Listening to the Universe, Part 2

Back in March, I wrote a post entitled Listening to the Universe. In that post, I shared several examples where the universe had gently guided me to a program it knew was essential to my coaching journey, including the Newfield Network and BEabove Leadership.

Today, with a surprising amount of emotion, I’m honoured* to share I am now a Certified NeuroTransformational Coach.

The universe did not let me down. This program and my prior program at Newfield were both, without question, the best money I’ve ever spent. Both programs brought me incredible learning in service to my clients. Both programs also brought me profound, unexpected personal transformation and growth.

Today, I’ll share how the Neuroscience, Consciousness, and Transformational Coaching program deepened my coaching practice and accelerated my growth and why every coach looking to deepen their practice should consider it.

The Learning

Neuroscience has always fascinated me, and I was intrigued by the possibility of learning more about it within the coaching context. It was apparent from the beginning that our teachers, Ann Betz and Ursula Pottinga, CPCC, PCC, were both dedicated students of the subject matter, taking care to stay up on the latest research and gently debunk many of the neuro-myths that are out there (some of which are still taught in neuroscience programs today).

One great example is Ann’s metaphor of the brain as an orchestra, offered as an alternative to the myth of the “triune brain.” A fight-flight-freeze response doesn’t appear in the brain as an “amygdala hijack” where everything else shuts down but rather as a case where one section of the orchestra plays much louder than the rest. Understanding this concept has strengthened my ability to self-regulate my emotions and is an excellent tool for my clients. When I’m feeling uncentered, I take the role of conductor, listen to what systems are playing too loudly or too softly, and nudge them in the right direction.

If you are a regular reader, you’ve been seeing signs of my learning in this blog over the past six months. Some of my favorites include:

  • The Golden Mean – achieving a healthy balance of neurotransmitters in our system and understanding how being overstimulated or understimulated can result in brain fog, lack of focus, and inability to think clearly.
  • Integrating the Left and Right Hemispheres – One of my favorite learnings from the course is a deeper understanding of each hemisphere of the brain, including the benefits and drawbacks of leaning more heavily to one side or the other. One of my favorite tools from the course helps clients understand when they are in chaos (leaning to the right in an effective space) or rigidity (leaning to the left) and how to tap into the other hemisphere to create a more effective, integrated space.
  • The Default Mode Network (DMN) and Task Positive Network (TPN) – in particular, how we can put our DMN to work for us rather than feeling distracted by its daydreaming.
  • What hasn’t made it into my blog yet is the research on the brain’s prediction process and how that shifts our understanding of emotions. Ann has an excellent post explaining it.

As we approached the final quarter of our learning, I realized that we’d learned a lot about neuroscience and coaching, but there was less learning on consciousness. I was delighted with the final quarter as we dove in headfirst with the neuroscience behind intuition and the emergent research behind collective consciousness. On a personal level, this may have been the most impactful material of all. It gave me the little nugget of science I needed to help me lean further into what I’ve already learned – we unlock some of the most potent insights when I trust my intuition as a coach.

The People

You could not ask for two more wonderful instructors than Ann and Ursula.

Before this course, a chance encounter with Ann gave birth to my beloved Teliodosis. She humbly lists herself as the Director of Research and Learning at Beabove Leadership (Ann, I think you are due for a promotion!) Her knowledge is vast, and she combines it with a remarkable ability to synthesize very complex material into a form that is easy to consume.

Ursula complements Ann’s style with structure. She brings her vast knowledge and experience. Time and again, I posed a question to Ursula that delivered a lightning bolt of learning. Ursula, I promise I will never forget the importance of personal relevance!

What is most striking is their remarkable friendship and partnership for so many years. They shared beautiful stories of their friendship throughout the course. It was touching and inspiring to see two friends so deeply connected. May we all have a friend like this in our lives.

As you might expect, a course of this caliber also brought incredible students. We built a magical bond through our 80 hours of classroom time and offline buddy connections (not to mention a vibrant Slack channel). I left each class energized and wanting more, and while we were grateful to get some time back in our schedules, none of us wanted the program to end.

Giada CentofantiLauren Moffatt, SHRM-CPMandy Burke Evans ACC, CDPCCarly KayAnne GroomKatrin Charlton, MSc, PCCNeal Taylor, and Rosemary Moore-Fiander, I’m so grateful for the friendships we formed in this program. I enjoyed this magical carpet ride with all of you, and I look forward to continuing to learn and grow with each of you in the coming years.

My Coaching

In hindsight, I’m amazed at how quickly and powerfully this program impacted my coaching. One requirement for certification was that we log 30 hours of coaching using the techniques taught in the course. I tracked this in my coaching log but wasn’t paying attention to the totals. As the program was wrapping up, I assumed I would need to schedule some extra coaching sessions to fulfill my 30 hours. I was shocked to see the total and realize I’d already logged 42.

Reviewing the coaching summaries with my current clients, I realized that many techniques have become an intuitive part of my coaching process. My clients appreciate a sprinkle of learning about neuroscience to explain why a particular method is helpful. For some, that bit of learning gets them bought into the process. I can appreciate this. I am a child of science. My father has a Ph.D. in Physics. I graduated from a science and technology high school. My undergraduate degree is in computer science and philosophy. Even as I increasingly embrace the mystical aspects of the universe that science cannot explain, I love an explanation when there is one to be had.

I was touched by this simple statement in the feedback I received from a client this week as our engagement came to a close:

“Also (sorry, more than one thing!), I appreciate the neuroscience aspect of what Josh does.”

To that client, thank you for noticing and sharing your appreciation. Of all the kind things you said in that feedback, that afterthought may have meant the most to me in this moment.

Putting It Into Practice

If you are a coach and want to learn more about my experience, schedule time with me.

If neuroscience-backed coaching resonates with you, schedule time with me.

I look forward to continuing my learning with BEabove’s annual study group in the new year.

I am an executive coach and life coach with software executive roots in higher education and EdTech. I coach because I love to help others accelerate their growth as leaders and humans. I frequently write about #management, #leadership, #coaching, #neuroscience, and #arete.

If you would like to learn more, schedule time with me.

Want to comment? Join the conversation on LinkedIn.

* Yes, I know in the US we aren’t supposed to spell honour with a “u,” but you must admit this spelling is much cooler. I do, however, draw the line at aluminium.

Subscribe to Arete Pursuits