The neuro-language in a life coaching session

The neuro-language in a life coaching session

Part I.


The language requires us to create and use signals in a flexible way, which researchers claim to be the reason why language is specific to humans. Except literal meaning language convey a lot more depending on the manner it is transmitted: emotions, expressions, clusters of words, idioms, tone of voice, lexis, metaphors, gestures and other signals of the body, and even silence. All of these mentioned have their commonly known meaning, and mean something to an individual recipient in a coaching session. The recipient is called a coachee. The role of the well-prepared coach is to be aware of language functions and importance, weight of words specifically in a coaching session. Words have power, words convey more than just their literal meaning and this is what e.g. a also non-native users of English, as coaches are, should consider while coaching. This is how their real professionalism is effectively expressed and assessed.

It is worth exploring the “neuro” aspect in coaches everyday practice and I intend to do so in the article. The “neuro” aspect involves brain, its activity and how it reacts to what “it hears”. The emotion-laden words can shape our thinking, shape our reasoning and afterwards may lead definite actions.

The set of known words referring to affective concepts is referred to as emotional lexicon. A distinction is relevant between emotional words that directly denote affective states or describe feelings words with emotional connotations that do not convey specific emotional states (Pavlenko, 2008)[1].

“By holding a positive and optimistic [word] in mind, a human stimulates frontal lobe activity. This area includes specific language centers that connect directly to the motor cortex[2] responsible for moving you into action.”

Figure 1. Lobes and Language; course:

That is why the language causing the emotions tends to be called “neuro-language” may be used by coaches as the most effective method to achieve namely change a lot in our life. The ultimate outcome is to be evoked by the character and tone of entire communication conveyed to the receiver (i.e. a client namely a coachee) in every coaching session introduced by proper messages of positive association.

Positive words encourage cognitive brain function, while negative words activate our fight-or-flight response, which slows cognitive function. They say: “a single word has the power to influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress.”

In this article (in subsequent parts) the reader will find the answers to the following question:

  • what actually neurolinguistics and neuro-language are,
  • how neuro-language works in a coaching session,
  • what benefits of neuro-language in a coaching session are,
  • what methods and techniques of neuro-language coaching are most effective,

and the reader will also learn:

–     what impact of neuro-language exerts on coachee and

–     how to deal with poor performance of a coachee,

–     how we can create brain-friendly and elevating communication.

Additionally the differences between neuro-language coaching and neuro-linguistic coaching will be displayed. I will also put forward a slight change in nomenclature in neuro language family. At least, this will be an attempt to do so. There will a few articles in the series. But first let me start with introducing and analyzing basic notions.

Part II.

What is neurolinguistics and neuro-language?

The brain, a complex organ that controls and regulates every process within our body, unsurprisingly plays a crucial role in producing and understanding the language we use to communicate. Neurolinguistics is the study of how language is represented in brain, what happens in our brains as we learn, and what happens as we apply information (knowledge) in daily life, and also how and where the language we speak, understand, read, and write is stored. Our brains store information in multiple systems of brain cells (neurons and glial cells). These neural networks eventually connect with the areas of the brain that regulate our movements (including those required and responsible for speech production) as well as our internal and external sensations (sounds, sights, touch, and those that come from our movements). The connections within the networks can be robust or weak, and the information that a cell sends out can stimulate some of its neighbors while inhibiting others. Each time a connection is used, it strengthens. Acquiring knowledge or learning a skill happens through forming new connections and/or through modifying existing connections’ strengths. This is the plasticity of brain. And this is exactly what can be seen in these multiple networks of locally and distantly linked brain cells. They can continue to change throughout our lifetimes, allowing us to learn and (to some extent) recover from brain traumas.

Regardless of what language we speak the majority of the areas of our brain that are critical for both spoken language are on the left side of our cortex (the left hemisphere). We know this because aphasia[3] is almost always caused by left hemisphere impairment, not by right hemisphere injury, no matter what language we speak. Because using language (and thinking in a certain language) requires quick integration of information that is stored and/or processed in many different brain regions, a substantial part of the brain (the ‘white matter[4]) consists of fibers that connect diverse areas. The areas on the right side are important for effective communication and understanding what is said.

If, for instance, someone is bilingual but did not acquire both languages from birth, her/his right hemisphere could be slightly more involved in a second language than it is in their first language. Our brains are relatively malleable i.e. their organization depends on experiences as much as on genetic traits. In this article I will concentrate on the first mentioned namely experience and received verbal stimulus (sound of words, evoked associations, their literal and non-literal meaning).

Neuro-language coaching is an effective teaching-learning method that is supposed to smoothly transfer language knowledge from Language Coach to Language Coachee with long-term effects, facilitated by brain-friendly coaching and its principles as vehicles. It is a method and approach in which hard principles of neuroscience are merged with coaching principles (goal setting, action setting, empathy, motivation, structure time, a defined period to achieve concrete results) and transported into the language learning process to help language coachees learn better, more efficiently, and faster. The neurolanguage coaching approach is enabled by brain-based materials that aid in the development of a systematic learning method.

We all know that no two brains are the same, thus neurolanguage coaching helps fit to clients’ needs without books, but with clear and structured goals. This method helps establish the ideal learning environment for the brain, resulting in faster, more efficient, long-term, and cost-effective results. There have been individuals who are quite frustrated, who are ashamed and nearly frightened to speak another language. Neurolanguage coaching is about incorporating coaching, science, and neuroscience into the language learning process to mitigate the fears. Neurolanguage coaching tries to utilize all the individual learning styles with the assumption to pinpoint them all along the language coaching way. This is coach’s role to spot them and use while further coaching. This is where neuroscience comes into play and is effective. Brain-based coaching ensures constant awareness of how brain produces connections, hardwires information, and breaks language learning bad habits down, among other things.

Neurolanguage coaching harnesses also coaching models and tools as coaching strategies and tools. This method lets to establish the ideal learning conditions for brain, resulting in faster, more efficient, long-term and cost-effective results. This approach proves that it is all about having coaches who have been trained to understand how the brain functions, learns, how we correlate and connect the two languages, and how embarrassment or fear can shut the brain down.

Part III.

How does neuro-linguistic coaching work in (life) coaching sessions? – coming soon

[1] Pavlenko, A. (2008). Emotion and emotion-laden words in the bilingual lexicon. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 11(2), 147–164.

[2] motor cortex – is the neuro network that connects the brain’s left and right halves. Without the motor cortex, a person would have a tough time associating words with speech. The right hemisphere of the brain is where a human’s visual and spatial centers ara. When a person sees a word on a piece of paper, it then travels through this neutral network where the two language centers decode it. Researchers now believe that the motor cortex could be to blame if a person is having trouble with language and speech.

[3] aphasia is an inability to comprehend or formulate language because of damage to specific brain regions.

[4] white matter refers to areas of the central nervous system (CNS) that are mainly made up of myelinated axons, also called tracts. Long thought to be passive tissue, white matter affects learning and brain functions, modulating the distribution of action potentials, acting as a relay and coordinating communication between different brain regions.

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