Leadership and the Wisdom of the Body

Posted by on Jul 1, 2013 in Motivation | 2 comments

The Science of Change

Leaders who are working to change a habit or improve interactions with people, or otherwise develop leadership capacities must do more than read a book. Change is a mind/body experience. Most people who want to change take the cognitive approach; they plan and reframe thoughts to stimulate action, but there is another, often overlooked, approach called somatic training that provides a powerful access to change.

The word somatic simply refers to the body.  Somatic leadership training is based the principle of mind/body integration. Mind/body practices such as centering, provide the basis for change and growth.

As a coach trained in somatic principles, I often introduce somatic practices to support the development of communication skills. To overcome conditioned responses that block effective communication, my clients learn how to prepare for meetings by centering their bodies and framing their thoughts. They find that shifting the body actually creates a new, embodied context for a shift in communication.

To demonstrate the power of somatic practices, we can look to competitive sports.  Just imagine a football team whose players are wandering around while the opposing team hikes the ball. What would happen? The unprepared team would miss the tackle leaving the opposing team open to score a touchdown. Like a football player whose stance indicates he is ready for play, somatic practices support leaders by giving them mind/body tools to facilitate wise, in-the-moment leadership actions. While athletes are trained in using their bodies as a primary tool, leadership training often fails to provide effective tools to harness the wisdom of the body.

If you have struggled making any kind of change, ask yourself whether you are using integrated mind/body principles. Change requires the development of new habits and skills, and new learning. Learning happens in an integrated mind/body and sometimes it works better to shift your body first, and the mind will follow.

The principles of somatic coaching are some of the most powerful principles I have ever learned. After I returned from training, one of my friends whom I had known for twenty years said to me, “you’re different.”  I was different. I had learned to listen to, to use, and to respect the wisdom of my body.

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  1. Excellent insight, thank you for sharing!

    • Thanks. I needed that!

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