impact and influence the creative and transformative nature of their organizations by making visible the invisible transcending paradox. They have the ability to think holistically, perceive multidimensionally and work within the energetic field of the organization. Leaders with high emotional intelligence are thinking, feeling and perceiving at all times.
The brain has two hemispheres, the left and the right. The left-brain is quantitative and analytical. It controls reasoning, logic, language, science, math and number skills. It is also aware of time and space. Because of our societal programming, not only have we lost much of our holistic brain capacity over the years as most human's are predominately left-brained.
The right-brain has no sense of time nor space. It is fully rooted in the present experience of sensing and feeling the current experience. The right-brain is responsible for our intuitive, creativity, imagination, insight, music and holistic thought. Right-brained persons are creative free thinkers.
It is believes there is functional connectivity and coordination between all of our brain hemispheres and that when the left- brain is activated it also activates the same region in the right-brain. Regardless of how your brain is wired getting in touch with your right brain allows you to connect with your intuition - to see through a different lens and create a different perspective.