As previously stated, the style of coaching we are advocating tends to be humanistic, developmental, systemic, non-directive, and therapeutic. These describe a means toward an end, and the end result must always be achievement of the client's goals.
In this chapter we explore the legitimate place that hypnosis holds in a transpersonal approach to coaching. In particular, we look at the following ways of integrating hypnotic strategies and principles into coaching. Transpersonal coaching incorporates the client's imaginal capacities through engagement of evocative metaphors, images, and creative modalities within the trance state. This liberates free-flow thinking and right-brain processing, yielding access to unconscious processing.
1. Suggestion and suggestive techniques
2. Guided meditation or guided imagery
5. Age-progression and age-regression in coaching
6. Dream work
Coaching and hypnosis
A working paper by the British Psychological Society (225) suggests integrating the theoretical concepts and strategies applied in hypnotherapy and adapting them to the needs of coaching. It also proposes coining the term 'coaching hypnosis' when referring to hypnosis within the coaching arena to distinguish it from therapy. (226)
'Coaching hypnosis' may be referred to as the deliberate use of hypnotic strategies and principles as an adjunct to accepted coaching process.
First it will be instructive to remind the reader that, although hypnosis can be used as a relaxation procedure, hypnosis is not the same thing as relaxation, and relaxation is not even necessarily a part of hypnosis. Hypnosis can be carried out with the individual being physically active, open-eyed, focusing on the external environment and with no suggestions of relaxation. (227,228) Banyai and colleagues have reported on a form of active-alert hypnosis which has proven successful in their psychotherapy practice. (229)
Hypnosis can be very effective within the context of life or executive coaching. For example, hypnosis as well as relaxation techniques are used to help clients relax and lower stress/anxiety, enhance performance, anger management and reduce stress-related symptoms such as tension headaches. (230)
"When appropriate, hypnosis can be used within coaching in a similar way that relaxation and imagery techniques are applied in assisting to reduce performance anxiety and stress." (231)
Hypnosis is a valuable tool in the coaching process, often leading clients to positive coaching breakthroughs. (232)
Hypnosis and theta brain wave frequency
Hypnosis and mindfulness generate theta frequency mental activity, the same state as we experience in REM sleep when we are dreaming.
"We know that the neuroscience of mindfulness and hypnosis is parallel, causing changes in brain activation of the same magnitude. Both feature cortical inhibition as revealed by slowed EEG theta waves, and both show higher levels of activity in areas where theta is prominent, such as the frontal cortex and especially the anterior cingulated cortex." (233)
The anterior cingulated cortex (ACC) has been linked to monitoring task performance and the modulation of arousal during cognitively demanding tasks. (234) In other words, this part of the brain decides when to pay attention to the outside world (task-oriented) and when to focus on the internal world (introspection). Both hypnosis and mindfulness...
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