Did you know you can rewire your brain…it’s called Coaching!
I am fascinated by the brain and how it operates. We know that our brain is responsible for all of the functions that we use and implement on a daily basis, but that’s not what this article is about. Today, I am going to share what resonated with me from the article Great Leaders Rewire Brains by Laurie Ellington where she discusses neuroplasticity and rewiring of the brain.
As a former preschool teacher, I know that a child’s first five years of life are the most important for their growth and development. It is during this period that a child will create many learning memories from their daily life experiences and interactions with other children and adults. For example, children learn appropriate behaviors, such as smiling, giving kisses and waving goodbye. In addition to appropriate behaviors, they can also learn inappropriate behaviors such as biting others. We teach the child that their mouth is for kisses, and their teeth are for biting an apple or any other food item and chewing their food. Their mouth and teeth are not used for biting others. This example demonstrates the child’s ability to create a new pathway for that new and appropriate behavior (National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, 2014).
What has been learned about the brain is that it never stops evolving. It has the ability to regenerate itself through the process of Neuroplasticity which is the “brain’s ability to rewire itself with experiences” (Great Leaders Rewire Brains, Reaching Out-Current Issues for Child Welfare Practice, Winter, 2020, Laurie Ellington).
Why is this important? It is important because it informs us that we have an opportunity to make changes in the way we think, we process and how we act. We understand most individuals have many habits, beliefs and behaviors embedded in their neural pathways from what they learned and experienced throughout their lifespan. Knowing this information could be helpful for leaders of an organization as they contemplate making policy and procedure changes. In addition, for leaders to make change happen, they need to understand their employees bring all of their habits, behaviors and beliefs into their workplace which is their “organizational brain” which also needs to be addressed.
In order for change to happen within the culture of the organization you need to embrace the new habit, behavior or belief into the work culture. Neuroplasticity tells us that our brain has the ability to create these new habits, behaviors and beliefs.
One way to support an individual or an organization in changing some of those habits, behaviors or beliefs that are ingrained within their value system is to remove them. This can be accomplished by rewiring their thinking; their brain can be rewired with a new habit, behavior or belief. When this is executed, a new neural pathway is created. How can this be accomplished? It can be accomplished by Coaching.
Coaching can help you rewire the brain of that particular individual by engaging them in discussions by asking questions that promote higher order thinking skills. You can do this by utilizing solution focused questions and challenging them into action. In other words, coaching helps them to think differently, to try it on and evaluate the new approach. In conclusion, this article demonstrates that Coaching when implemented by leaders and their staff has the potential of accomplishing these new habits, behaviors or beliefs that can generate the organizational change you envisioned. If you want to learn more about the brains neuroplasticity and how coaching can help an individual re-wire their brain, you can view Laurie Ellington’s You Tube video: Cultivating Resilience Through Coaching and Neuroplasticity.
by Brenda S. Guzman Practice Coach – Ventura County
UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education, Human Services Northern Academy, Reaching Out-Current Issues for Child Welfare Practice, Winter 2020
Cultivating Resilience through Coaching May 15, 2019