Written by Mark Teahan Director of Education Programs
Giving Your Brain What It Needs
It has been said that real change has to connect with the heart for it to occur or endure. That sounds really nice, but it’s not the whole picture. The truth is, change starts just as much in the brain than anywhere else in the body. Referencing the heart addresses our need for a warm feel-good requirement in our coaching sessions but the truth is, there is a lot of science behind the change. And it mostly comes from the brain.
Stages of Change
When we think about Prochaska’s Transtheoretical Model, we are reminded that two of the stages directly refer to our thoughts: contemplation and precontemplation. These two descriptors – have direct connections to cognition and are connected to the brain. The same is true for the preparation stage. This is no different than when we say that an athlete is “mentally prepared“ for a competition. But precontemplation and contemplation, two vital steps in wellness coaching and transformational outcomes, require the client to actually “think“ about what they want to accomplish and where they are currently. It has to emanate from the brain.
Still, there is more. We know that there is a reciprocal relationship between the brain and health. In other words, living healthy will result in a healthy brain. A healthy brain in turn, supports positive health outcomes. We can add to this and say that an unhealthy lifestyle leads to an unhealthy brain, and an unhealthy brain often results clients looking for changes to their physical, emotional or psychological well-being. Again, the terms “mental” and “psychological“ have direct connections to the brain.
Having core coaching skills is essential, but coaches who want to elevate their abilities and experience levels require an enlightened understanding of how clients think and feel. This goes beyond the need for good dialogue skills and co-active strategies. The coach has to understand the client’s thinking processes and their current state of healthiness.
Science, Neuroimaging, and Their Application in the Context of Health and Wellness
Over time, numerous studies have sought to verify the positive effects of a simple exercise routine, yoga. Using brain imaging and MRI technology, neuroscientists have seen changes in both the white and gray matter in the brain resulting from performing an active yoga regimen for an 8-12 week duration of time. We also know that exercise releases neurotransmitters like endorphins and dopamine.
These factors all tie back directly to the brain. But the body never makes understanding its processes that simple. You see, neurotransmitters are actually made in the gut. They are used in the brain, but they are not manufactured in the brain. Therefore, if one’s gut health is not optimized, neurotransmitter production is compromised. This all also has implications for neurogenesis, the ability to generate new brain cells and prevent the loss of existing neurotransmitters. The quest for a healthy, optimally functioning brain is then related to nutrition and gut health.
How Can Coaches be the Most Effective?
Like any coaching relationship, the coach begins by taking the right steps in the early stages of coaching. This means that we get to know our client, and we do a complete assessment of them. We have to learn not only what is important to our client and what they see as their outcome goals, but how we’re going to harness the power of their brain to support all of your great coaching strategies.
For a trainer or coach who works with clients in a physical space, we know that exercise can not only mitigate stress, but it also supports favorable biometrics that are necessary for favorable brain health. In this scenario, neurons synapse freely, neurotransmitters are balanced, and the brain is well-hydrated and nourished.
When you think about it, the brain is one way to tie all aspects of coaching and health or wellness together. A healthy brain requires a healthy body, a healthy body requires solid nutrition and healthy lifestyle habits. But all of these depend on one another for successful outcomes.
Brain Fitness Coaching
It is time for all coaches to listen to the call of the brains in our head. Science is showing us that doing this earlier in the lifespan has shown positive health outcomes immediately, instead of waiting for the onset of illness or disease. For example, we can reduce the risk of cognition-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia with prudent, responsible attention given to our brain’s needs. If we are able to maintain optimal brain health, promote neurogenesis, and keep neurotransmitter supplies in balanced supply, we ensure better client results and a connection to the scientifically proven benefits of a healthy brain.
Brain Fitness Coach Certification: Become a leading authority on brain optimization through proper training, sleep, nutrition, neuro-conditioning and flow state. You know how important things like mindset, focus, clarity, determination, distraction control and flow are to success: mental, physical or financial. A well-functioning brain creates more opportunity for success in each aspect of life.
When you become a Certified Sleep Science Coach, you will learn how to help your clients dramatically enhance their metabolism, memory, creativity, immune function, hormone balance, hunger management, disease prevention, sports performance, accident avoidance, memory, reaction time, good judgement, surgery recovery, happiness and over 100 additional functions and behaviors.
Our programs are open to anyone with a desire to learn and help others. There are no prerequisites.
That’s it for now.