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Hearts and minds and guts, oh MY!

By DJ Mitsch, MCC  July 2, 2012

Most of us have inquiring minds. We want to know how things work. In coaching, we help our clients learn to access more than their minds to determine courses of action and make conscious choices. We help them learn to listen to those small voices of wisdom parked in their body (gut) and hearts (souls)… and sometimes the conflict we find in others—as well as ourselves—is a battle between the voices of these distinct dimensions.

The movement toward understanding more about how we think has launched recent and clever theories from emotional intelligence to positive psychology to neuro-science to metacognition. This is good. We want to make sense of things.

Chabris and Woolley’s paper, “Evidence for Collective Intelligence Factor in the Performance of Human Groups”, was reported in the journal Science in (October, 2010) and highlights the following:


Metacognition concerns the processes by which we monitor and control our own cognitive processes. It can also be applied to others, in which case it is known as mentalizing. Both kinds of metacognition have implicit and explicit forms, where implicit means automatic and without awareness. Implicit metacognition enables us to adopt a we-mode, through which we automatically take account of the knowledge and intentions of others. Adoption of this mode enhances joint action. Explicit metacognition enables us to reflect on and justify our behaviour to others. However, access to the underlying processes is very limited for both self and others and our reports on our own and others’ intentions can be very inaccurate.

So for us layman, this could mean that we individuate and learn in the presence of others, often picking up their vibes and intentions—what they want from us—instantaneously.

When I first started coaching I noticed that when I could simply get people to understand energetically where they “felt” a strong response or reaction to something, say, “yuck in their gut” about something that they didn’t feel was right for them—a job, a relationship—they used their minds to synthesize and make a more conscious choice about what to do. The mind was in service to the gut.

And teaching people to give their heart a voice, to learn to recognize a heart center that has assimilated all the information from their experiences of love and connection, it became easier for each of them to call up how to describe happiness and set conditions of satisfaction in work and relations. For example… a CEO had become stoic at work which he felt made him more respectable, and when we engaged in the exercise to have him remember when he was happiest and to imagine the heart’s voice, he learned quickly that he had stifled how much he enjoyed loving others. When he was able to begin to express that more completely (and appropriately) in the way he acknowledged others, he was able to get in touch with that feeling again and was happier at work and at home. This translated to his employees and his family noticing this shift and he subsequently received more engagement and love from them.

Maybe you have been rewarded for being smart—knowledgeable! Good for you. A bright mind is a good thing. And, if you live and work with it in service to the other voices of wisdom available to you, you may open a door to becoming and contributing more.

Oh My!

Would love to hear your views!

DJ Mitsch, MCC

Darelyn “DJ” Mitsch is the Chief Energy Officer of the Pyramid Resource Group, a Master Certified Coach, and a founding member and former president of the International Coach Federation (ICF). She is a world-class coach and creative partner for innovative leaders and teams. DJ designed this program based on her passion for bringing people fully to life as they change the game of work!

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