As coaching becomes more and more popular, more and more people are encouraging me to abandon the title “Board Certified Hypnotist” in favor of “Performance Coach” and to reposition my programs and offerings as “coaching programs” instead of emphasizing that I utilize hypnosis to help people achieve breakthroughs and perform at their peak.
For a while, I entertained this idea but soon decided it did not feel authentic. While hypnosis and coaching are related in that they deal with mindset, they are not the same thing. Here are a couple of ways in which they differ.
Two Main Differences Between Coaching and Hypnosis
Proponents of utilizing hypnosis cite the fact that hypnosis works so quickly and often, people experience breakthroughs using hypnosis in as little as 1-3 sessions while results through coaching can take weeks or months before breakthroughs begin. There are two good reasons for this.
Hypnosis is a collection of linguistic techniques and other tools that help people to tune out the negative mental chatter in their mind so that they can perceive their problem and the ultimate solutions to that problem more easily. Many people describe this mental quieting as “relaxation” while I would define it as a “focused concentration” similar to what athletes experience when they are in a state of “flow” or when they are in “the zone.” Progress through coaching alone is often hampered by the negative mental chatter that can be categorized as the collection of limiting beliefs and fears that persist in the background and create bottlenecks to progress. If you’ve ever experienced inertia in your professional or personal life despite knowing logically what to do, then you have experienced what I’m talking about.
Hypnosis also gives people access to powerful emotions that are often suppressed in conscious thought during our daily activities. This access allows people to begin associating powerful positive emotions to what they want more of (e.g. success, health, fulfillment, love, etc.) and powerful negative emotions to what they want less of (e.g. failure, excess weight, sadness, stress, etc.) and it is these powerful, emotional associations that ultimately drive everything we do in life. Conscious coaching alone cannot create these new associations as easily and quickly as hypnosis can because coaching talks to the cognitive, rational, logical part of our brain (“New Brain”) while all of the emotions needed to make change happen live in the limbic part of our brain (“Old Brain”).
Rapid Change versus Lasting Change
There is usually a drop-off for our clients where hypnosis ceases to be as impactful and conscious coaching becomes more helpful. I usually see it after about 4-6 hypnosis sessions where the person has achieved enough clarity and purposeful vision that they are able to continue making progress through primarily coaching alone. The hypnosis sessions cleared out the mental clutter and established a pristine baseline for continued progress through coaching. It’s kind of like hiring a professional organizer to come to your house for an organizing blitz; once your home is free of clutter and organized, you need to maintain it somehow, right? That’s where the coaching comes in.
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