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The New Certified Neuroplasticity Coach(tm) Is Open for Registration

Posted by Julia Stewart

Certified Neuroplasticity Coach

There's a brand new coach training program that will teach you to use the power of the brain to help your clients create whatever they want.

You can save when you register for the Certified Neuroplasticity Coach Program now.

What is the Certified Neuroplasticity Coach Program?

  • "Positive neuroplasticity" has much in common with positive psychology. In fact, it helps explain why positive psychology is so effective! The Certified Neuroplasticity Coach program is a sub-specialty of the Certified Positive Psychology Coach® Program and includes 100 live distance-learning training hours.
  • This program will teach you what goes on in the brain, as well as the body's other information processing systems, during coaching and beyond. You'll learn how to help your clients move into more resourceful brain states and how to help your clients "hard-wire" desirable changes for themselves.
  • Neuroscience coaching is in demand for a variety of coaching specialties and niches, such as executive and leadership coaching, business coaching, life and wellness coaching, to name a few. Coach your clients to flourish, to make positivity their default, to enjoy more success, develop positive habits and let go of less desirable ones, to reach peak performance, coach positive brain states to enduring traits, and even how to maintain brain health and sharpness well into old age.
  • Plus, you'll develop transformative tools, so you can enjoy "self-directed neuroplasticity", yourself!
  • Depending on your previous training and credentials, you may be able to waive some courses and take electives that you choose, in their place.
  • Most coaches will complete this program in about a year with a minimum of 4 hours work per week. We give you up to two years to finish.

Here are the courses that are included:

If you want, just try one course. It's less expensive to take the whole program, though. If you decide to join the entire program within 30 days of completion of you course, you can apply 100% of the cost of the course to the program tuition. 

 

If you're interested in this program, let's talk. Please book an appointment here.

 

Or call +1-877-224-2780

 

Or visit the Certified Neuroplasticity Coach Program and download a fact sheet, below:

 

Download Certified Neuroplasticity Coach Fact Sheet

Topics: Neuroplasticity, coaching with neuroscience, Certified Neuroplasiticty Coach, coach training

Neuroplasticity Coach: How Brain States Become Enduring Traits

Posted by Julia Stewart

neuroplasticity coaching

Lately I've been reading the excellent book, Altered Traits, by Daniel Goleman and Richard J. Davidson, two giants in the fields of emotional intelligence and  neuroplasticity.

If you're a neuroscience geek, like me, you may enjoy reading all about the research, but if you're just curious, here's the lowdown, plus the connection with coaching.

They wanted to set the record straight about research into neuroplasticity, meditation, mindfulness, and how states developed via positive practices can, over time, become enduring traits.They're concerned about the hype that surrounds these popular topics, especially mindfulness, because it's so trendy right now, and they share what science really knows about tools that change the brain instantly, and over time, sustainably, leading to greater happiness, equanimity, resourcefulness, and transformation.

States are temporary changes in the brain that impact how we think, feel, and act. They are an important driver of human experiences, relationships, well-being, and success.

Brain states can be measured in a variety of ways, such as fMRI imaging of blood flow to various parts of the brain, EEG measurements of brainwave patterns, or measurement of neurotransmitters present in the brain; to name three. They also can be measured indirectly via observance of behaviors or via self-reports by subjects, but this is more the realm of psychology, specifically positive psychology.

States are fleeting. We may not always notice when our brains change states, but trained observers, such as coaches, often can witness these changes. States can be positive or negative, which are generally categorized by how pleasant or unpleasant they feel, how likely they are to promote behavior that results in desired outcomes, and how they may promote wellness or pathology.

Many so-called positive states are pleasant, promote desired behavioral outcomes, and can result in greater health.

Skilled coaches help alter their clients' states in virtually every coaching session. Our main objective is to move the client from a less resourceful to more resourceful state and take advantage of that greater resourcefulness to plan strategies and actions that can promote desired change.

It's pretty profound that coaches can alter their client's brain states, but truth is, we all alter the brain states of others' without even knowing it, often with undesirable consequences. Coaching amounts to communication that leads to positive, or desirable, outcomes for the person being coached, because they are, temporarily at least, more open, more solution oriented, more optimistic, more creative, and more resourceful.

How are traits different from states?

Traits develop over time when someone repeats the same thoughts, emotions, memories, habits, and behaviors. The brain actually changes physically as a result, because the neurons involved strengthen their connections every time the thought is repeated.

As the famous saying goes, by neuropsychologist, Donald Hebb, "Neurons that fire together, wire together."

For example, if you live a stressful life, and especially if you worry and ruminate about what stresses you, the neurons in your amygdala, called "the brain's alarm bell" by neuropsychologist, Rick Hanson, will strengthen their bonds and over time, will cause that structure to enlarge. The downstream results could include more stress, more worry and rumination, and perhaps behaviors that make things worse rather than better.

Neuroplasticity can go the other way, too. Positive practices, such as mediation, mindfulness, appreciation, shared warmth, and many others, seem to have a cascading effect on the brain and resulting behaviors, over time. Theoretically, coaching and being coached, as well as following through on many coaching exercises, such as journaling, practicing gratitude or mindfulness, or even following through on resourceful actions and developing new positive habits, can make enduring changes. The new becomes the default.

So there you have the connection between states, traits, and neuroplasticity coaching.

If you'd like to learn much more about these topics, consider taking the Intro to Coaching with Neuroscience course that is coming soon, or even join the new Certified Neuroplasticity Coach Program. 

Check it out here and download the Fact Sheet:

Download Certified Neuroplasticity Coach Fact Sheet

 

Topics: Neuroplasticity, coaching with neuroscience, positive psychology coach training, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, mindfulness, gratitude, become a positive psychology coach

Coach-Assisted Neuroplasticity: How Mindfulness Changes Your Brain for Good

Posted by Julia Stewart

the_mind

Mindfulness is a popular buzzword in the fields of coaching, psychotherapy, neuroscience and psychology, because Westerners have discovered ample evidence of what Eastern contemplatives have known for millenia: that practicing simple brain activities, known collectively as mindfulness, reaps tremendous mental, physical, social, and spiritual rewards. 

Being told that mindfulness works and knowing how it works, however, can mean the difference between practicing mindfulness daily (and receiving the benefits) vs. forgetting about it all together. 

So here's how mindfulness works.

Mindfulness, itself, is one of a larger collection of brain-training modalities that comprise what neuroscientists now call, self-directed neuroplasticity. These are thought-based exercises that literally utilize the mind to change your brain for good. They don't just change the content of your thoughts; they literally change the size and functioning of specialized areas of your brain. Something that, up until about twenty or so years ago was believed to be impossible.

The ramifications of these discoveries and new approaches are extraordinary. People don't just feel better when they practice mindfulness; their relationships, health, even longevity improve.

Your coaching clients can change their own brains for good - meaning better focus, less stress, less negativity, more optimism, even more happiness and wisdom - but they will likely need your assistance in learning to do so.

That's where coach-assisted neuroplasticity comes in.

This article can get you started with coach-assisted neuroplasticity, but I want you to know, there's much more to be learned about it. Check the bottom of this blog post for where to learn more.

The brain, though highly plastic, never-the-less has quite a few areas that are specialized. Some are devoted to the senses; such as hearing, sight and touch; some for reacting swiftly, such as the fight-flight-or-freeze function of the primitive brain stem, some for emotion and some for thinking. These specialized areas can be coopted by other specialty areas when something isn't working right.

For instance, if I lost my eyes, my occipital lobe, specialized for sight, would stop receiving visual input. Neurons from adjoining areas, for instance areas in my brain specialized for hearing or touch, might then move into the unused occipital lobe, the result of which could improve my ability to notice sounds (improved hearing) or to feel more acutely (ability to learn brail).

To understand the neuroplasticity of mindfulness, it's important to know about a few more specialized areas of the brain.

One such area is the prefrontal cortex (PFC), a part of the brain located right behind your forehead that's specialized in "executive function", which includes reasoning as well as modulating and integrating reactions and emotions that are registered in other areas of the brain. The PFC is the most modern, and in some ways, most human and most mature of brain areas. It is either absent or less developed in our mammalian and primate relatives and doesn't become "mature" in humans until around age 30. (This explains a lot about teenagers and twenty-somethings!)

The PFC has an interesting left/right duality of function. The left PFC tends to to reason calmly and is more "positive" than the right. The right PFC tends to get involved in negative evaluations, worry, stress, and even depression. 

Both PFC sides are connected to an older part of the brain, the amygdala, which is sometimes called the brain's alarm bell. The amygdala registers negative input. The more negative input it gets, the larger and more dominant it grows and the more negative thoughts you'll have, as a result. If the amygdala were a car, then thinking with the right PFC, the worry side, would be like stepping on the gas pedal. Thinking with the left is like putting on the brakes.

This is important for understanding the benefits of mindfulness.

Interestingly, the amygdala is right next door to the hippocampus, which is responsible for learning and putting things in context. When the amygdala is working overtime, resulting in more negativity and growth, the hippocampus tends to shrink, resulting in a reduced ability to learn from mistakes or put things in context. So you have more negativity and stress, less learning and understanding of context. The fight-flight-or-freeze response could get stuck in the "on" position.

Whatever thoughts you habitually focus upon become "hardwired" into your brain, so the more you think with your right PFC, the more negatively you see the world, which then results in more stress, pain, anxiety and possibly depression. Not a pretty picture and all too common. So how can you change this negativity bias that we're all vulnerable to?

Mindfulness can help.

Let's say your client is a struggling small business owner who has laid off a team of ten, because his business isn't earning enough to pay their salaries. Some of them were  your client' friends and colleagues for years, making this was a highly emotional decision.

Now your client is faced with running a struggling business without help. He's overwhelmed and feels guilty, frustrated, even angry; and seems stuck in the fight-flight-or-freeze response. He can't keep up with the business and his home life is a mess. He's hired you to help him turn around the business, but you've observed that he also needs to turn himself around.

What are the options?

Although your client may view his business as a pressing emergency, the business will go under without him and his negativity may be pulling it down faster than he realizes (according to research by Marciel Losada and Barbara Fredrickson, negativity is associated with failure, while positivity is associated with flourishing, both professionally and personally). He could use less right PFC activation and more left PFC activation.

But your client may not take kindly to reciting positive affirmations or keeping a gratitude journal, two tools that coaches sometimes use to activate more positivity. In fact, people who are stuck in negativity tend to see those tools as silly and annoying. So start with something less obviously positive, such as mindfulness.

There are some tools out there, that are lumped in with mindfulness, that are expressly positive, but at its purest, mindfulness is about experiencing or noticing life without evaluating it. And since the fight-flight-or-freeze response is activated, to some extent, anytime we evaluate something negatively, just interrupting that habit on a frequent basis can begin to change negative wiring.

You do not have to sit in meditation to practice mindfulness.

In fact, it takes no extra time, at all, so even clients who are chronically rushed can do it.

Before you proceed, ask your client if negativity and distress have long been common for him, or whether his current state is specifically related to his situation. If it's the former, he may need more help than you can offer, as a coach. Don't hesitate to recommend a therapist, if he seems to need one. For the sake of this example, though, let's say he's generally optimistic, but the struggle of managing his failing business has gotten him stuck in some bad habits.

Explain to him the impact of his thoughts and feelings upon his brain and how his new faulty wiring may be confounding his attempts at success. Then explain that a mindfulness tool could help him rewire for success and ask if he'd be open to trying it. There's a good chance he'll say, "Yes".

Here's a simple mindfulness exercise that can make a dramatic difference.

Simply turn off the usual chatter that most of our minds engage in throughout the day, such as mentally criticizing others, ruminating about perceived slights, or worrying about what could go wrong. A lot of it is negative. Instead, notice surroundings without evaluating them.

The brain is designed to think, so turning it off isn't as easy as it sounds. That's okay. The point of this exercise is to notice one's thinking and refocus again on non-thinking, non-evaluating. Refocusing is like a muscle that strengthens as it's exercised, so the more you catch your brain thinking, the more you get to exercise your ability to refocus. 

The second point of this exercise is that any additional amount of time that the brain isn't thinking negatively is time when the connection between the right PFC and amygdala is weakened.

Over time, the negativity habit is reduced.

It's not necessary to eliminate it altogether, just reduce. 100% positivity carries its own problems. Ask your client to practice this mindfulness exercise several times per day while standing in line at the bank, for instance, or walking the dog, washing dishes, or anytime he doesn't need his mind to explicitly process information. Occasionally, ask him what he notices as a result of "not thinking".

As little as 20 minutes of mindfulness can make a difference.

Over a period of weeks or months, the fight-flight-or-freeze response will be triggered less often, the negative amygdala may become smaller, the hippocampus may begin to grow, so learning and perspective can improve, and your client may think with his left PFC more and with his right PFC less. He'll begin to get the clarity he needs to make good decisions and be able to see more opportunities and act upon them appropriately.

There's a good chance your client will turn around his business without needing your expressed assistance, because he already has the skills and knowledge he needs from starting it, in the first place. He just needed to get back to a more positive outlook on life. However, he also will be easier for you to coach to success, now that his mind has shifted more toward positivity. This is just one mindfulness tool.

There are many more coach-assisted neuroplasticity exercises.

To learn more about neuroplasticity, read books by the following neuroscientists: Daniel J. Siegel, Richard J. Davidson, Stephen W. Porges, and Rick Hanson.

To learn more about the brain on coaching and coach-assisted neuroplasticity exercises, click below:

Register for Coaching with Neuroscience Here.

 

 

 

 

Topics: coach, Barbara L Fredrickson, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, coaching with neuroscience, Neuroplasticity

2014 Executive Coaching Survey: Neuroscience Soars

Posted by Julia Stewart

Coaching with Neuroscience

Interest in neuroscience as a part of business, executive, and life coaching is soaring. Sherpa Coaching just released the results of their 2014 annual executive coaching survey, and noticing a trend toward neuroscience in coaching, they for the first time, asked questions about neuroscience and coaching in their survey:

  • Should neuroscience have a role in coaching? 

  • How much should executive coaches know about neuroscience? 

  • How much should clients know about neuroscience?

  • Does a working knowledge of neuroscience alter coaches' credibility?

Sherpa defines neuroscience as "a combination of medicine, applied science and research that explains human behavior and the way it changes."

I'd define it differently: Neuroscience studies what goes on in the brain during thoughts, behaviors and emotions, often using technology, such as EEGs, PET scans, or fMRIs. It discovers the physical correlates that underly human psychology. 

In any case, here are some of the survey responses from coaches on the topic of neuroscience and coaching, beginning with a quote from one respondent:

"Justin Kennedy, professor of neuroscience at South Africa‟s University of Pretoria, says: 'With the proper knowledge and training, you can use your conscious mind to change your physical brain. Really change it, so the way you think, the way you act, the way you feel can all be made better.' He tells us about neuroplasticity, which refers to the brain‟s ability to change and adapt. 'You really are in control, and you really do have choices. When you think new thoughts, you are actually changing the geography of your brain, changing the electric patterns that create and carry thoughts, changing the chemicals that control moods and energy levels.'

  • 76% of executive coaches say that neuroscience should have a role in executive coaching. 
  • 62% of executive coaches believe they and their peers should have a full understanding or at least a working knowledge of neuroscience. Both internal and external coaches agree. Female coaches support this notion more often than male coaches do, by about a 10% margin. 
  • 34% say their clients should have a full understanding or at least a working knowledge of neuroscience. Internal coaches favor this at a slightly higher rate than external coaches do. 
  • 49% say a background in neuroscience improves a coaches‟ credibility. Less than 10% feel it is a negative.

School of Coaching Mastery recently launched its new Introduction to Coaching with Neuroscience course in response to the rise in coaching with neuroscience. It's part of the new Certified Positive Psychology Coach Program. We explore the thrilling possibilities of coach-assisted neuroplasiticity and the underlying reasons why positive psychology has the power to help people be happier and more successful - often in very surprising ways.

Learn more about coaching with neuroscience and positive psychology:


Become a Certified Positive Psychology Coach

Topics: business coach, executive coaching, Coach Training Programs, Life Coaching, certified coach, Positive Psychology, positive psychology coaching, coaching with neuroscience

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