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Coaching the brain: Neuro-science or Neuro-nonsense?

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Abstract

This paper discusses some myths and misconceptions that have emerged in relation to neuroscience and coaching, and explores the notion that neuroscience provides a foundational evidence-base for coaching, and that neurocoaching is a unique or original coaching methodology. It is found that much of the insights into coaching purported to be delivered by neuroscience are long-established within the behavioural sciences. Furthermore, the empirical and conceptual links between neuroscientific findings and actual coaching practice are tenuous at best. Although at present there is no convincing empirical support for a neuroscientific foundation to coaching, there are important ways in which coaching and neuroscience can interact. There is good evidence that solution-focused cognitive-behavioural (SF-CB) coaching can reliably induce specific behavioural and cognitive changes. SF-CB coaching could thus be used as a methodology to experimentally induce specific changes including greater self-insight and better relations with others. Subsequent changes in brain structure or brain activity could then be observed. This has potential to be of great value to the neuroscience enterprise by providing more hard evidence for concepts such as neuroplasticity and brain-region function-specificity. It may well be that coaching can be of greater use to the field of neuroscience than the field of neuroscience can be to coaching. In this way we can address many neuromyths and misconceptions about brain-based coaching, and begin to author a more accurate and productive narrative about the relationship between coaching and neuroscience.
Introduction
T
HERE HAS BEEN a significant growth
over the past 10 years in articles, prod-
ucts and services in the coaching
industry that purport to draw on neuroscien-
tific research. There is an immediacy and
attractiveness in neuroscience that appeals
to many people. For some, neuroscience
offers the ultimate explanatory framework
from which to understand coaching. For
others neuroscience-based coaching is
a classic example of pop-science band-
wagoning with coaches, workplace trainers
and business consultants using neuroscien-
tific jargon and brain images as pseudo-
explanatory frameworks for atheoretical
proprietary coaching systems (for discussion
see Grant & Cavanagh, 2007).
The target paper in this issue provides an
opportunity to reflect on some aspects of
neuroscience-based coaching. I should state
that I am no expert in neuroscience.
My expertise (if any) lies in solution-focused
cognitive-behavioural approaches to coach-
ing, conducting coaching research, prac-
ticing evidence-based coaching with
organisations and coaching clients, and
teaching and training others in evidence-
based coaching. In addition, my undergrad-
uate and postgraduate training in psychology
taught me some skills in critical thinking,
reasoning and research. It is from this
perspective that I write.
This paper, in response to the target
paper, discusses the narrative that has
emerged in relation to the use of neuro-
science in coaching, some neuromyths and
misconceptions and explores the notions
that neuroscience provides an evidence-base
for coaching and that neurocoaching is a
unique or original coaching methodology.
The Coaching Psychologist, Vol. 11, No. 1, June 2015 31
© The British Psychological Society ISSN: 1748–1104
Response to Dias et al.
Coaching the brain: Neuro-science or
neuro-nonsense?
Anthony M. Grant
This paper discusses some myths and misconceptions that have emerged in relation to neuroscience and
coaching, and explores the notion that neuroscience provides a foundational evidence-base for coaching,
and that neurocoaching is a unique or original coaching methodology. It is found that much of the insights
into coaching purported to be delivered by neuroscience are long-established within the behavioural sciences.
Furthermore, the empirical and conceptual links between neuroscientific findings and actual coaching
practice are tenuous at best. Although at present there is no convincing empirical support for a neuroscientific
foundation to coaching, there are important ways in which coaching and neuroscience can interact. There
is good evidence that solution-focused cognitive-behavioural (SF-CB) coaching can reliably induce specific
behavioural and cognitive changes. SF-CB coaching could thus be used as a methodology to experimentally
induce specific changes including greater self-insight and better relations with others. Subsequent changes in
brain structure or brain activity could then be observed. This has potential to be of great value to the
neuroscience enterprise by providing more hard evidence for concepts such as neuroplasticity and brain-region
function-specificity. It may well be that coaching can be of greater use to the field of neuroscience than the
field of neuroscience can be to coaching. In this way we can address many neuromyths and misconceptions
about brain-based coaching, and begin to author a more accurate and productive narrative about the
relationship between coaching and neuroscience.
Keywords: neuroscience; coaching; neuromyths; brain-based coaching.
I then argue that, by providing a well-
validated methodology for creating human
change, coaching per se may well be of
greater use to the field of neuroscience as an
experimental methodology than neuro-
science per se can be to coaching.
Neuromyths and misconceptions
Neuromyths are misconceptions about the
brain that propagate when cultural or social
conditions (e.g. lack of critical thinking or
expert knowledge, unconscious biases, etc.)
inhibit rigours scrutiny (Crockard, 1996),
and can be viewed as surface markers of an
underlying social narrative.
Neuromyths arise, in part, because the
mind-brain-behaviour relationship cannot be
reduced to, or acutely represented in a
colourful computer-generated image of the
brain however impressive such images
might be. Oversimplification of these
complex relationships creates misunderstand-
ings (Howard-Jones, 2014), and such misun-
derstandings are frequently propagated by
the popular press and those who wish to use
neuroscientific language to sell their goods or
services (Beck, 2010). As Beck (2010) notes, it
is very easy to manipulate the general public’s
perception of neuroscientific findings.
Indeed, there is good research suggesting that
people find statements made with reference
to brain images and neuroscience language
more convincing than the same statements
that make no reference to the brain (McCabe
& Castel, 2008; Rhodes, Rodriguez & Shah,
2014; Weisberg et al., 2008). In short, it is diffi-
cult for those not appropriately trained in
neuroscience to fully grasp the true relevance
or veracity of research in this area.
To add further confusion, there are
significant controversies about the real
meaning of functional magnetic resonance
imaging (fMRI) a primary tool in the
neuroscientific research. The way that fMRI
data itself is statistically analysed and
reported has come under considerable criti-
cism (Vul et al., 2009), and the lack of statis-
tical power and the use of incorrect statistical
analyses has cast doubt on the validity of
many fMRI research studies (Button et al.,
2013), and this situation has fuelled a
passionate debate amongst noted experts in
the field (e.g. Diener, 2010).
The point here is that there is much
ambiguity and controversy in neuroscience
about research methodologies and the relia-
bility of findings – even amongst experts.
This ambiguity should act as an important
caution for the coaching industry and the
purchasers of coaching services, the vast
majority of who do not have the appropriate
specialised postgraduate training in neuro-
science needed to thoroughly and critically
understand and utilise the data from neuro-
scientific findings. This is not a simple area
to understand and it is very easy to over-
generalise the findings from neuroscience
research to real-life coaching practice.
Pseudo-insights from neuroscience
Indeed, the neurocoaching field is awash
with broad motherhood statements that are
purported to be ‘insights’ derived from
neuroscience. Some often-cited examples
(e.g. Rock & Schwartz, 2006; Williams, 2010)
include:
l The connections in our brains form
‘mental maps’ of reality.
l Focusing our attention on solutions or
new thinking is a better strategy for
reaching goals than focusing on analysing
problems from the past.
l If leaders want to become more effective
coaches themselves they need to learn to
stop giving unsolicited advice to people, or
if it is given, to be unattached to their ideas
and present them as options to people.
l Change is hard and people resist change.
However, all of these supposed neuro-
insights have been common knowledge
within the behavioural sciences for many
years. The notion that we hold mental
models or maps of the world in our minds
dates back though the cognitive traditions of
Beck (1987) to Korzybski (1948) and to the
ancient Greek philosophers. The idea that
change is better attained through focusing
on solutions and desired outcomes or goals
32 The Coaching Psychologist, Vol. 11, No. 1, June 2015
Anthony M. Grant
than analysing problems from the past has a
long history in psychology, and encompasses
the work of Latham and Locke (1991) and
Fishbein (1979) amongst many others. The
notion that leaders should genuinely consult
and engage in dialogue with their employees
rather than merely ordering or giving advice
has a longstanding history well before the
emergence of neuroscience (e.g. Blanchard,
1994; Locke, Schweiger & Latham, 1986);
and the idea that people find it hard to enact
change has been extensively explored in the
behavioural sciences for over 90 years (e.g.
Bandura, 1977; DiClemente & Prochaska,
1998; Schwarz, 1933).
Thus we need to ask, what new or unique
insights about coaching does neuroscience
give us that are not already evidenced
through behavioural science. One has to
conclude, that as yet, not many.
The negative impact of neuromyths in
education and management
There has also been concern that the propa-
gation of neuromyths and the inappropriate
use of neuroscientific findings have had a
negative impact on a number of areas of
practice. For example, Howard-Jones (2014)
discusses the negative impact on neuromyths
in education, ranging from the erroneous
belief that we mostly only use 10 per cent of
our brain to the (similarly erroneous) belief
that individuals learn better when they
receive information in their preferred
learning style (e.g. visual, auditory or kinaes-
thetic). Howard-Jones (2014) argues that
such neuromyths have had negative effect on
education by propagating less effective
teaching methods and inhibiting evidence-
based approaches to teaching.
Lindebaum and Jordan (2014) similarly
mount an extensive critique on neuroscien-
tific methodologies in organisational behav-
iour and management studies (which
includes neuroscience-based workplace
coaching and neuroscience-based leadership
coaching). They point out that there are very
few substantive critiques of organisational
neuroscience suggesting a degree of
groupthink, a result of an organisational
neuroscience bandwagon. They also argue
that the basic science behind organisational
neuroscience is far less rigorous than
currently advocated (due to the low statis-
tical power of some studies coupled with an
inability to locate mental phenomena accu-
rately in the brain), concluding that that the
practical implications of organisational
neuroscience research are currently over-
stated. If organisational neuroscience is to
develop, they argue, it is vital that
researchers move away from broad, general
statements and become more far specific
about the phenomena under investigation.
Clearly, caution is required in extrapolating
from general and basic neuroscientific
research to applied coaching methodologies
(Frankfurt, 2005).
Four common coaching neuromyths and
misconceptions
There are four common neuromyths and
misconceptions that sit at the core of the
neurocoaching narrative. Interestingly,
although these are often-cited arguments in
support of neurocoaching, one does not
need an in-depth understanding of neuro-
science to refute them just logic, critical
thinking and an understanding of coaching
as discipline.
1. The myth that neuroscience gives us scientific
proof that coaching ‘works’
This myth is erroneous because there are
large amounts of data in the behavioural
sciences from the 1990s onwards indicating
that coaching can help facilitate behavioural
change and enhance goal attainment and
well-being in a wide range of domains
including life coaching, leadership coaching
and in response to stress (e.g. Grant, 2003;
MacKie, 2014; Peterson, 1993; Wissbrun,
1984). Such work is peer-reviewed, conforms
to accepted scientific procedures and does
not utilise any aspect of neuroscience. In
short, there is already longstanding scientific
proof that coaching works irrespective of
what neuroscience proponents may say.
The Coaching Psychologist, Vol. 11, No. 1, June 2015 33
Neuro-science or neuro-nonsense?
2. The myth that neuroscience allows us to ‘coach
the brain’
In order for this claim to be true, propo-
nents of neurocoaching need to show how
other approaches to coaching do not involve
the coachee’s brain. Stated like this it is
obvious that all coaching involves the brain.
All coaches, irrespective of theoretical orien-
tation ‘coach the brain’!
3. The misconception of reductionism
At its core this misconception involves the
notion that we can understand complex
human behaviour by examining fMRI
images, and that human experience can be
understood by reduction to the cellular
level. This simplicity is attractive to many; in
essence it states that if you can understand
fMRI images, you can understand people.
Reinforcing this misconception is that fact
that fMRI images tend to give an illusion of
explanatory depth, with people believing
that they have a better understanding of the
mechanism underlying a behavioural
phenomenon – even when such understand-
ings are incorrect (Rhodes et al., 2014).
Thus it is easy to fall into the reductionist
trap (Cahill, 2001).
However, we cannot explain human
behaviour (or develop coaching methodolo-
gies) just by looking at, or extrapolating
from, computer-generated images that
present idealised images of brain func-
tioning. It must be remembered that fMRI
images are only surface markers of under-
lying complex brain processes that them-
selves are a response to a broad range of
external stimuli and internal psychological
and biological processes. To understand the
complexities of human behaviour (and
coaching) we need a more holistic bio-
psychosocial approach.
4. The myth that neuroscience provides the scien-
tific foundation for coaching
It has been argued that contemporary
neuroscience provides the scientific founda-
tion for coaching practice (see, for example,
Rock & Page, 2009). The idea that there was
not an already existing scientific foundation
for coaching prior to 2009 or the popular-
ising of neuroscientific language in relation
to coaching, would have come as a great
surprise to the many behavioural scientists
(e.g. Grant, 2003; Kilburg, 2001; Miller,
1990; Olivero, Bane & Kopelman, 1997;
Peterson, 1993) who had been using theory
to generate coaching-specific hypothesis,
and then testing those hypotheses through
systemic data collection and analysis facets
commonly understood as comprising the
‘scientific method’ (Wilson, 1990), a vital
part of a scientific foundation.
A foundation is commonly understood as
the base on which all else is built (Hanks,
1986). Thus if neuroscience is to provide a
scientific foundation for coaching it will
need to be able to generate unique coach-
specific theories and methodologies that can
then inform the development of unique
coaching interventions. Until this point is
reached, the best we can say is that neuro-
science can inform and augment existing
approaches to coaching.
A word of caution: Let’s get real
A word of caution is warranted at this point.
It is clear that there is little empirical data
that directly links neuroscience research to
coaching-specific outcomes, and it is clear
that there are large conceptual holes in the
arguments and conceptual frameworks
underpinning neurocoaching and in the
attempted links between neuroscience and
coaching. Thus, coaches, trainers and
consultants that use neuroscientific jargon as
a means of gaining credibility and devel-
oping an aura of scientific respectability in
order to sell their products and services run
the very real risk of having their own profes-
sional standing diminished, as well as doing
their clients and broader coaching industry a
disservice. Good, evidence-based coaching
that is solidly grounded in the behavioural
sciences does not need pseudo-neuro
psychobabble or pseudoscience to find a
market. Let’s get real and cut the hyperbole
(Frankfurt, 2005).
34 The Coaching Psychologist, Vol. 11, No. 1, June 2015
Anthony M. Grant
Final reflections and towards the future
This is not to be dismissive of neuroscience
as valid science, or dismissive of the contri-
bution that neuroscience can potentially
make to the evidence-based coaching enter-
prise. The recent and ongoing advances in
neuroscience technology and methodolo-
gies are exciting. Neuroscience has the
potential to offer great insights.
But let’s be frank about it, there’s a lot of
nonsense talked about neuroscience and
coaching. There is lots of marketing hype;
lots of sweeping statements; lots of erro-
neous reasoning, and almost quasi-religious
fervour in some quarters. This is not good
for the coaching industry or its clients, and
may well impede to the movement towards a
genuine evidence-based coaching paradigm.
The way forward?
Although at present there is no truly
convincing support for a neuroscientific
foundation to coaching, there are some
interesting ways in which coaching and
neuroscience can interact.
We now have good evidence that solu-
tion-focused cognitive-behavioural (SF-CB)
coaching can reliably enhance goal attain-
ment and induce behavioural change as well
as positively impacting on a range of psycho-
logical variables including capacity for self-
regulation, self-insight and solution-focused
thinking (Theeboom, Beersma & van
Vianen, 2013). Thus it would be valuable to
use SF-CB coaching as a methodology to
experimentally induce specific changes (e.g.
increased self-regulation; greater self-aware-
ness and self-insight; better relations with
others) and to observe (any) changes in
brain structure or brain activity. This line of
research (which should be hypothesis-
driven, rather than speculative), has the
potential to be of great value to the neuro-
science enterprise by providing more hard
evidence for concepts such as neuroplasticity
and brain-region function-specificity
In addition it would be extremely fruitful
to explore the links between the self-report
outcome measures typically used in
coaching, actual behaviour change and any
changes in brain states as recorded by neuro-
scientific methodologies such as fMRI. This
kind of holistic research has far greater
potential to make a meaningful practical
contribution to the evidence-based coaching
enterprise than much of the somewhat spec-
ulative and reductionist links that have been
drawn between fMRI images and coaching
practice to date.
It may well be that coaching can be of
greater use to the field of neuroscience than
the field of neuroscience can be to coaching.
In this way we can begin to address many
neuromyths and misconceptions about so-
called brain-based coaching, and begin to
author a more accurate and productive
narrative about the relationship between
coaching and neuroscience.
Correspondence
Anthony M. Grant PhD
Coaching Psychology Unit,
School of Psychology,
University of Sydney,
Sydney, NSW 2006,
Australia.
Email: anthony.grant@sydney.edu.au
The Coaching Psychologist, Vol. 11, No. 1, June 2015 35
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The Coaching Psychologist, Vol. 11, No. 1, June 2015 37
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Coaching as a human development methodology has been demonstrating its results for more than four decades. Even so, the level of confusion about its essence and its lack of a definitive theoretical and methodological framework has caused its effectiveness to be questioned. Although studies on coaching with neuroimaging methodologies have been developed, there is no recent evidence about the brain changes in electroencephalographic (EEG) activity during a coaching session. The present research aims to make a comparison between EEG measurements of three different conditions, namely, rumination (R), directive (DC), and non-directive coaching (NDC), during the process of problem solving and goal achievement. Our hypothesis was that the use of the meta-competencies of NDC should induce a higher activation of brain mechanisms that facilitate the insight process, therefore causing an improvement in creative capacity. Results showed significant changes in alpha and theta frequencies in the right temporal region, and alpha, theta, and gamma in the right parietal region in the NDC condition compared to other experimental conditions. The correct use of the meta-competencies of NDC facilitates the rise of insight and the generation of creativity processes at the brain level. Thus, the application of the methodological framework of the NDC was related, in a specific way, to the creativity and the development of human knowledge.
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Neuroscience provides coaches with a compelling lens through which to view their coachee’s thoughts, feelings and behaviours. However, enthusiasm for integrating neuroscience into coaching often outpaces the coach’s knowledge of the subject matter. In addition, there is no empirical evidence for the use of neuroscience within positive psychology coaching (PPC) per se. To address these concerns, this chapter considers the lessons learned from two disciplines which have scrutinised the opportunities and limitations of translating neuroscience into practice: educational neuroscience (EN) in the classroom setting and psychoeducation (PE) in the mental health setting. Opportunities exist for the thoughtful development of neuroscience-informed coaching practice including (i) the development of neuroscience-informed content for coaching conversations (the ‘what’), (ii) the development of neuroscience-informed structures or tools for the delivery of coaching (the ‘how’), and (iii) validation of coaching efficacy using neuroscience technology (e.g. testing how coaching ‘works’). Attention needs to turn towards the training of coaches in how to assess, understand and integrate neuroscientific research to ensure the continuation of evidence-based coaching practice.
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The search for talented children has a long history in sport, and finding and developing talent is an increasingly important research field. The search for (and selection of) young talent also involves the assessment of their potential for elite sports. In the last decade, talent selection has been increasingly influenced by neuroscientific testing as a way of identifying individuals with potential. It is argued that instead of relying on subjective assessments, the identification can now be measured by neuroscientific tests. Researchers have suggested that children should undergo neuroscientific testing to determine their appropriate cognitive executive functions (CEF) for elite sports. Departing from a previous empirical investigation of the field of neuroscience and talent selection, this article discusses and problematizes the production and popularisation of neuroscience in this particular area. We illustrate how representations of brain activity are legitimized and how the out-of-context tests are translated into facts about how the brain functions. Moreover, we elaborate on how the test results produce an image of indisputable facts, which are then used as prerequisites for sporting success. We argue that the mind-brain-behaviour relationship cannot be reduced to neuroscientific testing, and call for a critical investigation into the neuroscientific truth claims produced in the area of talent selection.
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Introduction: Family has been the most fundamental social institution underlying societies and human history. Divorce is one of the social issues, which often causes problems for family members and make them vulnerable. Despite all efforts, have done to date, to prevent divorce, statistics show that the divorce rate is growing day by day. Aim: The present study aims is to provide a framework for Post-divorce Coaching. The result has been categorized and presented in the three sections: 1. Definitions of coaching and Related Areas, 2. Family Coaching, 3. Post-divorce Adjustment and the coaching interventions required. Method: This is a descriptive-analytic review study. Comprehensively review the research conducted in the field of coaching. In the first phase, a total of 243 English articles and 3 registered Persian articles selected. Finally, after the final review, 84 articles chose. Results: As research in coaching is very limited, there is no record for coaching interventions to strengthen the lives of divorced people around the world. In this regard, the effectiveness of future-oriented interventions like coaching can be effective in reducing the issues caused by divorce. Therefore coaching might be a useful intervention that can play a key role in Post-Divorce adjustment. Conclusion: Although divorce has consequences for the members involved, Post-Divorce Coaching intervention can promote the quality of life in divorcees and help them manage the changes imposed by divorce so, divorce adjustment will be the result of that.
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The field of positive psychology (PP) research and practice is now 20 years old, and it has experienced significant growth since its formal launch in 1998 (Seligman, 1998; Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). It is generally acknowledged that PP is an “umbrella term” and that it covers many different topics from a diverse range of disciplines. A review of the literature by Rusk & Waters (2013) found that the most densely concentrated PP topics are life satisfaction/happiness, motivation/achievement, optimism, and organisational citizenship/fairness. In a similar vein, the field of coaching psychology (CP) has experienced significant growth in research and practice. There are now three meta-analytic studies (Theeboom, Beersma, & van Vianen, 2014; Jones, Woods, & Guillaume, 2015; Sonesh, Coultas, Lacerenza, Marlow, Benishek, & Salas, 2015) and one systematic review (Lai & McDowall, 2014) which highlight that coaching is effective, although the field could benefit from more randomised controlled trials (for example Spence & Grant, 2005).
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This chapter explores the complementarity and integration of both fields and what they have to offer to the further development of positive psychology coaching (PPC) and more practically to the "PPC." It aims to give an historical account of the simultaneous emergence of the two complementary fields, an overview of the current status, and an outline of the authors' recommendations for how the two fields may continue to be integrated. While the two fields have been defined as complementary and there are some dedicated journal articles and conference presentations on the integration of positive psychology and coaching psychology, there are limited published texts available on the combination of both approaches, PPC. Coaching for the enhancement of optimal functioning and wellbeing has existed since the late 1980s when "executive coaching" first emerged. The RAW framework can be used within one-to-one coaching, group or team coaching, or training.
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This is a preview PDF to book including foreword, preface, Chapter 1 and references. Positive Psychology Coaching in Practice provides a comprehensive overview of positive psychology coaching, bringing together the best of science and practice, highlighting current research, and emphasising the applicability of each element to coaching. With an international range of contributors, this book is a unique resource for those seeking to integrate positive psychology into their evidence-based coaching practice. Beginning with an overview of positive psychology coaching, the book includes an assessment of theories of wellbeing, an examination of mindfulness research, a guide to relevant neuroscience, and a review of a strengths-based approach. It also contains chapters that explore the application of ACT, the role of positive psychology in wellness and resilience coaching, positive leadership theory, and developmental psychological theories as they relate to coaching through significant life transitions. In each chapter, theory and research is thoroughly explored and applied directly to coaching practice and is supported with a list of relevant resources and a case study. The book concludes with the editors' views on the future directions of positive psychology coaching. Positive Psychology Coaching in Practice will be essential reading for professional coaches in practice and in training seeking to enhance their evidence-based practice; coaching psychologists; practitioners of positive psychology; and academics and students of coaching, coaching psychology, and positive psychology. Suzy Green is a clinical and coaching psychologist based in Australia. She is a leader in the fields of coaching psychology and positive psychology and is the founder of Sydney-based The Positivity Institute, dedicated to the research and application of positive psychology.
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This action research is the first reported attempt to examine the effects of executive coaching in a public sector municipal agency. Thirty-one managers underwent a conventional managerial training program, which was followed by eight weeks of one-on-one executive coaching. Training increased productivity by 22.4 percent. The coaching, which included: goal setting, collaborative problem solving, practice, feedback, supervisory involvement, evaluation of end-results, and a public presentation, increased productivity by 88.0 percent, a significantly greater gain compared to training alone. Descriptions of procedures, explanations for the results obtained, and suggestions for future research and practice are offered.
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Whereas coaching is very popular as a management tool, research on coaching effectiveness is lagging behind. Moreover, the studies on coaching that are currently available have focused on a large variety of processes and outcome measures and generally lack a firm theoretical foundation. With the meta-analysis presented in this article, we aim to shed light on the effectiveness of coaching within an organizational context. We address the question whether coaching has an effect on five both theoretically and practically relevant individual-level outcome categories: performance/skills, well-being, coping, work attitudes, and goal-directed self-regulation. The results show that coaching has significant positive effects on all outcomes with effect sizes ranging from g = 0.43 (coping) to g = 0.74 (goal-directed self-regulation). These findings indicate that coaching is, overall, an effective intervention in organizations.
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For several decades, myths about the brain - neuromyths - have persisted in schools and colleges, often being used to justify ineffective approaches to teaching. Many of these myths are biased distortions of scientific fact. Cultural conditions, such as differences in terminology and language, have contributed to a 'gap' between neuroscience and education that has shielded these distortions from scrutiny. In recent years, scientific communications across this gap have increased, although the messages are often distorted by the same conditions and biases as those responsible for neuromyths. In the future, the establishment of a new field of inquiry that is dedicated to bridging neuroscience and education may help to inform and to improve these communications.
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Presents an integrative theoretical framework to explain and to predict psychological changes achieved by different modes of treatment. This theory states that psychological procedures, whatever their form, alter the level and strength of self-efficacy. It is hypothesized that expectations of personal efficacy determine whether coping behavior will be initiated, how much effort will be expended, and how long it will be sustained in the face of obstacles and aversive experiences. Persistence in activities that are subjectively threatening but in fact relatively safe produces, through experiences of mastery, further enhancement of self-efficacy and corresponding reductions in defensive behavior. In the proposed model, expectations of personal efficacy are derived from 4 principal sources of information: performance accomplishments, vicarious experience, verbal persuasion, and physiological states. Factors influencing the cognitive processing of efficacy information arise from enactive, vicarious, exhortative, and emotive sources. The differential power of diverse therapeutic procedures is analyzed in terms of the postulated cognitive mechanism of operation. Findings are reported from microanalyses of enactive, vicarious, and emotive modes of treatment that support the hypothesized relationship between perceived self-efficacy and behavioral changes. (21/2 p ref)
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One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit. Everyone knows this. Each of us contributes his share. But we tend to take the situation for granted. Most people are rather confident of their ability to recognize bullshit and to avoid being taken in by it. So the phenomenon has not aroused much deliberate concern. We have no clear understanding of what bullshit is, why there is so much of it, or what functions it serves. And we lack a conscientiously developed appreciation of what it means to us. In other words, as Harry Frankfurt writes, "we have no theory." Frankfurt, one of the world's most influential moral philosophers, attempts to build such a theory here. With his characteristic combination of philosophical acuity, psychological insight, and wry humor, Frankfurt proceeds by exploring how bullshit and the related concept of humbug are distinct from lying. He argues that bullshitters misrepresent themselves to their audience not as liars do, that is, by deliberately making false claims about what is true. In fact, bullshit need not be untrue at all. Rather, bullshitters seek to convey a certain impression of themselves without being concerned about whether anything at all is true. They quietly change the rules governing their end of the conversation so that claims about truth and falsity are irrelevant. Frankfurt concludes that although bullshit can take many innocent forms, excessive indulgence in it can eventually undermine the practitioner's capacity to tell the truth in a way that lying does not. Liars at least acknowledge that it matters what is true. By virtue of this, Frankfurt writes, bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are.