Saturday, 28 July 2012

NLP and Neuroscience

Well I’m mindful that two months have passed since the last audioboo, and it’s been an extraordinarily full time, a curious mixture really, but good to be back on track now. Of course, that period initially, with the death of my mother, and everything that goes with the death of a parent, and then moving into a whole raft of new developments, which I think will be just bearing a lot of fruit for a lot of people actually, and the one perhaps to begin by flagging would be the final coming together of NLP and neuroscience, which has been a dream of mine for longer than I care to remember to be honest.

It’s one of these curious things, you know, there’s been research taking place of neuroscience for certainly thirty years and it’s as if much of the work has stayed in the lab. Which is funny if you happen to be a researcher.

But there really is a practical dimension to understanding the way a brain works and therefore to neuroscience, because, hey, we’ve all got one and it could be kind of useful to have a more profound understanding of just what’s going on. And there are many examples, I think, of how more recent research could be extraordinarily beneficial if it was out there, if it was known about. So, for some years now, I have actually been actively looking for somebody who had the kind of background and credibility with whom I could partner to effectively begin the process of enabling both disciplines to come together. Because there seems to me, a lot of what NLP has done over the past thirty years is almost like applied neuroscience, without any science, you know, in the strict scientific sense of that word. If we’re talking about doing things that work, then NLP’s absolutely been right at the forefront delivering evidentially. However, I’ve been very interested in the conversations that I’ve been having more recently with Professor Patricia Riddell, who has been, herself, aware of what NLP has contributed to our understanding of practical technologies for change, and as a result of that we’ve been able to see how, you know, there really could be a way of integrating some of these elements, whilst allowing each to be its own province, its own field, of course, still.

And so, very recently, we actually did; well we do an open evening looking at habits, because there’s an area that is part and parcel of everybody’s experience. We have them or we like to acquire ones, you know, habits can be good, they can be bad. Or they could be things we would wish to have. But there is a structure to habits, which is how we come at it from an NLP point of view. And what’s going on in the brain is really fascinating, to enable one to understand how could you develop better habits, and how could you also become free of ones that are constraining.

So, we did this very brief opening really, which was received very well and we got very positive feedback about it. And in fact, come the NLP conference in November, we’re going to be doing something at somewhat greater length, focusing on exactly that area again, habits, and integrating what we understand from neurosciences, and what we now understand from the practicalities of habit change courtesy of NLP, and more recently, a couple of weeks ago, Trish and I did a one day event where we were starting to look at how could you take some of the basics of NLP and understand them through the filter of neuroscience. Well I have to say, it was an absolutely fascinating day. We were packed to the gummels, full house. And it was really very encouraging to see how there was benefits from both sides, and people were telling us that they had been looking for something like this… well no need to look anymore, there’s a lot more coming down the track. And we’re actually in process at the moment of, this summer, preparing new materials for new programmes. So I’ll keep you posted, but it’s good to be back, and there’s so much happening that you’re going to be hearing about very shortly.

So, ‘till the next time.

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Thursday, 26 July 2012

Writer's Alley

Well its summer in Connecticut, and it’s that time of year that’s always a great pleasure for me, because I get to do a lot of writing. I also get to, sort of, step back, take stock and think about future possibilities and opportunities. But it is especially a lovely part of the world to be thinking about the next chapter, the next book, and as there are three on the go at the moment, that certainly is something I need some space for.

And it’s a curious thing, but for reasons I will never know, I seem to be in a part of the world which has become like writer’s alley. And it struck me the other day, when originally we bought the house. We bought it from a very talented children’s author and illustrator, Stephen Kellogg, who has written many, many children’s books that are extremely well known in the states, and have a great following. And the way we engaged was just a delight, because we talked about this beautiful property that looks over the lake, and from our point of view we were really just stewards. Yes, the deeds would be in our name, but the most important thing was just to preserve it. Because at one point there was talk of turning it into a marina, which was not have been a great idea. So, anyway, here I am, writing away, and recently I learnt that down the road, literally eight doors away, is Suzanne Collins. Author of, yes indeed, The Hunger Games. And she’s in her writer’s, not exactly garret, but nevertheless her special building, which she’s just had constructed, and no doubt working on the next best seller.

So all in all, an interesting part of the world. And I remember, at one point, talking with Stephen about possible things that could be done, because when we bought the property here, nothing had been done to it for years, so that it was in need of a lot of care and attention. And the possibilities were great, but so were the potential costs. And he leant forward to me conspiratorially to me at one point, and he said “write faster, Ian, write faster.”

So, can’t stop, ‘till the next time.

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Monday, 23 July 2012

From Inner Game to Neuroscience

Earlier this year, the association for coaching asked me if I would be up for doing a workshop at a conference in Edinburgh, the title of which was From Inner Game to Neuroscience.

Now unfortunately, I was running trainings on the days in question, so it just didn’t arise and I therefore said I would love to but on this occasion I can’t. But I did congratulate them on the title of the conference, because it was a way of summing up the journey that has really characterised coaching over the past, say, decade or more; from that Inner Game model, which is absolutely relevant, to more the talk of what the neurosciences can contribute to our understanding now. I actually think there’s a danger of assuming that one is somehow surpassing the other, and nothing could be further from the truth.

Because, in fact, of course, all that neuroscience does is help us have a more profound understanding of our consciousness, which is the essence of the Inner Game anyway.

And I think, part of what is now so potentially rewarding in terms of the work that is being done, and certainly that I’ve been aware of and involved in with colleagues, is that we’re actually able to begin a synthesizing of the Inner Game approach, which is essentially based on paying attention to oneself, turning the attention from being outer-directed and taking an in the world out there, to being more self-reflexive, that is to say turning attention back on oneself, and paying more attention to, well, ‘just how do I do what I do?’ ‘Just what is going on?’ ‘How do I, on occasion, get in my own way, trip myself up?’ and ‘How do I move into an easy flow state?’ And one of the things which I think that neuroscience is being to help us understand is, not only what’s going on in your brain that makes the best times such experiences of flow states, but also, what can we do to stack the cards in our favour.

You know, there are certain ways of engaging with ourselves, which will help more than others, and certainly some of the work that I’ve been recently involved in doing with Patricia Riddell, who is a professor of applied neuroscience, is coming to an understanding in new ways of how certain processes actually relate to what goes on in our brain.

And I’ll give you an example, that I found absolutely fascinating, which is, upper section of time. Now, you know, time is something which is kind of fundamental, and being able to differentiate between what happened yesterday and what happened twenty years ago is sort of useful. And the question sometimes arises, well how do we do that? And indeed, do we get into a muddle sometimes about the order in which something occurred and how does the brain do that?

Well it’s an interesting phenomenon, certainly that NLP’s been exploring for years, and I think devising very helpful techniques in so doing. You’ll see them in timeline work, for instance and Practitioner training.

The understanding that has arisen is that the way the brain codes time has a lot to do with how it organises things spatially. And so you have this fundamental distinction between looking at time going forward and putting the past behind you.

Notice how these are descriptions of place, spatial organising. The forward, looking forward, past behind you. And actually, what we know from neuroscience is that people are not that good at gaging spatial differences when they look directly ahead. But they are much better at gaging differences when they’re able to look from left to right. And what we find is in timelines, people that organise their timelines from left to right are very good at determining what goes where and finding a place for everything and having everything in its place.

And people that tend to organise time in a linear fashion, going out from right where they are in front of them , day by day and into the future, they have a much tougher time organising themselves sometimes. And we can actually learn more about what works and how to do it better. We can teach these skills and what we’re doing is coming to an understanding of ‘what do I do inside and what does my brain do? And hey, how about us getting together and doing this better?’

Until the next time……..

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Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Exciting news!
We are delighted to announce that ITS have a brand new training venue.

From September 1st 2012 all ITS programmes will be held within The Academy situated at The London Kensington Forum.

The Academy offers excellent facilities and is located in the European flagship Holiday Inn Hotel which is to be found in South Kensington.

The Holiday Inn London Kensington Forum has recently gone through a £6.5 million refurbishment as part of the global relaunch of the Holiday Inn brand. Amongst other things this has meant new beds and carpets in all 900 bedrooms. Then six months ago the hotel had a further £4 million investment as they built a brand new Gym, Business Lounge, Executive Boardroom and of course The Academy.

We recently held our sell-out one day NLP & Neuroscience workshop within The Academy and can confidently say you'll enjoy both the training rooms and the coffee lounge. We hope you will agree with us that it's a great learning environment.

To find out more click here.

The ITS Team