mBraining: Part 3 – Applying mBraining in Practice

January 16, 2019 Blog Author 0 Comments


A series of explorations into a new paradigm in coaching (or a re-emergence of what we always knew?)

Part 3 – Applying mBraining in Practice

We have explored what mBraining is and the science behind the multiple brains. In this Blog we will explore how that can be applied in practice to enhance coaching and coaching effectiveness.

On a basic level by understanding the functions of each of the brains, you can ensure you speak to the correct brain in the coaching situation. Let’s look at some examples:

A client comes to you with a relationship issue. We now know that is best processed at heart level (the heart is responsible for relational affect), but the heart would struggle to establish specific facts, what is known or not known, and would be very unlikely to create a list of what criteria are looked for in a relationship. That is not how the heart works. That is a head based function. However, if you only explored head based knowledge, it is highly possible that you would miss the mark of what the heart truly desires. Relational affect is primarily at the heart level – and for wise choice and decision making in relationships an mBIT Coach would ensure both the head and the heart were communicated with and in agreement.

But it doesn’t just stop there. We would also want to talk to the gut. If any safety component is involved, it would be the gut that would alert you to that. And, if safety and security is not explored, it is possible that your client will fire off a stress (fight or flight response) and sabotage the relationship without understanding why, or continue into a relationship that is not safe, but the cortisol may have disengaged the head brain, reducing their access to cognitive perception (knowing) and rational thought, leaving them in an extremely vulnerable position. How many times have you heard a client say “my heart says one thing and my head says another”

Ensuring that head, heart and gut are all involved in the decision making, and area all aligned with the final choice of action, ensures a higher chance of success for the client.

Let’s look at a business example:

A manager may come to you with a difficult decision to make about laying off staff. That is not an unrealistic scenario in the current financial climate.

If they come from a purely heart based perspective of: “it’s right before Christmas”; or “I know XXX is struggling financially”, the emotional response can get in the way of evaluating all the information and requirements and may result in a less than optimum decision being made. But, I am not suggesting we rule out the heart in this scenario. As another extreme, If a purely head based decision is made, with no thought of the people involved, it is highly likely that you as the manager will be seen as unfeeling, uncaring and ‘heartless’ and the impact on long term reputation, morale, sustainability is likely to be affected.

Again, a head, heart and gut based aligned decision will ensure all components of that decision making are wisely considered. And, through doing this, even when a difficult decision is still made to lay people off, the way it is done changes completely.

Let’s look at a personal example:

Think of a decision you made, which in hindsight was a good decision. Was the decision made primarily from the head, based on fact, research, known data, a process and thought through plan? Or was it made from the heart, based on values, other people and what is important (to you and the others involved), or was it a gut based decision, you may even have taken action before any thought was given to the options and possibilities. Did you consider risk and ‘play safe’, just jump in to get the job done, or did you think about who you were being in taking that action? Can you begin to get a flavour of the different brains and how they play out? Did you come from head, heart and / or gut and in what order?

What is fascinating is that it is not only the brains that are used, but the order in which they are used that makes a difference. Reflecting on this for yourself could give you huge insight into this. Compare your situation above to a decision you made that in hindsight was maybe not the best decision – maybe didn’t work out well for you. How did the way you used your brains differ in the two scenarios?

For the last four years myself and Grant Soosalu have been designing and testing a psychometric tool to demonstrate which brains are being used in decision making and we have shown that around 50% of people were not consciously aware. Imagine being able to help people to understand how they are currently making decisions, and how they might change that to be able to make even wiser decisions in the future. (NB We expect the paper of that research to be published in early 2019 in Sage Open). This is just one of the exciting developments in mBraining coming along next year.

I hope I have just given you a flavour of the basic components of mbraining in practice and how they can be used to enhance your coaching (and personal growth).

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