November 28, 2014

Brain Efficiencies

What is your brain's hotline?

What is your brain’s hotline?

What if every time you wanted to pick up a pencil and write something, you had to stop to decide which hand to use?  Which hand would you use to eat? Brush your teeth?  Pick up something off of the floor?   If this were so, we would be pretty inefficient and get very little accomplished.  Fortunately, nature gave us hand dominance so we could go about our day doing ordinary things without getting tripped up by decisions of which hand to employ,.

 

Yet dominance doesn’t mean we don’t use the non-dominant hand!  We use it often and would be greatly challenged if we didn’t have our other hand.   We are wired this way in that we have brain- dominance for efficiency, while the other limb serves as an important second choice.

 

As a lifelong student of the brain, I was intrigued when I first learned how to use MBTI assessment.  Here, as in hand dominance, we have brain efficiencies that center around 4 cognitive parameters:

·      Extraversion versus Introversion-what is the primary source of our energy?

·      Sensing versus iNtuition-do we gather information by going from concrete details to concepts or concepts to concrete details?

·      Thinking versus Feeling- do we tend to employ analysis or empathy first when making a decision

·      Judging versus Perceiving- do we prefer a structured, predictable environment versus one that unfolds?

 

When administering the MBTI, I often have clients tell me “I do both”, which is true and it is the case for each and everyone of us.  In fact, an individual might use an opposing preference so much that it almost feels like the actual preference!  The gift of neuroplasticity allows the brain to change in response to the environment. The MBTI and other similar instruments try to identify the baseline cognitive preferences (not skills, not traits) so that you can leverage your natural strengths while becoming aware of what is out of preference – what might need a little extra attention, what might even be a blind spot!

 

Ultimately, the MBTI and other preference instruments take your four “brain efficiencies” and identify a whole personality type, commonly known by it’s 4-letter description- ENFP, ISTJ, ESFJ etc… There are 16 identified types.  However it is important to note that knowing your brain efficiencies in no way puts you in a box or says can only do certain things.  It’s merely a point of self –awareness and a pathway to effective living and personal development.

 

Do you know your 4-letter personality type? Is it empowering?  Confining?  How does this knowledge serve you?

The Seesaw of Social and Non-Social Thinking in Leadership

According to Dr. Matthew Lieberman, our social and non-social brains have a see saw rather than a facilitative relationship with each other.

According to Dr. Matthew Lieberman, our social and non-social brains have a see saw rather than a facilitative relationship with each other.

You have a see saw in your brain. Thinking socially and thinking non-socially seems to use 2 different areas of the brain in a back and forth relationship, rather than one that acts in concert with each other. Dr. Matthew Lieberman discusses this concept in his new book Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect which I give a 5 out of 5 star recommendation.  This is a must read for anyone interested in applied (and accessible) brain science.

While reading the section on the neural see saw, I was struck by the notion that in Jungian psychological theory, made popular by the MBTI,  two different ways to make decisions are identified: thinking versus feeling. Moreover, it has been said that although we can use both thinking and feeling in our decision making, we tend to evaluate first with our preferred style, switch to the opposite style, then return to our preferred mode for the final rendering.  You can almost sense the shift when you use one style versus another when making a decision.  You can also sense that you can’t do them both at once.

In a recent TED Talk, Dr. Lieberman quoted John Zenger's research on effective leadership.

In a recent TED Talk, Dr. Lieberman quoted John Zenger’s research on effective leadership.

Dr. Lieberman also talks about the typical leadership culture in which non-social thinking seems to be valued over social thinking.- a results focus. Yet leadership researcher John Zenger has found that employees who consider their boss to be among the top 10%  of great leaders generally do not identify the results focused leader to be among that 10%.  In fact, only 14% of leaders with a results only focus were seen as great leaders. When leaders combined top-notch social skills with results oriented thinking, the percent of these individuals seen as great leaders skyrocketed to 72%!

So what does this mean for leadership?  Well,  it appears that we have one end of the see saw covered, given our cultural bias toward results.  However we can’t ignore the data that social skills matter.   John Zenger also found that 2/3 of employees would take a lesser salary in order to work for a great boss.  If leaders want to go from good to great, there has to be some emphasis on developing another part of the brain and learning to shift between the social and the non-social brain effectively.   There is some growing awareness around this reality however we will be going against the prevailing tide.   Focused attention and clear goals in this area is a must.

1.  Lieberman, Matthew D., Social:  Why Our Brains are Wired to Connect, Crown Publishing, 2013

2. Zenger, John H., The Extraordinary Leader:  Turning Good Managers into Great Leaders, America Media International, 2002

 

Panning for Gold in a World of Tips and Suggestions

panning for goldWho feels overwhelmed by all of the tips and suggestions out there about how to be more effective in work and in life? Blogs, books, and articles.  100 Great Questions Every Entrepreneur Should Ask! (That’s a lot of questions!). Do This in the Morning and Be Productive All Day!  Webinars. Ted-Ex Talks.

All of these are sources of useful information and they are potentially sources of information fatigue. Too much to do.  Too many tips to remember. Too many ideas to put into action. What am I supposed to really do?  It’s like panning for gold.  Rarely do these sources of information result in an action plan that will bear resilient behavioral change.  Wouldn’t it be great to develop your own personal wisdom around what you need to do?

An article in Forbes magazine (June 2013) titled Why Leadership Training Doesn’t Work , makes essentially the same point. Developing a knowledge base and degree of self-awareness is only the first step.  Behavioral change requires most critically, a plan of action that you help design (mainly to tap into intrinsic motivation) and movement.  It simply can’t stay in your head.  You have to build the new mental-behavioral muscle just like would build a muscle in the gym.  You have to act!  That’s how you really learn!

One of my clients who is an emerging leader in the education industry recently brought this truth to light.  She was part of a leadership program that my partner, Dr. Jane Kise and I use called, Intentional Leadership.  Here is the protocol:

Step 1 (The Awareness Phase): The protocol begins with assessment including determining personality type-to articulate natural strengths and increase awareness around probable inborn blind spots. It also includes an assessment of emotional intelligence-to gauge how the “people skills” of leadership are currently being used.  Another way to describe these skills are interpersonal intelligence (the capacity to understand the intentions, motivations and desires of other people) and intrapersonal intelligence (the capacity to understand oneself, to appreciate one’s feelings, fears and motivations).

Step 2 (Determining Leadership Priorities): Each leadership role calls for a different set of leadership priorities.  Using the ILA card sort, 40 such priorities are reviewed and discussed with the client.  First it’s narrowed to 10/40.  Then 3/40 which forms the basis of the goal setting.  In the coaching conversation, the number can be toggled slightly however, the fewer goals you have, the higher your chances of succeeding with each.  Moreover, the leadership priority might be something that you want to address in one small part of your leadership role, as was the case with my client.

Step 3 (Goal Setting/Follow-Up With a Coach):  The protocol then explores exactly what the client wants to accomplish, determining what strategies, and what in settings this new behavior will be practiced.  An integral part of this process is to look at the self-assessment data.  Will any of these leadership priorities tap into my strengths?  Likewise and even more critically, how will my blind spots factor in?  Could they potentially derail me if I don’t plan for them?

Case Study:

My client, a rising and well-respected leader in the education industry took the MBTI Step II personality assessment and verified as an INFJ.  INFJ’s are introverted, and tend to be brilliant, complex, emotionally self- aware and empathetic.  Yet, they tend not to be naturally assertive.  Indeed, the lowest EQi sub-score for this leader was assertiveness.  She sorted through her leadership priority cards and settled on fair-mindedness and accountability as leadership priorities she wanted to address.  The INFJ type tends to lean toward harmony and avoid conflict but in a complex leadership role, my client recognized that she needed to develop these skills too.

How do you develop these skills though when your natural tendency is to seek harmony.  Do you change and become a different person?  Absolutely not!  Being able to achieve harmony in group is a gift.  Keep that in your back pocket!  And intentionally develop the other complimentary skill, that of assertiveness, to use as needed.   Ultimately, this leader made the goal to practice assertiveness in one setting.  She was on an advisory committee that met once per week.  This would be where she would start. The best part is that a specific, mindful, practice of a new skill has a way of making that skill stick- thus making it a go to possibility when a different situation called for it’s use!

My client reported to me that her goal was exactly what she needed.  She was able to practice her new skill carefully and feel successful doing it because she was giving it special focus in a specific situation.  Further follow-up found that she was getting used to using this new skill in other situations:

“At first it was difficult to speak up when I wanted the meeting to go in a different direction. I did realize that it’s ok because it’s not my usual style but one that I was motivated to develop when I needed it.”

I am the biggest Twitter feed addict on the planet. My morning always involves a scroll through Twitter to catch up on the news and read various new articles on the brain, leadership, business tips and trends.  I can also say that there are so many suggestions that it is impossible to rely on information alone to craft your life and career.  You really do have to give it some thought, clarify your intentions, and set a few reachable goals at a time.

For more information on the Intentional Leadership Protocol.  Click here

For more information on my partner, Dr. Jane Kise.  Click here

 

 

The Logistics of Leadership: Beware of Your Blind Spots

Strengths-based leadership gets you heading in the right direction.  Blind spots will trip you up!

Strengths-based leadership gets you heading in the right direction. Blind spots will trip you up!

Organizations, now more than ever, are facing complex and unpredictable competitive landscape, one that is filled with new, and global, aggressive competitors.  The field of logistics is no exception.  The logistics of logistics is not only driven by data and systems, but also the ability to communicate this vision to teams and customers, in other words to lead.  What happens if your message is right but no one is listening?

One such example of poor leadership skills is the story of the Hungarian born physician Ignaz Semmelweis, the father of infection control procedures in hospitals.  Ultimately credited with changing how physicians and hospitals used sterilization to protect patients, in his day, his message was largely ignored and his peers shunned him. According to historical accounts, probably the dogmatism and arrogance of Semmelweis´ personality were partially responsible for his lack of success in communicating with his colleagues and the scientific community.  No matter how right he was, Dr. Semmelweis compromised his influence by his inability to use the “softer skills” of leadership.

Research shows that most leaders concentrate on goals, what they intend to accomplish; yet they forget to set priorities, or how they will accomplish those goals. Leaders must identify both their strengths and avoid their blind spots by examining the leadership role carefully and systematically. What are leadership blind spots?  Leadership blind spots are often manifested as repeated patterns of ineffective behavior or resolutions to change behavior that seem to fall short of the goal.   The nature of blind spots is that one perceives limited data or is using inadequate methods of judgment to address a problem. Everyone has blind spots.

This phenomenon is similar to the blind spots you have when driving a car or truck.  There are certain visual fields that are not readily apparent and you must mindfully check those areas for other cars or use a device to identify those vehicles. Similarly, it is difficult to correct for blind spots because you often lack the insight and resources to do so, that is the very nature of blind spots. Personal coaches can help by providing that additional insight, assistance with goal setting and accountability measures.

One such protocol for identifying leadership priorities while at the same time accounting for personal strengths and blind spots is the Intentional Leadership protocol. The following 3 pillars are used to assist leaders in becoming more intentional:

o The 12 Lenses of Leadership to identify the most important leadership roles in a given situation

o Jungian type to understand leadership strengths, blind spots, and strategies for development

o Emotional Intelligence for deeper awareness of competencies with the human side of leadership- motivating, communicating building trust and more…

We invite you to an upcoming workshop on the Intentional Leadership protocol being held at Cleary University, Howell Michigan on May 8, 2014 from 8am-12pm.  This all-inclusive workshop offers individual assessment prior to the workshop to help you get better acquainted with your strengths and potential blind spots. Individual follow-up coaching focuses on identifying your leadership priorities and developing an action checklist.  To learn more or to register, please CLICK HERE   

Hope to see you there!

Dr. Jane Kise  www.Janekise.com

Ann C. Holm, MS, ACC  www.annholm.net

Get Your Priorities Straight

Intentional Leadership Priority CardsDid you know…leaders are great at setting goals, but seldom set priorities.

Another way to put this is that leaders far too frequently bite off more than they, or those they lead, can chew. Lack of priorities can take several forms, such as:

  • Overwhelming their staffs with competing initiatives
  • Leading projects with “scope creep” that end up devouring time and resources way beyond what was anticipated, funded or staffed
  • Asking others to “do more with less” until, inevitably, human capacity is truly overwhelmed.

Goals are often tangible—profits, products, student learning targets, or implementation of strategies. Priorities are things such as professional development, staff relationships, accountability, autonomy, consistency in policy, and so on. And we can only concentrate on so many of them. Not setting priorities is similar to playing poker–you won’t have as much control as you like over the cards you’re dealt.

When coaching for intentional leadership, we start by asking leaders to sort their priorities. We use a set of cards, and we observe the client sorting them in order to understand the rationale behind the chosen priorities. Then we ask the client to map those priorities onto essential tasks of leadership and compare the patterns to the leader’s natural strengths and equally natural blind spots. Is there a focus on the right priorities for the situation, including the current goals?

But how do we know what those strengths and blind spots are likely to be?  An integral part of the Intentional Leadership Coaching process is to assess personality and emotional intelligence using the best available tools in the business.  Fully knowing what our natural inborn tendencies are AND understanding how well we have learned to use our “soft skills” makes for a winning combination when setting and executing our leadership priorities.

Finally, most leadership training is done in a workshop which creates energy in the moment but seldom leads to resilient change. Why is that?  We believe it’s because individual support, before and after the workshop, is the key to long term outcomes.  You need to know who you are as an individual in order to play your cards right in the leadership role. Likewise, you need to specify your goals so they address your leadership priorities in the most effective way.   ILA workshops are all-inclusive; we support your through out the whole process by providing individual coaching before and after the workshop so that you can truly be an intentional leader.

Jane Kise, Ed.D  (jane@janekise.com)

Ann C. Holm, MS, ACC  (annholm@annholm.net)

We invite you register for the Intentional Leadership Coaching Workshop being offered at Cleary University in Howell, Michigan on May 8, 2014,  Click Here

Waiting Until the Last Minute Has an Upside

hourglassSome of us do our best work when the sand in the hour glass is is almost gone.  Jungian typologists use the term pressure-prompted to describe the individual who prefers to pull it together at the last minute.  A new book describes this phenomenon in a way that makes perfect sense to a dedicated last-minute type like me. The authors of the book Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much calls this energy the “focus dividend” of scarcity.

Scarcity means we have too little of something, time or money for instance.   When we realize this, our brains tend to switch from big picture thinking to bottom up, mission critical thinking. The authors use the metaphor of packing a suitcase:  if you have a small suitcase, you throw out the extras and pack as many of the essentials as possible.  When there is a large suitcase, or a feeling of slack, then there is a tendency to add extras and maybe not prioritize as we should.

Apparently, this is a brain phenomenon so the idea of “fake deadlines” doesn’t seem to work because the brain doesn’t see this as true scarcity. Therefore, the brain doesn’t tunnel, or yield the focus dividend.  At least in my experience, fake deadlines don’t fool me for very long. It isn’t long before I realize a clock set 10 minutes ahead is a clock set 10 minutes ahead!

There is an upside to to the feeling of scarcity, or the sense that time is running out.  We do indeed become more focused.  It has been said that the last 10 minutes of a coaching conversation may in fact, be the most valuable. However is there a downside to this strategy? By the way, lest the planners of the world think they don’t experience the scarcity phenomenon, think again!

The downside is this.  Scarcity demands mental bandwidth.  So as we become very focused in the moment, we might be ignoring something more important in a broad sense.  Or we might use the “best available” strategy in the moment that has long term consequences for our overall time management.  An excellent example shared in the book describes the individual who takes the backroads to work, a much more time-consuming route, because he doesn’t take the time to renew his license tabs and he might get a ticket!

So what to do?  Self-awareness is the building block of strategy. . Perhaps ask yourself a few key questions:

1. How often does waiting until the last minute have consistent and significant consequences?

2. When does it help?  Remember there is a focus dividend!

3. What are you willing to change so that you can still enjoy the benefits of #2 but not suffer the perils of #1?

I would love to hear from other scarcity dividend junkies!  How do you manage those times when you must abandon the thrill of the last minute?

 

 

 

Understanding Emotions is Essential to Brain-Based Learning Strategies

golden-gate-bridge-84I just attended the 37th Learning and the Brain Conference, in San Francisco.  This my 3rd such conference, and as usual, the speakers did not disappoint.  The theme was using brain science to build social and emotional skills.

Brain-based learning, up until fairly recently, has focused on building cognitive skills.  Such skills include executive function skills such as focus, memory, reading and the like.  In both education and in the workplace, the role of emotions in optimizing learning and performance has not been studied as closely as these other aspects.

However during the conference, it was made clear that the brain is first and foremost a social organ.  The cortex is shaped by social interactions.  How much we feel that we are a part of something has much to say about how ready our brain is to learn.  I was struck by the number of speakers who had learning disabilities but who went on to complete advanced degrees from the some of the loftiest academic institutions:  Harvard and Stanford, for instance. Each of them credits significant figures or groups in their lives who made them feel connected, safe and empowered.

This is very critical.  I remember a teacher I had in 8th grade who didn’t like me, at all.  In fact, when my father went to a conference for my brother who was a year older, she wanted to talk about how there are good kids and bad kids and I was a bad one.  I had another teacher in high school who told me I wasn’t going to get into college, let alone the college of my choice.  Today, I would like to hit her over the head with both of my diplomas from the college of my choice!  And by the way, she was in no way an inspiration as if I had to prove something to her.  She was just awful.

Now things could have turned out rather badly if it weren’t for my father who wrote me a letter of support- basically saying that he loved me and wanted the best for me. He urged me to give my full effort because my world would be opened onto me if I did. I would have an interesting life.  And you know what?  He was right.  You can read that letter here .

Life is full of challenges- one of the speakers grew up in a 1 bedroom apartment in New York with several siblings. However it is clear that if we hope to meet these challenges, someone has to be in our corner, someone who will make us feel valued,connected and encouraged. Not someone who will blow sunshine at us but someone who will acknowledge our lives as they are and encourage us.  It is in this framework and this mindset that the best learning can occur.  Who in your life played this role for you?

 

The Lazy Gal’s Way to a Consistent Meditation Practice

The Insight Timer app is available in both a free and deluxe version

The Insight Timer app is available in both a free and deluxe version

Many of us are aware of the myriad of benefits associated with a regular meditation practice, among them improved stress management, clearer thinking, and increased capacity to focus.  I am well-aware of these benefits myself having attended an 8-week course at the University of Minnesota in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction  and lectures by the mindfulness guru, Daniel Siegel.  I have extolled its virtues in presentations and recommended it to clients.  Nothing could be better for the brain.

Have practiced meditation consistently myself?  No.  Absolutely not.  My practice has been scattered at best usually because I think I am going to get around to it during the day but I seldom do.  What’s more is I am exactly the kind of person who would benefit from a regular meditation practice- high energy, often overextended, somewhat distractible.

Recently I rediscovered an app I’ve had on my phone for quite some time- the Insight Timer. Like Dorothy’s ruby slippers, I have had the answer to my inconsistent meditation practice all along.   Here are the advantages:

1. I can meditate anywhere.  At least in the winter, it means another 15-20 minutes in my warm bed.  I meditate right when I wake up.

2. The app automatically logs my time so I can see how long I have meditated and on what days.

3.  There is a an opportunity to journal a few thoughts afterward.  This is a delightful bonus because journaling was also something I intended to do but never did.  I can write down a few thoughts usually when I am at the peak of mental clarity.

4.  My iPhone is always with me so I have all I need to to meditate at any time- a chiming bell and a way to record my thoughts.

Any meditation is good.  Consistent meditation is better.  For the first time in my life, I actually know the difference.

4 Questions to Ask Yourself in the New Year

quilt squaresNew Year’s Day is not only one of my favorite holidays but one of my favorite days of the whole calendar. It recalibrates  my mindset for the coming year.  By the time December rolls around, I usually have things flying everywhere, and  my year’s efforts are leading to a culmination and a time for review. This day beckons me to focus, trim back what isn’t working, and begin anew. ‘

While having coffee with a young client recently, I asked him why he thought he was put on this earth.   The standard answer is often “to help others” and this is exactly what he said.  I explained that  I was looking for the thread that weaved together the experiences of his life, some sort of common theme that no matter what role he played, he could find joy in what he did.

My young client was silent, and then remarked, “I have never given this much thought.  What is my purpose?’  He liked the idea of trying to determine, as specifically as possible, what that might be.  Are your  experiences random or intentional?

Many of us don’t think about our purpose and so life is experienced but not lived.  New Years is a good time to ask ourselves some important questions:

1. When I look back on my life so far, what experiences were energizing and what experiences were just ok.

2. When I look at this past year, which projects and commitments were carried through to completion and which ones were difficult to complete or not completed at all?

3. When I look at what I want to do this year, what excites me?

4.  Are there any common themes in my answers to questions 1,2,and 3?

Briefly, when I answer these questions for myself, I am certain my life purpose lies in helping others uncover personal potential.  Whether I was helping a brain injured client return to a meaningful life, or raising my family, or coaching- the common theme is helping others see the possibilities that life has to offer. I imagine when I am a grandma someday, I won’t be known for my cooking or crafting- instead I will be toggling perspectives around until the world of possibility opened up to them.

I have tried side careers in sales but they never really gain traction because they don’t fit the above theme.  I might get excited at first because it is a new adventure but in the end, it doesn’t have the same zap of energy I get when someone I care about sees themselves in a whole new,exciting light.

I went to a meeting once and several people were talking at lunch.  One man told me about how he had changed his career because even though he was good at what he did, that was all he did and it wasn’t very satisfying.   Another lady leaned in and said she had been the “go to” data person at her job for the past 10 years because she was competent.  Nevertheless, she didn’t like it very much but felt stuck because that was expected of her.  Pretty soon, two more people joined the conversation with similar sentiments. It seems that sometimes you go round and round on the same track but never get a chance to get off, all because someone else has put you there.

The new year is a good time to take stock of what you’ve been doing and to ask if it fits with your reason to be on this earth.   You may find that you are right in sync with who you are or you might find that you are badly out of harmony.  It doesn’t mean you have to throw everything to the wind and start over necessarily but it may be that you may need to make adjustments in how you are doing what you do, perhaps changing your approach.   Who knows?  But I urge you to take the energy of the new year as a time to dial into what makes you want to get up in the morning.

And so…. my uncover your potential wish for  you in 2014 is that you find the satisfaction that comes from knowing your life’s purpose.   No matter what you do, may it reflect your gifts, your values, and your intentions.

Isn’t It a Diagnosis?

medical-chart-iconHave you ever taken an assessment tool, such as an emotional intelligence “test”  and were completely shocked, depressed, or mildly annoyed at the results? Or have you taken an assessment tool and had the opposite reaction? “Hey,  I’m pretty well- adjusted, intelligent or savvy!”  Or maybe you’ve taken a survey and the results don’t seem to quite fit.

When using such tools, a question that comes up frequently t is, “Isn’t this a diagnosis?”  In fact, sometimes this assumption forms the rationale to dismiss the value of assessment tools altogether which is a very big mistake.

Recently I was part a workshop team, certifying individuals in the use of a new assessment tool called the Intentional Leadership Audit that identifies leadership priorities, strengths and blind spots.   Along with the new assessment, there were connections made between leadership priorities, an individual’s psychological type (as identified by the MBTI ™ or other Jungian tool), and the EQi 2.0, emotional intelligence instrument.

In one of the case studies, it was revealed that the subject had a low score on the impulse control subscale of the EQi 2.0.   As a group, we then discussed the possible implications of low impulse control for a leader.  During the discussion,  one of the participants asked, “Isn’t this a diagnosis?  Isn’t this just what you are?”

It is common for people to assume  assessment tools have diagnostic implications, much the way medical tests point toward a condition that has to be treated.  Such is not he case.  Assessment tools, particularly self-reporting assessment tools, mainly serve the purpose of outlining what appears to be an individual’s mindset.  This can be affected by both inherent or default temperament as well as a myriad of other factors coming from personal experiences.  Hence, while much of our approach to living is fairly consistent, much of it is also malleable because our brain is adaptable and responds to the demands placed upon it.  We can all change and broadly,  this is how we do it:

1. Some sort of dampening down of the usual mind map has to take place, one of the most effective ways being through immersion .  So for example, if you were going to learn a new language, ideally you would have to eliminate as much use of the  native language as possible so the new language could build resilient neuro-connections in the brain.   The brain doesn’t like competing stimuli. That is why language immersion programs seem to work. Similarly, if you were relying on your sense of touch to get around in a dark room, you would immediately switch to your preferred mode of sight to get around if the light switch was turned on.  In other words,  the preferences that were present  first take precedence but if they are greatly attenuated, then new pathways can develop.  .

2. A deliberate or mindful monitoring of behavior can create a self-awareness and over time, a resilient change in the brain can take place. Choosing to consistently respond or act in a new way  can bring about these changes. Either through self-driven intent or the coaching  guidance, the brain can adapt to the demands placed upon it.

Assessment tools are a starting point to identify what appears to be the lay of the land.  After clarifying the results with a client, they can be immensely helpful in finding a starting point to structure goals and objectives.   Anything is possible as the brain is most definitely capable of significant change.  It is vitally important to know the fluid nature of assessment tools and the valuable information they can provide.