This Neurocoaching Thing

(Español) Neuroscience is here to stay, in the realm of coaching. We call it Neurocoaching. It’s science coming to the human side of life. Or is it the other way around?  Coaching in the realm of neuroscience was my way into this new paradigm. I am a clinical psychophysiologist, an inspirational speaker, and always worked in three areas. I used to work at Intensive Care Units, helping acute stress patients and their families. In Neurosurgery, I monitored patients while undergoing awake craniotomy (yes, they were awake).

The third area is coaching and training executives on becoming more productive and stress-free. I have spent most of my life pursuing excellence and happiness. Also attempting to help other people in their quest to become the best they can be. Sounds like a lot, right? Not, in my opinion. I think it’s within reach. Teaching and coaching served the purpose of calming me down. It provided me with an oasis from the high stress and demands of clinical work. At the same time, it was rewarding, since it validated my sense of meaning. One of the keywords in my work was “reasonable hope”. Somehow I felt I was contributing more, not just my technical intervention.

I did not train as a coach to change the world. I decided to become a coach because some clients asked me to deliver speeches on the subject. The right thing to do was getting a good training. I did it, through Coachville. A great two-year program. Little I knew that coaching was going to change the way I saw and treated my patients forever. They started to comply! Yes, lack of compliance by patients is a big thing in the health professions. My new skills were important in every conversation. I am talking about active listening and learning to ask instead of show and tell. I learned to probe and leverage the sense of meaning and purpose of my patients. This made a great difference in their clinical outcomes. They started to own their personal processes, and somehow they had more hope, even faith.

I always have believed that coaching, by itself is enough as a discipline to instill change. It also helps people to achieve great and desirable results in their lives. But if you have a basic understanding of how the brain works, you have an edge!  That is why I have been an advocate of the teaching of neuroscience, applied to different fields. Particularly, to coaching.

We are talking about neuroscience basics as they apply to human behavior. In lay terms, to make them understandable, practical, and fascinating. Like understanding this neuroscience principle: neurons that fire together, wire together (Hebb). That is the basis for habit forming, like in hoping for the best. Some people tend to expect the worst and act in the same fashion. Bad habit. They give up the fight without even confronting the situation. I believe that somehow, we coaches are guardians of hope and should be on the positive side of things. Institutions crumble around us, terrorism roars and it is so easy to fall prey of cynicism. If we allow that, who is going to be there (if everything falls) to help to pick up the pieces and start all over? Who is going to inspire others and lead the way? Pessimists and cynics? I don’t think so.

If we add mirror neurons to the equation, things get even more interesting. Mirror neurons are those cells involved in imitation, emulating other people’s actions. Yes, it is true. From birth, we imitate, emulate actions and mirror emotions! What this means is that by the mere fact of existing, we are modeling life to others. Pessimism is contagious, and so is enthusiasm. We make a difference just by being there! If this is so, what difference you and I want to make?

I am always fascinated with science. Now more than ever, at a time when it applies to the human experience, for the good of all. Let’s welcome neuroscience and keep it clean. Let’s teach it in a proper way, and let’s share this discipline with the world. I am a practical man, but I do believe we can change the world.

Neuroscience is here to stay, also in the realm of coaching. We call it Neurocoaching. It’s science coming to the human side of life. And it also brings hope.


About the Author Luis Gaviria:

Dr. Gaviria is a sought-after inspirational speaker and trainer, with a passion for neuroscience and the development of human potential. He is a professional certified coach who works with doctors and executives. Now retired from his clinical practice, he is the Provost at the Neuroscience & Coaching Institute, where he also teaches neuroscience applied to coaching and leadership. Dr. Gaviria is a member of the Board of Governors of the International Association of Coaching, IAC. He lives in Dallas, Texas, with his wife (his childhood sweetheart) Beatriz Elena.

Being champions in life

A Champion Maker: Coach Randy Allen

Randy Allen is the Head Coach at Highland Park High School, in Texas. He leads the winningest program in the history of the State.

Randy AllenBut what is the big deal about this man anyway? Simple: Randy Allen is a man of character, one who is willing to go beyond football itself and transform the lives of his pupils. I had the privilege of interviewing him at his home and he uncovered simple, yet powerful approaches to excel not only in sports but in personal and professional spheres of life. It was both an honor and a privilege to be face to face with a coach who walks his talk, who sticks to his values, who takes a bunch of kids and makes them into champions. He has also built a beautiful relationship with his wife and summarizes his passion in three words: Faith, family, football.

“…300 wins is the byproduct of going to work every day with the idea that I love these kids, I’m in it because God called me to be a coach, and what can I do today to make their lives better.”

Let’s enjoy Coach Randy Allen in his own words:

You can download the audio file for offline listening here.

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