Mind-Body Connection

Mind-Body Connection

A – Z Coaching and Mentoring – This week’s extract explores Listening – the different levels and how to ask better coaching questions depending on what you’ve heard.

Don’t forget if you have a special request for a definition of a coaching term or principle, just let us know! Perfect for anyone studying for an ILM Coaching & Mentoring qualification, or as a refresher for experienced coaches.


Mind-body connection – The physical body (such as nutrition, exercise and posture) can have a positive or negative impact on mental state.

As a coach it is really useful to know this principle and here are some practical applications:

  • Encourage the client to act ‘as if’ they are a particular type of person. For example, if they are lacking confidence, ask them to move, sit or stand as if they are a person who has confidence. By adopting the physiology of a confident person, the mind-body connection principle suggest that the confident thinking and state will follow.
  • If an unhelpful emotion begins to emerge from a client, take a short break. When your client gets up from their chair they will change their physiology making it harder to maintain the unwanted emotion. They will take in a deeper breath as they stand up, releasing additional oxygen to the brain. Their eyes will look upwards as they stand, which may help them to move away from emotional reaction and see things more clearly.
  • Go for a walk whilst coaching. The forward momentum of walking can support forward thinking and energy feels like it is being more directed into the future. The reduced level of eye contact can make it easier to ask and answer challenging questions. The increased rate of breathing delivers more oxygen to the brain to promote learning. New environments can release new thoughts and options. The wider field of vision can relax the mind, allow thoughts to pass more freely and create space for new ideas to emerge.

Taken from the A-Z Coaching Handbook by Clare Smale where you will find a comprehensive A-Z, plus a full list of references.

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