a)plan coaching

What Is Behavioral Coaching? Explaining Key Concepts & More

Our brains are our superpowers: they give us the ability to change our behaviors, adopt new habits, and create the reality we desire. If you’re ready to build the life you really want, learn how behavioral coaching can help you create new neural pathways to reshape your view of yourself, your behaviors, and the world around you.

What Is Behavioral Coaching?

Behavioral coaching is a type of coaching informed by scientific research in various psychology disciplines, including behavioral science and neuroplasticity. A behavioral coach works with clients to help them improve their lives with a focus on behavior and habit change. This coaching process typically involves self-analysis, goal setting, action planning, and, most importantly, behavioral follow-through.

At a)plan coaching, our proprietary coaching model was built on foundational psychology concepts. It’s our belief, shared by leading scientists and researchers in the psychology space, that all humans have the innate ability to change their circumstances because all humans have the ability to “rewire” their brains. With this inherent power, we can create new realities for ourselves by setting intentions, changing our mental habits, and therefore changing the behaviors that shape our lives at home, at work, with friends, family, and ourselves.

Who Can Benefit from Behavior Coaching?

Anyone with a desire to create positive, lasting change can benefit from behavior-based coaching. a)plan’s coaches have worked with hundreds of clients in this capacity to help them achieve personal goals and career-related objectives.

From overcoming procrastination in the workplace to developing confidence to achieving work-life balance and mind management, this type of coaching encompasses both personal and professional settings. Because so much human behavior is learned, anyone can adopt new habits to create positive patterns of behavior in all aspects of life. 

Understanding the Basics: Neuroplasticity

The first step to understanding the power of behavioral coaching is to develop a basic understanding of some key findings coming from today’s world of psychology, more precisely the world of neuroplasticity.

In a sentence, neuroplasticity is the concept that the brain can change and grow through the creation and rearrangement of new neural pathways. 

A leading psychology professor at UC Berkeley, Rick Hansen, says, “The brain is the organ that learns, so it is designed to be changed by your experiences. … Mental states become neural traits. Day after day, your mind is building your brain.”

To harness this power of the brain, one must understand their own power to create new neural structures—preferably ones that favor a positive bias instead of a negative one. Humans are naturally wired to have a negativity bias, meaning adverse events or thoughts more easily surface in the brain than positive ones. Our natural inclination toward a negativity bias results from evolution. Thousands of years ago when humans were surrounded by environmental threats (think lions and tigers), negativity bias was needed for survival. In the 21st century, that is no longer the case.

Creating new neural structures takes intention and focus. As Hansen explains it, “Intense, prolonged, or repeated mental/neural activity—especially if it is conscious—will leave an enduring imprint in neural structure, like a surging current reshaping a riverbed.” This type of neural activity typically requires more than 10 seconds to build meaningful neural pathways that slowly begin to reshape your view of the world and your habits.

Bringing Neuroplasticity to the Coaching World

With this basic understanding of the psychology behind the human brain’s remarkable ability to shift and mold with intentionality, let’s now talk about behavioral coaching, specifically at a)plan coaching. As mentioned earlier, our proprietary coaching approach brings these leading psychology trends to the coaching world—both through our methods and our technology. 

Behavioral change and a)plan’s coaching approach

At a)plan, we believe that defining what you really want is the first step to all meaningful change. For those seeking behavioral change, this includes identifying the behaviors and habits you want to develop in your life. 

For example, instead of simply focusing on what you don’t want …

  • “I don’t want to drink alcohol every night.”
  • “I don’t want to continue to gain weight.”

… we believe the power lies in speaking the habits you do want:

  • “I want a healthy relationship with alcohol and to consume in moderation.”
  • “I want to eat foods that make my body feel good and help me achieve my goal weight.”

Once you know what you truly want, we help clients take action by setting clear, actionable, and achievable goals and creating MAPs (Multiple Action Plans) to help you achieve them. MAPs are a foundational concept within our coaching approach. This process reveals some key things in yourself, such as mental blocks, bad habits, and things that will require work to improve.

Because “prolonged, or repeated mental/neural activity” (as mentioned by Rick Hansen) is required to rewire your brain and change your behaviors, a)plan clients have consistent contact with their coaches. Our coach engagement structures include weekly calls with unlimited chat support with your coach between calls. This puts a round-the-clock focus on the coaching experience, which we find is required to create lasting change.

Behavioral change and a)plan’s technology

Assisting with the coaching experience—and a very critical part of our method—we also use custom technology. a)plan’s new desktop and mobile coaching app are critical supplements/extensions to our behavioral coaching approach.

Within the app, clients track things like gratitude, intentions, and accomplishments. Paying attention to these as a daily or weekly practice puts the creation of positive neural structures into action. They require focus and intention and are proven to help create a positive bias over time.

Coaching sessions are largely informed by a client’s responses to these weekly prompts within the app, helping to double down on what’s working. This works especially well because clients can make a note of anything they want to unpack in coaching sessions at any time between sessions, so opportunities to improve aren’t forgotten or missed.

Using this real-life data results in meaningful conversations with your behavioral coach that chart the path for change and life improvement. Actionable steps reveal themselves based on what you’re seeing or feeling in your life. The act of engaging with our app alone is a positive behavior that can be transformative.

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Behavioral Coaches at a)plan

What one might consider behavioral life coaching, we at a)plan often call whole-person coaching with a focus on behavior and habit change. We understand that a person’s behaviors result from their thoughts, feelings, and experiences and that changing a habit in one area often requires adjustment in another. 

For example, if a client wants to change their behavior of eating junk food, it might require an in-depth look at why the client turns to unhealthy food. Reasons may include stress at work, low self-esteem, or toxic relationships. In order to change the behavior, the client and their coach must tackle the underlying issues, taking a whole-person approach to behavioral change. 

All a)plan coaches are trained to use our proprietary behavior-based coaching method to help clients create meaningful and lasting change. Our coaches use proven strategies to help clients understand and practice positive behaviors that rewire their brains and impact their lives for the better.

Match with an Experienced Behavioral Coach

Taking charge of your life requires intent and effort, but with the support of an experienced behavioral coach from a)plan, you can truly set yourself up for success. Through conversation and guided activities, our coaches provide valuable insight into how best to cultivate and maintain good habits while helping you break bad ones. Working with the right behavioral coach can help put the power back in your hands to live the life you want to lead. 

Use our coach matching survey to start your journey today and find the right coach for you at a)plan. This easy-to-complete process considers the behaviors and habits you want to change and provides personalized suggestions for a)plan coaches fit for you. Complete the survey today and schedule a free compatibility call with a coach to take the first step toward reframing your thoughts, rewiring your brain, and changing your life for the better.

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