[Published in the October 2013 INLPTA Journal, Issue Number 38]
Bringing the Neuroscience of Multiple Brains to NLP
In previous INLPTA Journal articles we introduced our work
on mBIT (multiple Brain Integration Techniques) and its links to and
connection with NLP and behavioural modelling. We described how Neuroscience
has uncovered that we have complex, adaptive and functional neural networks, or
what the scientists in the new fields of Neuro-cardiology and
Neuro-gastro-enterology are calling ‘brains’, in both the heart and gut
regions. We went on to describe the results of our behavioural modelling work
on the core competencies of these brains, work that was deeply informed by the
Neuroscience, and that ultimately generated a suite of powerful yet simple new
techniques and insights, that we have collectively labelled as mBIT and
built into an elegant and empowering new coaching, leadership and personal
transformation model. We also discussed our new book, ‘mBraining – Using
your multiple brains to do cool stuff’, which is in effect the text book
for the new field of mBIT, and in which you can find detailed examples,
case studies and step by step instructions for the mBIT Techniques.
In this article we’d like to explore a key insight and distinction from mBIT. NLP Trainers and Practitioners who have completed our mBIT Coach Certification workshops describe this insight as profound and have highlighted it as a valuable addition to their NLP skillset.
Coaching to Emergence
In NLP there is a strong focus on Outcomes, and in particular ‘Well-formed Outcomes’. This is one area that really differentiates mBIT from traditional NLP. While we certainly still utilize the ‘Present State to Desired Outcome’ model to direct the initial stages of the mBIT Coaching process, we do not set this as our ultimate guiding tool.
problems we have cannot be solved
Isn’t it obvious that when a Client presents to you, and you ask them for a desired outcome, you are actually asking them to define an outcome from an existing problem state and an existing way of organizing their world that has lead them to the current issue in first place? As Einstein so perspicaciously pointed out, you actually need a different level of systemic organization to solve your problem, and indeed to even articulate a wiser outcome that will help overcome or dissolve the problem.
From our modelling work on multiple brain integration (mBIT) we have found that the majority of peoples’ (and organizations’) issues arise from how they are using their multiple brains. Issues and problems appear to be largely due to a lack of integration of the three brains or an inappropriate use or sequence in how the neural networks are used to generate the issue. To make this more concrete, let’s explore a case study example from our book ‘mBraining’.
On the surface Craig C is a relatively successful executive. He occupies a senior position in a large organization and is valued for his insights and analytical skills. Craig came to us for coaching because, though his life appears to be successful on the surface, he suffers from an inability to form deep and lasting relationships both at work and in his personal life. In the work context, Craig is highly regarded by his peers and fellow team members, but during our mBIT coaching session together he admitted, “I think one of my challenges is I don’t have a lot of passion as a leader. I’m not a very passionate person. To be honest, I don’t think I really inspire my team very much. I’m really good at quickly seeing what needs to be done, but in many ways I don’t seem to be included in the way the team relates together. I just don’t feel this team spirit thing everyone talks about. I seem to be missing something, but I don’t know what it is.”
Craig’s issue is a classic case of the head intelligence being used to the exclusion of the heart and gut intelligence. Without the use of heartfelt skills of connection, desire, and passion he is unable to build and form strong emotional bonds with people. There is no heart in what he does, or how he does it. People notice this unconsciously and can’t relate to him easily. Inspiration requires heart based intelligence, which Craig lacks.
Craig also made the comment that, “Sometimes it’s hard to get motivated. I know what to do, and I’m good at it. But getting moving isn’t always easy.” Once again, his over reliance on his preferred head intelligence means that he lacks engagement with the gut intelligence required for motivated action. A challenge for Craig is that without the integration with his heart and gut brains he can be prone to experiencing a sense of meaninglessness to life. With people like Craig, they can end up finding themselves living inauthentically, since the decisions in their lives are not connected to their own deep values. In our experience, people who live mostly from their heads at the exclusion of the other two brains can be very adept at rationalization and will come up with valid sounding reasons at maintaining their status-quo, but deep down when and if they manage to connect with their other two intelligences they get a sense that all is not right.
Neural Integration Constraints (NIC’s)
In our modeling work we have found there are five major classes of issues that arise for people when their brains are not aligned or integrated fully. These are known in the field of mBIT as mBIT Integration Constraints.
The five classes of mBIT Integration Constraints are:
1. When one intelligence is used to the exclusion of the others
2. When one intelligence swamps or overrides the others
3. When one intelligence is used inappropriately to do the job or prime function of the others
4. When one or more of the three intelligences are in conflict or antagonism with each other
5. When the intelligences are working together but are used in the wrong sequence
What we have found is that when the multiple brains are not aligned, not congruent and are operating from one or more of the above constraints, the patterns of behaviour indicated by the problem state are usually obvious. However, we’ve also discovered that if you ask the Client to articulate an outcome from this state, they typically bring the same neural constraint processing to the outcome. And what we are ultimately after in mBIT is about bringing a greater level of emergent and generative wisdom to the Client’s world. So rather than coaching to desired outcome, we instead coach to emergent wisdom. Let us explain…
The mBIT Roadmap, Highest Expressions and Wisdom
The mBIT Roadmap is an explicit framework that outlines a clear developmental path when working with the three brains (head, heart and gut). Alignment and integration requires a number of steps and functions. It needs communication between the multiple brains and this must be performed in an optimal sequence. The brains need to be brought into congruence and this is done through what we call the ‘Highest Expression’ of each of the brains’ prime functions. And all of this needs to be facilitated through a framework of wisdom.
The consciousness of Highest Expression
One of the many powerful models emerging from our research work suggests that each of our brains has what is known as a ‘Highest Expression’. This is an emergent competency that expresses what it means to be truly and deeply human. It represents the highest, most optimized and adaptive class of intelligence or competency of each brain. The Highest Expressions of each brain are:
What’s also crucially important is that these Highest Expressions are only accessed and activated when the Client is in an optimum state of neurological balance, or what is known as ANS Balance (Autonomic Nervous System Balance) and involves a process of ‘autonomic coherence’. This is when they are neither too stressed nor too relaxed, but are in a ‘flow state’. It makes sense that unless the Client is in a neurological flow state, their perceptions of any particular issue or situation along with their subsequent decision-making will be impaired by contrast.
What we have found is that when a Client is facilitated up the Roadmap, when their neural networks are operating from a state of ANS Balance, when the three brains are communicating together, when the NIC’s (Neural Integration Constraints) are removed and all three intelligences are congruently aligned and operating through their Highest Expressions, that a completely different quality emerges for the person. A greater level of wisdom and intuitive insight is brought forth in how they experience themselves, their world, the problem and the emergent outcome they are after. From this new way of being and knowing, from the wiser ontology and epistemology that emerges, the sorts of outcomes they now come up with could not have been predicted from the start. And represent a truly wiser and more generative way of organising their world.
Again, to make this concrete, let’s share an example. In one coaching session, we were working with a Client who presented with an issue about motivation around a business outcome. He was a successful business person, running his own training company, but had repeatedly failed to motivate himself to complete the documentation and application for a National accreditation for one of his training programmes. Normally he was a very motivated individual and had no issues with procrastination, but in this one situation he could not find the drive to follow through and finish what he’d started. We began by eliciting the present state and the initially articulated desired outcome. We then began coaching him up the mBIT Roadmap. We started with Balanced Breathing (described in earlier INLPTA articles and in our book mBraining) to get him into ANS Balance. This was followed by getting him to communicate with his three brains to find what their intentions and experience was around the issue. Next, using what is called the mBIT Foundational Sequence we worked to bring his neural networks into congruence and alignment and followed this with accessing the Highest Expressions. What emerged was something that none of us, including the Client, could have predicted. The Client started quietly sobbing and shared with us that the issue at its deepest level was about forgiveness, and that from this new way of experiencing the issue, he was able to now deeply and truly bring that forgiveness to himself and his life. We then ran this concept of forgiveness through the multiple brains in their Highest Expressions, and at the end of this process the Client now knew exactly what and how to achieve his wiser emergent outcome. Subsequently, on follow up, the Client both completed the accreditation, and has found a new way of being has opened up for him, and that the Coaching session indeed made a transformational difference in his life.
What we want to note in this example and in the concepts and principles that underlay the idea of ‘Coaching to Emergence’, is how an unacknowledged and deeply intuitive issue was uncovered, that would never have emerged if we’d simply focused on the stated desired outcome of motivation towards finishing a business outcome. As NLP Practitioners, we could have used a number of techniques such as Anchoring, Timelines, Submodalities etc. to help the Client become motivated to achieve their stated (and well-formed) outcome. But their ontology would not have changed. There would not have been greater wisdom bought to their world. And the way in which they utilise their neural networks or patterns of Neural Integration Constraining would not have necessarily been brought to a more generative way of processing their world.
mBIT and NLP - The mBIT Call to Action
NLP and mBIT work beautifully together and are incredibly complementary. While NLP is about behavioural excellence and understanding how people structure their subjective experience, mBIT is about how people do the neural syntax of their lives and how they can align for greater wisdom.
But ultimately, the field of mBIT is about creating a world that is worth living. This is what mBIT Coaches do, they help Clients to ‘evolve their world’. The issues that people face in their lives and the resultant effects collectively in the world are largely due to lack of integration at a head, heart and gut level and to the brain’s of the world not operating from Highest Expressions of Compassion, Creativity and Courage. They all need to work together, and with the methodology of mBIT we can easily educate and facilitate people across the planet, individually and collectively to live wiser lives.
As we say in the final sentence in our book mBraining, “Let’s all work together to make a wise and generative difference.”
Grant Soosalu is an international leadership consultant, trainer and writer with backgrounds and expertise in Leadership, Coaching, Psychology, NLP, Behavioral Modeling and Applied Physics.
Marvin Oka is a highly sought after international consultant and key-note speaker specializing in leading edge behavioral change technologies and research.
mBIT and NLP >