I am delighted to be joining with the AoEC in a new partnership that will provide Executive Coaches a pathway to bringing health into their coaching practice.
Over the last several years neuroscience has been opening up and illuminating our understanding of the brain. It is producing a sea change in how we understand behaviour change and the pursuit of performance.
In the excitement, a crucial aspect of the brains existence has been somewhat overlooked. This is that the brain lives in and is utterly reliant upon the body in which it is embedded (at the very top!). It is something of a paradox; for our executive functioning is recognised as arising within the brain and this set of controls is in charge of the body in which it sits. So the brain is in charge of its own health - this makes it a challenge when it is not optimising the body for its own brain health! So we can say that the whole of us is the brain and that the complete integration of our body and mind shows us that to consider one is, to consider the other.
Somehow it has not been seen that way across the professional coaching field and in our excitement at being able to access new insights in neuroscience we have overlooked the significance of this integration and interdependence.
We accept generally that coaching is a process that is primarily focussed on the brain. When a person seeks change in whatever form, they are, (whether we explicitly see it this way or not), seeking to change their brain in some way. What a client wants to achieve through a coaching relationship will place change requirements on them which their health related behaviours may or may not support well. A demand for performance from the brain has to mean demand for performance from the whole physical system in some way, irrespective of whether it is up to the task or not. We can see the brain as living in optimum healthy conditions or very difficult health conditions or plot a point somewhere in between. So, from a client's point of view, it can be vital for them to understand all the parts of their system that are going to affect the outcomes of the changes they want to make.
It is exciting to realise that our executive coaching skills and experience can be leveraged to be of more use when we develop an integrative approach to how brain change is going to take place within the context of the client's behaviour and life.
Our work in this area has led to a foundational proposition that the programme we will be offering here with the AoEC is built around. This is that ALL aspects of a person's life across various domains are relevant to an executive coaching assignment in so far as these inputs are influencing and affecting the brain of the person being coached. If we approach our coaching consciously from this proposition then we can become health coaches in the widest sense, creating and the opportunity to be truly integrative.
When we think about it all these inputs are there anyway in a client's life. Our coaching with them is being affected by them anyway even if they have never made it into the coaching room. In that sense you are coaching health anyway!
Building on this proposition brings us to an additional aspect to this approach. All of us may be susceptible at times in our lives to illness and a decline in our functioning. This may be caused by disease or be the consequence of a variety of live experiences or behaviours. In these times and conditions people may struggle to perform or recover good health and functioning. We are then, from our integrative approach, able to coach people through these recovery stages and find a well being that they can maintain. The habit of including all aspects of a person's life into a coaching relationship stands us on form ground for the bumpy journey that people may have to take. The programme will offer coaches the opportunity to provide specific services as Executive Wellness, Recovery and Performance coaches. And as we are in the middle of an epidemic of behavioral health related problems these coaching skills and competencies are going to be ever more needed as people recognise the need for solutions to these challenges that arise out of coaching principles.
Finally there is an important distinction to be made between coaching for health and coaching with health. Coaching for health is using coaching techniques to assist a person be more healthy or to get over a health challenge. Coaching with health is to see awareness of health as a foundational ground for any coaching objective. It is my hope that our programme will inspire you to both. I look forward to meeting you in the programme.
Anthony Eldridge-Rogers : Executive Recovery & Wellness Coach ★ Trainer & Facilitator ★ Creator of Meaning Centred Coaching Model
For more information about the programme visit Executive Coaching and Health: Coaching Skills for Wellness, Recovery & Performance.
Anthony is Founder of the Foundation for Recovery and Wellness Coaching.