effectively with others and our gut brains
to take risks when faced with challenges.
What does this mean for those who
coach leadership? Improving leadership
skills means encouraging the ability to in-tegrate
this information. By developing
this ability, managers can make better-informed
decisions as a result. However,
a roadblock to improving this ability is
our innate tendency to dismiss informa-tion
from our emotional brains. We all
know the unease we’ve experienced when
the team goes ahead with a decision, even
though we feel in our gut that another
strategy would be better. Yet, we usually
hold back from voicing our dissent because
we can’t find the words to justify our feel-ings.
Under the pressures of the business
world, we are quick to overrule our fast,
but non-verbal emotional brains when
we are unable to immediately express our
feelings using the language of our rational
brains. Put simply, we are unwilling to take
the time to translate these sensations.
Until recently, best practices in leadership
have called for impartiality and rationality
in making tough decisions. But accord-ing
to the perspective described here, our
visceral and emotional responses play
a fundamental role in influencing our
thoughts and behaviours. How, then, does
this affect leadership coaching?
As an HR professional tasked with
coaching leaders in your organization, en-courage
your executives to develop insight
into their emotional brains using the fol-lowing
■■ Build confidence in listening to our guts
and hearts. They are educated advisors
that only grow wiser over a career of
varied experiences and challenges.
■■ Pay attention to social and emotional cues.
These are critical for productive relation-ships
with colleagues and subordinates.
■■ Practice taking time to “translate” the
activity of our emotional brains into the
language of our rational brains. Through
repetition, expressing our gut reactions
to others will become easier and faster.
Having insight into our multiple brains
is key to training the leaders of today and
tomorrow. With effective coaching, leaders
can improve their ability to make decisions
that are consistent with their hearts, guts
and heads. n
Carlos Davidovich, MD, MBA is vice presi-dent,
Executive Coaching at Optimum Talent.
Suzanne Hood, Ph.D. is a scientific writer
HRPATODAY.CA ❚ JULY/AUGUST 2014 ❚ 55