What can neuroscience tell us about leadership coaching?

As the Henley Corporate Learning Survey 2016 has discovered, the use of executive coaching is benefitting from increased corporate spending, despite cutbacks in other areas. Here at Henley Business School, we were interested in exploring why this might be the case; what is it about coaching that makes it the go-to solution for people facing leadership challenges in this volatile, uncertain, chaotic and ambiguous environment we find ourselves in right now?

One of the places we went to in order to get some insight into this was the rapidly developing field of neuroscience. By understanding what happens in the brain when difficult new leadership situations confront someone, it becomes possible to marry this up with our understanding of how different coaching interventions work on different parts of the brain. It’s still very much work in progress, but the potential to develop targeted, effective coaching interventions is hugely exciting.

At Henley we have coached hundreds of senior leaders in organisations over a number of years, and we have found a remarkable consistency in the interpersonal needs and drivers they share. While the content of the issue and the way a person experiences and expresses their challenges will be very individual due to their unique set of life experiences, beliefs, values and culture, the equipment with which each of us experiences life is the same. Neuroscience can now give us more ways to understand why we react and behave the way we do – even before our intellect steps in.

The theme for this years’ Coaching Conference is ‘Leadership coaching – needed now more than ever’. We will be looking at the traditional challenges of leadership and how people in such positions use their coach to help them deal with these situations. We will also be offering a robust review of how the very nature of leadership, and the perception of it, is changing, becoming fragmented, re-positioned and even more challenging.

At the Conference we will be running a session entitled The Neuroscience of Leadership Coaching, taking a number of real-life executive coaching cases and unpacking them from the perspective of the underpinning neuroscience. We will look at what happens in the brain when a person is faced with a particular situation and why certain coaching interventions have the effect they do.

The fact that, regardless of race, culture or gender, we are all the same in terms of our brain functionality gives us coaches a very good place to start.

This year’s Coaching Conference will be held on Friday 17 June 2016. Places are filling fast – to book yours, visit: www.henley.ac.uk/conf

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For more information please contact the Centre Manager Viki Rice by email at coaching@henley.ac.uk or by phone on +44 (0) 1491 418 829.

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