Learn How to Listen to Gut Instinct When Coaching

by Coaching Out of the Box

Most situations one encounters lead to an initial gut feeling, whether it is meeting a new person or making an important decision. Deep down, the automatic body systems provide detailed information into how the body feels the situation should be handled. Whether or not a person listens to this initial reaction can depend on a number of factors, including their pre-disposition to “gut feelings”. These feelings can be associated with making snap decisions and lacking in evidence to support, which seems illogical to some, but others rely on this intuition in almost every circumstance. Neither one is inherently right for everyone, but there are times when instinct can play an important role in communication and relationship techniques, as well as providing insight into positive outcome potentials. Although there is not enough research to concretely prove how “gut instinct” works, it is acknowledged to exist and provides us with an additional tool to use in coaching. Utilize these instincts to help guide conversation and ultimately progress the relationship and outcomes for clients:

  1. Clear the mind of distractions. If this requires relaxation, try and calm the mind prior to a session with a client by meditating or focusing activities. A cluttered mind can block natural instincts with distraction. This technique can also be useful for the client themselves prior to beginning.
  2. Listen to the first thing that enters the mind – it is often right. It doesn’t even necessarily need to feel in line with the thought process at the time, but don’t discount it based on this.
  3. Focus on how the body reacts to individual options. If one option seems to feel more relaxing than the other, this is often the body’s intuition providing an answer.
  4. Learn to understand different body responses in clients as well. Reading facial expressions, increased fidgeting or clenching can provide valuable insight into the client’s gut response to things as well – they may not even realize they have these responses at the time.
  5. Use common sense in deciding whether the responses are based on the options presented or the situation itself.
  6. Listen to a client’s use of words about their situation – do they use words like “should”? If so, have them explain why they feel they should and what their instincts tell them.
  7. Take time to reflect. After a meeting or when trying to determine a course of action, take time out to quietly reflect on the situation and options. It may take a few minutes to process everything or it may take longer, but give enough time for the brain and guts to communicate before proceeding.
  8. Build up trust with the gut instincts provided. Every time they prove to be right, keep track of it. Learning to listen to and follow the body’s natural instinct will help with understanding how it can be beneficial in future situations.

Instinct or intuition is often cast aside in favor of logical reasoning, since it is based on a natural, but inconclusive bodily response. However, totally ignoring intuition can be eliminating a viable option on the basis of having no concrete physical support. The best solution is to consider intuitive responses as well as logical processes to provide the most viable options to solve any problems.

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