Coaching seems to be making its way into the mainstream. While at a recent social gathering, a woman asked my fiancé, “What does Paul do,” to which she replied, “He’s a coach.” The woman said, “Oh, like on that Scott Baio show?”
While it’s true, Scott Baio did have a recent VH1 reality TV show (Scott Baio is 45…and Single) and that one of the folks featured on it was his life coach, I hesitate to say my coaching is “like on that Scott Baio show.”
What exactly is a coach?
Just like in professional sports (and many other professions), a coach works with clients to help them improve their performance and achieve specific goals. Often, the coach helps his clients achieve more than they could or would have achieved on their own.
I do the same thing with business and corporate professionals (and a select few private clients).
What does a Coach Do?
My definition of coaching is relatively simple: I help clients move from Point A to Point B by facilitating positive change in their lives.
So what’s the difference between the reality TV coach and me?
First, I am a Results Certified Coach. My coaching is based on the Results Coaching Systems (RCS) model* that focuses on the latest findings in neuroscience and how the brain works. While the RCS model has its roots in many fields of study, its foundation is brain science. Six recent findings about the brain that are part of the RCS training and elemental to my coaching are:
1. Brains are networks of associations: everything we learn or experience creates a map or set of physical (neural) connections in the brain. With each experience comes another set of connections and associations. Whatever we focus on gets stronger. The brain loves to make these connections and is frustrated when it can’t. This is why you will wake up at three in the morning with the answer to something you couldn’t remember during the day. Your brain was hard at work looking for the association while you went about your day, and when it found the answer – bingo – energy!
2. No two brains are even remotely alike: though we like to think we think alike, the fact is our brains are all uniquely wired based on our experiences, our environment, our beliefs, etc. None of us thinks exactly alike. What makes perfect sense to me might not resonate quite as much with you. A simple example: what 25 things do you think of when you hear the word “red”? I’m sure your list is not the same as my list, or anyone else’s, for that matter.
3. What we learn becomes hardwiring: the brain wants to work as little as possible (think homeostasis) so it likes to “hardwire” repetitive tasks/experiences so we literally don’t have to think about them. Think back to the first time you drove a car. It probably required LOTS of concentration and energy. But the more you did it, the easier it became. The brain hardwired the skill in order to free up “working memory.”
4. Perception is driven by our wiring: we process things according to the maps we already have in our brains. Everything we perceive is compared to what we already know in order for the brain to make sense of it. When no map exists, the brain creates one. If a map already exists, the brain deepens/broadens/strengthens the connections.
5. It’s almost impossible to change wiring: the older we get, the more experiences we have, the richer our maps become. Because of this, it is very difficult, nearly impossible to change existing wiring. Each time we focus on something, the wiring becomes stronger. This is particularly confounding when it comes to problems. If we focus on a problem, we actually make it stronger!
6. It’s easy to create new wiring: while it is difficult to change existing wiring, it is easy to create new wiring; the brain loves to do this.
These six insights to the brain lead to five principles from the RCS model* that I apply in my coaching. Each principle grew out of the six insights and relates to and supports the other principles.
If you would like to learn more about whether working with a coach is for you, call 516.216.4233 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org for a complimentary coaching consultation.
*The ideas presented here are my understanding and interpretation of the intellectual property of Results Coaching Systems.