Beliefs Beneath The Surface. The Root Cause of Most Human Behavior. Part 2 of 4
In this Expert Series, we’re examining BELIEFS – what they are, how they function, and how they impact your client’s behavior (… and your own).
It is estimated that 95% of human behavior is automatic, unconscious, and habitual.
When you think about your own behavior, how much of it comes from careful research and logical forethought, consideration of its potential consequences, and conscious, willful choice? If you’re like most people, it’s a fairly small percentage.
To explain this phenomenon, psychologists discuss it in terms of drives, subconscious ego motivations, and early childhood influences. Neurologists describe how patterns of brain activity are set into habits – saying, “Neural circuits that fire together wire together.” Computer scientists discuss it as a series of programs within our internal Operating System.
Regardless of how you describe it, it’s obvious that the cause of most of our behavior lies below our conscious awareness. Coaches are usually taught that the subconscious mind is a terrain managed only by psychologists, psychotherapists, and mental health professionals. We are told, “Focus on the present and the future. We’re not interested in the past. We look forward. Leave psychology to those licensed people.”
There’s a significant problem with this approach. It’s highly likely that your clients will continue to do what they’ve always done – even if you offer them intelligent alternatives. Unless you can help your clients clear the cause of their behavior, you can’t evoke significant shifts in their lives. You’re left with trying to change their behavior from the outside – with good questions, prioritizing, planning for action, and practices to create new, better habits – all in opposition to the old programs that lie below the conscious mind. It’s like Sisyphus pushing his rock up to the top of the mountain, only to have it roll down again.
What can you do to help shift those subconscious patterns that cause all the trouble? Focusing their attention on their beliefs – because beliefs are at the core of our behavior, our attitude, our possibilities, and our limitations.
When your client changes their belief, it changes everything: their thoughts, emotions, motivation, and behavior. For example, if a client begins a sentence with “I can’t…,” that’s simply a self-imposed limitation – a belief. If you had a way to help them clear that belief, and replace it with “I can…,” you’ve opened a possibility that wasn’t there before.
Negative self-beliefs, such as “I’m no good at that…” are the cause of great suffering plus negative strategies, such as “So I might as well give up.” When you can clear those old beliefs, you remove the suffering and create the potential for empowerment and success.
This is an ideal skill for a coach. It doesn’t tread on psychotherapeutic territory because the story of the past isn’t relevant to the process. Belief-change is direct, fast and effective. It demonstrates the power of coaching at its best.
Our clients come to us because they want to change something. They want something to be different or better in their lives. When you help them shift their underlying beliefs, you give them the gift of true empowerment.
When you study beliefs, and how they operate, you can also begin to change your own patterns – the ones that keep you stuck, or prevent you from being as successful as you want to be. Beliefs can be changed, and that changes everything. You can begin the exploration of your own beliefs with and exercise you can download here…
>>> Belief Self-Diagnosis Exercise <<<
In Part 3 of this series, we’ll look at where our beliefs come from, and how they function to create and filter our reality. In Part 4, we’ll explore ways that beliefs can be cleared and changed.
About the Author:
Lion Goodman is the creator of the Clear Beliefs Process, and the instructor for Impact Coaching Academy’s “Clear Beliefs Coach Training (37.5 ICF CCEs).” The training includes methodologies for clearing limiting and negative beliefs from the core of the psyche, clearing resistance and blocks to forward progress, and techniques for communicating directly with the subconscious mind. For more information visit >>> Impact Coaching Academy <<<
The Expert Series is brought to you by choice Magazine as part of our ongoing efforts to bring opportunities for learning and growth to the coaching community. Delivered in four parts every two weeks, each series covers useful topics for business development and coaching insights, serving the needs of leaders in all areas and walks of life. Archived copies of the previous series can be found here.