Coaching the brain: Neuro-science or Neuro-nonsense?

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Coaching the brain: Neuro-science or Neuro-nonsense?

This paper discusses some myths and misconceptions that have emerged in relation to neuroscience and coaching, and explores the notion that neuroscience provides a foundational evidence-base for coaching, and that neurocoaching is a unique or original coaching methodology. It is found that much of the insights into coaching purported to be delivered by neuroscience are long-established within the behavioural sciences. Furthermore, the empirical and conceptual links between neuroscientific findings and actual coaching practice are tenuous at best. Although at present there is no convincing empirical support for a neuroscientific foundation to coaching, there are important ways in which coaching and neuroscience can interact. There is good evidence that solution-focused cognitive-behavioural (SF-CB) coaching can reliably induce specific behavioural and cognitive changes. SF-CB coaching could thus be used as a methodology to experimentally induce specific changes including greater self-insight and better relations with others. Subsequent changes in brain structure or brain activity could then be observed. This has potential to be of great value to the neuroscience enterprise by providing more hard evidence for concepts such as neuroplasticity and brain-region function-specificity. It may well be that coaching can be of greater use to the field of neuroscience than the field of neuroscience can be to coaching. In this way we can address many neuromyths and misconceptions about brain-based coaching, and begin to author a more accurate and productive narrative about the relationship between coaching and neuroscience.

The Coaching Psychologist, Vol. 11, No. 1, June 2015

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