- 06 Nov
Do The Coaching Tango
Humans impact each other through a number of means, one of which is the limbic system.
If you don’t already know; the limbic system is a set of brain structures that supports a variety of functions, including our emotions.
Unlike the circulatory system, which is ‘closed loop’, the limbic system is ‘open loop’, meaning that it’s impacted from the outside. What happens to mine can impact yours if we’re in the same room. We go into the same limbic signature. This is known as limbic resonance or “limbic tango”.
When we’re in any kind of strong emotional state, like empathic harmony, joy, calm, fear, anxiety or anger, other people will begin to experience the same state. It doesn’t make a difference if it’s resourceful or limiting, we’ll start to tango.
According to Daniel Goleman, a leading expert in emotional intelligence, one of the most potent human states is fear. When we walk into a session anxious or unsure, no matter how well we might pretend we’re fine, our clients will begin to feel it too. That fear shuts down higher brain functioning, the right prefrontal lobe kicks in, and both our clients and we become more error prone. We’re no longer able to make good decisions and we focus more on problems than solutions.
On the other hand, as our happiness levels go up, so does our brain function. We access the left frontal lobe of the brain, which allows us to see the big picture and we come up with effective new ideas. The great news is, Goleman has found love and inspiration to be even more potent than fear, so we’re already ahead of the game.
We have a responsibility to our clients to be in the best state possible, even if we’re good at masking our feelings. There’s a leadership opportunity here. If our limbic systems are going to tango with those around us, let’s be conscious about where we’re leading people. Let’s practice greater self-awareness and self-management. When we do that and show up at our best we positively impact our clients and all those we encounter, leading the way toward higher outcomes and a better future all around.
About the Author
Justina Vail Evans
Justina is co-owner and program director of Envision Coach Training, serving the company in multiple roles including co-designer and training instructor. She is also co-owner of Envision Global Leadership, a leadership development company, and owner of LifeWorks. Justina is a Master Certified Coach, hypnotherapist, grief recovery specialist and master NLP practitioner.