Why Coaching Works – How It Affects the Results You Get Your Clients (The Scientific Backing)
ICF defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.
Your aim of becoming a coach is to help people experience dramatic growth and reach their full potential. Lots of coaching programs bank on proven methods to help clients achieve this, shift perspectives and get outstanding results. But how effective are these methods and what makes them so?
There are strong evidences and qualitative data which suggests that coaching works. View some statistical evidence below!
Wasylyshyn (2003) – Executive Coaching Outcome Study
- 76% of executives reacted significantly positive to working with a coach.
- 88% reported sustainability of behavior change and learning.
A 2001 study of coaching impact on Fortune 100 companies by Manchester Inc. showed an average ROI of 5.7 times the initial investment or a return of more than $100,000. This was established by executives who estimated that, the monetary value of the results was achieved through coaching.
Coaching also increased their…
- Productivity (reported by 53% of executives)
- Quality (48%)
- Organizational strength (48%)
- Customer service (39%)
- Reducing customer complaints (34%)
- Retaining executives who received coaching (32%)
- Cost reductions (23%)
- Bottom-line profitability (22%)
Executives who received coaching also improved in their…
- Working relationships with direct reports (reported by 77% of executives)
- Working relationships with immediate supervisors (71%)
- Teamwork (67%)
- Working relationships with peers (63%)
- Job satisfaction (61%)
- Conflict reduction (52%)
- Organizational commitment (44%)
- Working relationships with clients (37%).
But the question is, how do these things happen? Is there a scientific backing for it? The answer is a resounding yes!
According to Leonardo da Vinci, “Those enamored of the practice without SCIENCE, are like a pilot who goes into a ship without a rudder or compass and never has any certainty of where he is going.”
Subsequently, I will be discussing in-depth the mechanism of brain based coaching. But today, we will be looking at a prelude- the roles of the brain and energy in effective coaching.
Your Super-Efficient Brain: Brain Maps, Learning and Habits
The ability of the brain to learn is banked on the concept of neuroplasty. A book by Norman Doidge titled “the brain that changes itself” states that it is possible to rewire our brains through our thoughts. This is supported by the Hebbian theory of neuroscience which states in a nutshell that “neurons that fire together, wire together.”
All these simply mean that, when we learn new things, the nerve cells within the brain begin to change and adapt to fit the new processes. As such, the more you focus on something or analyze a problem, the deeper a connection you create in your brain.
The way our brain functions is by making connections and associations. The brain basically forms a bridge or link between present happenings and the past. The brain has the ability to make a mental map of connections of over one million per second.
If we are learning a new skill, or procedure, it may take minutes, days or months, depending on the complexity- to master it. This is because; our brain creates a map gradually, which consumes lots of energy. But once the brain successfully creates this map, it moves to focus on a new adventure. This process is called the art of forming a habit. These habits are presided over by the energy efficient parts of the brain.
This happens through a process called myelination. A process where myelin, a fatty covering coats the neural pathway, causing repeated actions and connections created to become stronger and secure. In essence, the more a brain pathway is used, the stronger it becomes.
This succinctly establishes why habits are hard to drop, but new ways of working are easy to pick.
Tip: Our brains work by forming patterns and habits. The brain prefers to go with already developed neural pathways.
Perspective Shift- A Result of Core Energy
Before we delve into this, we have to first understand that there are two kinds of energies which the brain releases as it concerns coaching.
The first is anabolic energy: it is a creative, constructive, fueling, and expanding type of energy which aids productivity. In reverse, catabolic energy is draining, destructive, and resisting.
Now, for coaching to be effective, there has to be a shift from the negative kind of energy to the positive.
The shift towards anabolic energy spikes up intuition and creativity as against resentment, frustration and other disappointing responses from clients- which is exhausting and can stall progress of a client.
It goes deeper than positive thinking; it is the awareness that you have a choice other than negativity. Negativity is a survival mechanism for lots of people. An effective coaching will capitalize on your core energy and shift you into a productive one more quickly. This can be achieved through effective questioning and the application of distilled steps.
Your energy empowers you with the ability to make powerful shifts in perspectives within yourself and everyone else around you. This will help create a thriving coaching practice for you, healthy, inspiring relationships- and positive job satisfaction and dynamics for you and your clients.
Tip: once you have a client on your hand, you have the potential to mold the client. If you succeed in shifting their perspective of a problem from catabolic to anabolic, negative to positive… Your job is more than half done. They will become more relaxed, receptive and start seeing results.
Coaching Vs Instructing
Coaching is a client-driven process that has distinguished itself from other service professions, such as mentoring, training, consulting and counseling.
With all I have explained above, let us see how coaching works, than giving out instructions in a world where learning is important.
When we are instructed to do something, the brain doesn’t create a new mental map. But through coaching, we gain insight from expressing ourselves, brainstorming and thinking in-depth about something… this is when our brain creates a new mental map.
Consequently, gaining insight through coaching, asking questions and combining efforts is more brain friendly than giving instructions, or just giving your clients answers… without letting them figure it out on their own. To take any type of action, we have to work things out by and for ourselves.
Tip: This why we strongly advise against spoon-feeding your client. Show them the way, but let them figure it out. If you are always in a haste to supply answers, you’d be stalling their growth.
Going forward, another challenge with giving instructions to clients is that, it creates a potential space for “threat response”. The client’s brain connections and predictions of a particular situation differ from the format you’re giving to them. This creates an error signal in their brain which can be likened to a sense of pain. This will cause them to withdraw from the information and in most people, resistance starts building up.
Therefore, if we always instruct or give answers, instead of coaching, it would be a total waste of time and energy on both your parts. The client will have difficulty getting a grip on new ideas and figuring things out for themselves. As a coach, your job is to dig into issues and give insight, not make on-point diagnosis and give answers.
This is easier said than done, because everyone wants to be done with stuff and move on to the next. But understanding the mechanics of how the brain and energy work to get your clients coachable is something not to be overlooked. This gives a candid insight into the fact that coaching is a profession dedicated to great service above other things.
Helping your clients grow, helping them get outstanding results, helping them scale up their businesses, and helping them gain insights… which unlocks their brain processes and in the course, they find their answers.
Your job is to unravel issues, lay down steps and support them as they chart their own course. This will help clients get results, make you look like a rock star… and give you a feeling of fulfillment!
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