“The course is about facilitating and deepening other people’s thinking. It gives access to a more enabling way of interacting and deepens the awareness of one’s communicating. You start seeing both your pitfalls and your strengths and overall have more choice in how you communicate.”
Helen Blässar is the lead trainer for the Brain-based Coaching Certificate course delivered in English. In this text we explore her point of view on what one learns on the course, and about how her own realizations came to be.
Why the brain?
The brain-based approach is especially useful for people who have been working in very number and fact-oriented environments. It builds a bridge between science and wisdom. Having the support of brain science helps people let go of their tendency to try and fix others. It helps us see the value in making room for what otherwise might feel like “doing nothing”. Such as allowing silence. Listening to our intuition. And focusing on the client’s insights, as opposed to the coach’s suggestions.
Neuroscience is a really useful basis for facilitating reflection and developing people’s thinking processes. It’s about creating a space where they get to deepen their self-awareness and choose what they want to commit to. This is radically different from most everyday conversations.
The new type of conversation
Helen started out as a consultant in the finance and IT sector, working for large corporations in Switzerland, Germany, Sweden and Finland. After doing that for several years she wanted to change gears and focus more on the human-to-human side of work. So she participated in the very first Brain-based Coaching Certificate program run in Finland in 2009.
During the course she realized how satisfying it was to discover the new type of conversation that coaching represents, where rather than giving advice, the coach is helping the other person to deeply explore their thinking.
Helen got hooked by the experience, liked the course so much that she wanted to work with it more and eventually became a lead trainer for the program. Along the way she completed a two-year Executive Master in Neuroleadership program. The education allowed her to go deeper into brain research and to learn more about interpersonal neurobiology.
The magic of the program
While training to become a coach Helen had a rather embarrassing realization that she wasn’t as naturally good at coaching as she had thought she would be. She saw how strong the tendency is to give advice and to focus the conversation on oneself. During the course she learned to help people get ideas by themselves, rather than feeling brilliant in coming up with solutions to others’ problems.
“Most people know that coaching is about asking questions. Yet it can be a bit of an awakening to realize that in most daily conversations, we ask questions either to satisfy our curiosity or to give us information so we can come up with the solution.
– Actually the questions we need to ask to become powerful coaches are coming from a very different place. It is at the same time a very humbling and also a very useful experience.“
There is a certain powerful moment in every course when people realize the benefit of truly listening to another person. It can be almost physically felt in the space that opens up.
Helen says that a big part of the magic of the program is its “attention density”: the mix of intensive face-to-face-sessions that build trust and regular virtual sessions that keep the learning fresh and incremental, which creates a very powerful learning environment. Sustaining attention over half a year on developing one’s coaching skills together with a committed group of co-participants offers a momentum that cannot be had on a weekend course. By repeated practice, both on and between the training sessions, the participants gradually build and integrate new skills whilst being part of a high-trust learning community. That’s why so many of them say that the course was the best investment in themselves that they have ever made.
“It is such a joy to work with a dedicated group of participants, to see the connections that are forming and how people start supporting each other in their coaching journeys.”
Who is this training program for?
The course is for people who have a deep and genuine interest in becoming good coaches, whether they are to be professional coaches or use the skills to enhance their leadership and communication. The people who benefit the most are the ones who are open to questioning their ways of leading or having conversations so far. It is good if you come with a readiness to stretch yourself. A readiness to discover your own pitfalls and try out different, more effective ways. And it’s a plus if people are curious about the brain but it’s not a necessity. The course is after all about becoming more effective communicators.
Helen particularly enjoys facilitating the Brain-based Coaching Certificate course because it is so different compared to other work that she does. The course is unique because it allows her to work with committed individuals for half a year and to facilitate a very powerful group learning experience. Many participants express their gratefulness after the course for accessing a rare environment where people are committed to truly listening to each other. It is a very powerful experience to take back to everyday conversations.
“It is really amazing when people come back and say that their work and personal relationships have transformed. To see time and again the impact the course has on participants gaining access to new ways of showing up – both as leaders and colleagues and as friends and family members.”