Home Applications Personal & Life Coaching Ten Trends in Personal/Life Coaching

Ten Trends in Personal/Life Coaching

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The second finding is that we react before we think. Specifically, it is now known that we immediately process most incoming stimuli through “templates” in our Amygdala (mid-brain) (LeDoux,1998). The Amygdala “templates” are applied to each incoming stimulus to determine whether or not this stimulus represents a threat to us (or perhaps the prospect of personal pleasure). Many of these Amygdala templates are probably established early in our life or may actually be “hard-wired” (could they relate to what Carl Jung identified many years ago as the “collective unconscious”?). We process these same stimuli through our cerebral cortex at a later point (1 or 2 seconds later) and process them more slowly. In most cases, we eventually temper the immediate reactions of our Amygdala by means of this more “rational” cortical analysis. When a personal or life coach is working with her client on difficult issues that may evoke fear-based templates, the coach is dealing with more than rational content. He or she must bypass or counter or at least address the emotional impact of these more primitive templates.

While there are many other neurobiological implications for the personal and life coach, we want to mention just one more. It involves the entire body. We establish “stress ruts” when exposed repeatedly to real or imagined threats. These ruts are grooved deeper with each stressful event and lead to permanent structural changes in our nervous/hormonal systems. We become increasingly vulnerable (“trigger happy”) to stress (Sapolsky, 2004). A personal or life coach can play an important role in assisting her client in identifying and even seeking to avoid or reduce the impact of these stress ruts.

Our daily behavior is profoundly impacted by these stress ruts and by our patterns/decisions regarding sleep, exercise, exposure to light, and the consumption of alcohol, tobacco and other mind-altering drugs. Caffeine consumption might be a major culprit (Bergquist, 20110> When clients are trapped in such a rut they become less coachable. It may be hard to assist other people until they are “physiologically-primed/prepared” for this assistance. A personal or life coach might insist that her client be physiologically prepared for the challenges of coaching prior to beginning the coaching process.

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One Comment

  1. Rey Carr

    June 9, 2016 at 7:44 pm

    Something about this article left me thinking that I missed the connection between coaching and any of the 10 items mentioned. For example, all the three points that neurobiology is allegedly responsible for in contributing to knowledge of human behaviour (and changing behaviour) were clearly known prior to the advent of the current craze to quote brain research. I don’t think that neurobiology has contributed at all to improving the coaching relationship. And as if to strengthen my point, the authors give no examples or evidence of how coaches have actually used these principles to make a difference in their interactions with clients.

    The same holds true for the nine other trends mentioned. Cognitive psychology (via Jerome Bruner and others) as well as solution-focused work and the work of William Glasser and Albert Ellis and countless others are all cognitive approaches that turned traditional psychotherapy on its head and dumped it from working with dysfunctional individuals.

    I wish the authors had provided more direct evidence of the way in which these trends have actually influenced the work of coaches.


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