Can you reflect on how often people ask themselves a rhetorical question like: „What am I doing here?” And conclude that they cannot really find themselves in the context they face. Have you ever wondered what a negative impact it has on trainees or coachees when they don’t really know why they come to the sessions? Sometimes they attend them having followed somebody’s directive, sometimes they do it out of curiosity, another time they feel they are in need of support, sometimes they’re certain a coach is the last resort to them.
But when they come, they often unveil really deep levels of their need. And then they start to think and feel they really need somebody to help them and to simply be with them. But they also need somebody to lead them through the process of learning. Of learning the new. No matter if it is a particular skill, soft or hard, a foreign language or a new attitude, change has to start from them, namely within them, and to put it even more precisely, inside their brains. And the less uncertain and endangered the brain feels because of the unknown, the calmer it is and the more able to rewire and to change.

In order to come up to clients’ expectations a coach needs to know what’s really going on in his client’s mind. He needs to know client’s psychologicel bibliography, his strengths and weaknesses etc. but also to know more about some hidden aspects. Individualisation of the process starts at a point of a coach learning about the client. And this is the time at which a coaching process starts to be tailor made. And the reason for which anything around the introductory or preparatory part of the process is definitely essential for its future success.

A human being can learn about another human being only within a relationship. A relationship that, as we know, is nothing that appears out of the blue, but just the opposite – it’s something that has to be first established, second – continuously taken care of, third – built up. But at the very opening point to it there has to be willingness and readiness to enter it and also trust to maintain it and to develop it.

Coaching like any other process of change needs to start with preparations. Probably it’s possible to erect a building without the foundation, but then a question about its quality and durability arises. Undoubtedly, it is feasible to send a worker to a training without telling him what stands behind it. Nowadays, it is so common in organizations to arrange various types of events for their people.
But do decedents ever think how peple feel after receiving just a bare piece of information about the date and time of the training enriched with its topic? Do decedents ever stop to think what is happening in their subordinates brains?

This is why clients need to know from the very beginning what coaching is about and to decide whether they are willing and ready to enter the process. To decide if they will get committed and take responsibility. And they need to know they come to the sessions because they want to, not because somebody told them to do so. It needs to be clear to them from the very beginning. The questions about why coaching is offered to them, what it is intended to change within the organization or how the process will be shaped are among the basic ones for the client to get answers to. Clients need to know.

Learning is change. And change is something the brain says a definite and automatic no to at the very beginning. Because the brain doesn’t want to change since change demands much work and attention. And, not intending to offend anybody, the truth is, the brain is lazy. Ha! Forget the excuses as at the same time the brain is fully capable of changing. Throughout the whole life of a human being. It remains plastic until the very last moment of our world existence. The question is HOW to make it change. Or to put it differently: HOW to motivate it? HOW to tame it? HOW to prepare it? And HOW to reduce fright of the uncertain and the unknown which make the brain close and resilient to anything new?

A real coach will know. And he will facilitate the process in the way that is optimally brain-friendly. Due to his knowledge of brain mechanisms he will facilitate wirinig of information and memorising with sustainable effects. And it’s not only a matter of what the coach knows, but HOW he applies his knowledge.

And for this to happen, apart from his knowledge of brain mechanisms – of how to change habits and learn new things, he needs to know his clients as individuals. To see them in balance. With all their needs, wishes, desires that can motivate them to change, but also with their anxiety, fright or stess that have probably kept them away from the new and the better for a subjectively longer while. To accept anything in them as all the elements constitute one whole. To support them in developing their potential. To help them build on their strengths. To turn the focus of their attention to anything positive that can make them thrive.

Change is a process. A process is spread in time. And it absolutely needs time. A client and his brain have to be led through this process step by step. And in an enjoyable way that has direct influence on the duration of the process. In the way that determines process success. And now: everybody is different, everybody has different preferences, everybody has a different learning style, different pace of digesting information, different sources of motivation, different expectations and so on and so forth. So as you probably see we are making a comeback to the opening point of this text.

No matter if we talk about work with an individual or about change within a big organization. Any organization is its people. People very much different from one another – even if we don’t see it at first. But, if we want to go through any process of change, we need to accept it and we have to have a really close look at the people.

Because the centre of the process of change is a human being. And before any change can be spotted in their behaviour, first, it needs to happen in his or her brain.

Copyright Katarzyna Hylińska 2015