Mind Matters

Your brain controls your mind and body, and to that extent your thoughts and well-being. A popular study from the University of Michigan’s Psychology Department also shows that your thoughts contribute to your success. So doesn’t it make sense to understand—to control—our mind better?

Everyone has 24 hours a day. Some people struggle through the day, feeling like they don’t have enough hours. Then there are an exceptional few, who seem to have it all figured out. What makes these people different? They have full control over their mind, and they use it to their advantage.

Mind Coaching: a definition

Mind coaching is the practice of improving a person’s mental strength to achieve better performance in different aspects of life. It helps participants discover what’s preventing them from achieving their goals, whether consciously or unconsciously.
It might sound like some feel-good touchy feely process to you, but you’ll quickly find out that’s not the case once you work with a certified coach. Mind coaching programs can be emotionally draining. They’re designed to uncover the participant’s limiting beliefs, build focus, and increase confidence, all while maintaining peak performance even in unexpected situations.

Mind coaching is not the same as therapy. While some psychologists can be mind coaches, not all mind coaches are licensed psychologists. They have different qualifications and expertise.
Mind coaching improves a person’s physical and mental performance. Psychotherapy is the process of resolving past trauma—that may or may not affect the patient’s current life.

Practical Applications

You hire trainers to help them get you in shape, and financial advisors to help you grow and manage your money. Similarly, you can get a mind coach to help you achieve your goals faster.
Why goals? Consider people’s New Year’s Resolutions. According to a research from the University of Scranton, 45% of Americans usually make resolutions, but only 8% are successful in achieving them.
The motivation people had when creating their resolutions weren’t enough to sustain them throughout the year. The culprit? The brain and its willpower. See, your brain has two systems. System one governs habits and the automatic processes that keep your body functioning properly. System two governs the voluntary part of your mind. It processes information from system one, makes decisions, and chooses how your attention and self-control is allocated.

As you might’ve guessed, system two is powerful but it has its limits. Constant distractions and a never-ending to do list make it hard for your system two brain to focus on one thing. That’s why sometimes, you can’t help but open Facebook to check for messages when you should be working on an important project. It’s the same reason dieters find it hard to give up their comfort foods. The eating habits in system one of their brain are sabotaging their efforts.

An experienced mind coach can identify the bad habit loops in your brain, and give you the techniques to alter them little by little. Your coach can also help you focus on the right things, and address unexpected conflicts that may arise.

Mind coaching isn’t just for athletes and high-powered CEOs. The ability to stay focused, resilient, and calm under pressure can help people challenged in:
•    Management and leadership
•    Personal development and goal setting
•    Sales and negotiation
•    Education
•    Health and fitness
•    Stage performance
•    Business
•    Career growth

Mind Coaching: a real-world example

Johanna Konta, a previously unknown player is now one of Britain’s rising tennis stars after beating several high-ranking players in one year. Her secret? She’s been working with mind coach Juan Coto since October 2014.

But she wasn’t always a consistent player. Despite her raw talent, Konta is known to wobble under pressure in some matches, resulting in successive losses at Wimbledon. When they started working together, Coto tried to understand the thoughts that plagued her during the game. Over the course of her tour, and through weekly two hour sessions with Coto, she improved her self-confidence and mental resilience. She’s now one of the top five women to watch in the French open, right up there with Serena Williams.

Breathing exercises, positive visualization, and trigger words were just some of the strategies Coto used to build Konta’s mental strength. According to him, instead of visualizing a winning match, it’s better to visualize a smaller win, like stepping on a corner where you want to serve. Trigger words like “keep fighting” also helped Konta focus on things she can control during the game—like her effort and attitude. Doing so removes the heavy burden of winning, which can be distracting.

Yes, you can coach yourself to change for the better. But it’s challenging to keep yourself accountable, change your way of thinking, and do things differently at the same time. An unbiased third-party can help and this is where mind coaching comes in.

Charley Mendoza

Charley Mendoza is a freelance writer covering business, careers, and personal development. When she's not stringing words, she's either busy cooking, or checking off crazy ideas from her bucket list.

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