• Toby Sinclair

Neuroscience for Coaches | How can it help you?

Updated: Oct 27



Neuroscience sounds like a complicated topic, maybe something you need a PHD to understand. However, I've learned there are many accessible ways coaches can learn the basics. This knowledge of the brand and body can be incredibly helpful when working with clients.


What is Neuroscience Coaching?


One book and course has really helped with my development: “Neuroscience for coaches” by Amy Brann.


This seemed like a topic I'd need to learn in the classroom. I attempted to read a few books on the topic but often found them difficult to read so wanted an experiential course to help. I attended Amy's course to learn more about how neuroscience could supercharge my coaching.


Amy’s teaching style was great and really helped me quickly grasp some of the concepts of how Neuroscience can really help coaches.


Three Big Ideas to Help you:


1. Brain basics

It's important for coaches to understand the basic structure of the brain. This helps you understand more about what could be happening inside the brain of your client. An appreciation for how the different parts of the brain interact, how neural pathways are formed and brain chemistry.


A very simple technique we learnt was the Peter Siegel hand model which is a simple way to explain the structure of the brain:


I learned about the 4 common brain networks;

  1. Executive

  2. Salience

  3. Default

  4. Limbic

In addition the chemistry of the brain; oxytocin, dopamine, adrenaline, cortisol and serotonin.


2. Neuroscience of change


Neuroplasticity is defined as:

“..the change in neural pathways and synapses that occurs due to certain factors, like behavior, environment, or neural processes. During such changes, the brain engages in synaptic pruning, deleting the neural connections that are no longer necessary or useful, and strengthening the necessary ones.” [ref]

In brain speak, if coaches are to create lasting change they need to help people create and change their neural pathways. Throughout the course, we explored further the science behind the change. Studies show that neural pathways are formed through emotional experiences and repeated exposure. If we are to help our clients we need to engage their emotional brain, amygdala, and form habits around the behaviours they want to adopt.


3. Neuroscience of emotions

A third topic we explored was the brain and emotions. The amygdala is the part of the brain most associated with emotions. We explored how versatile and different everyone's brains are. Emotions are often processed differently from person to person. Often we use framing for emotions either through visual queues such as facial movements or language. These can however often mislead the brain and we can interpret the emotion incorrectly. Emotions are hard to interpret and often requires a high degree of self-awareness to be fully in tune with their emotions.  Coaches often explore feelings with their clients and often ask questions such as “How do you feel about that?” Understanding the neuroscience of feelings and emotions it was clear what a big question this was. If we are to truly answer this question it requires a deep awareness.


Neuroscience is a vast emerging area. The 2 days with Amy helped me explore this fascinating topic which has really got me interested. I have already bought 2 books to read about the topic further.


Coaches who want to explore the Neuroscience of Coaching further I would highly recommend Amy’s 2-day course or Amy’s book; Neuroscience for coaches.

If you'd like to chat to me about Neuroscience in Coaching or about any other coaching topics, you can access my free coach mentoring


©2020 by Toby Sinclair.