The Brain-Result connection is the fancy name for a new coaching framework I use with my clients. It works really well, so I want to share it with you today. For a free worksheet of the framework, click here.
This framework is based on the work of Brooke Castillo, a professional life coach and all-around amazing lady. She just calls it The Model, but I affectionately like to think of it as How Your Brain Works For Dummies. Since that didn’t seem “professional” enough, I dubbed it the Brain-Result Connection Framework.
The framework works so well because it has three major things going for it.
- Applicability to anything going on in your life
- It’s useful for coaching yourself
Why do you care about that last bullet point? Because girlfriends and wine are (generally) unavailable during the workday. Partners want to problem solve, not listen to you vent. And having a coach on 24/7 retainer is cost prohibitive. So a tool to coach yourself through something is invaluable!
On to the framework!
The Brain-Result Connection Framework
The framework starts out with a fact. The typical path is that you see something or hear something. Your brain is constantly scanning for “things” and only a tiny portion of those get processed consciously. So the fact that comes in is something your brain picks up on and says “hey, pay attention here!” It’s important to note that facts are neutral at this point.
That fact is sent to another part of the brain that associates a thought with it. Those thoughts are extremely powerful! And the amazing part is that the thoughts are usually on auto-pilot! The thoughts you think come from a wide variety of sources and psychologists love to dig into that aspect of mental health. For now, if you’ve heard the terms paradigms, scripting, limiting beliefs or mindsets, that’s what I’m talking about.
But your brain, while sending a neutral fact to be processed, passes that fact through your limbic system, which attaches an emotion to that fact. Think of it like a piece of chocolate getting a candy coating to become an M&M!
It is the combination of thoughts and feelings that make us take action, or prevent us from taking action.
And, of course, it is our actions, or lack thereof, that give us the results we get in our lives.
So the brain does the scanning, thinking and assigning emotions (mostly on automatic) and we take actions that lead to our results.
Voila! The Brain-Result Connection!
The Importance of the Framework
A legitimate question is “so what, why do I care?”
You care because you can use this simple framework to train your brain to:
- Scan for “better” facts
- Think more useful thoughts
- Assign more appropriate emotions
If you can get a handle on the brain part of the framework, the actions that follow will give you better results in your life.
If you haven’t printed out the framework from the free handout yet, now would be a great time. A picture truly is worth a thousand words in this case!
In all the following examples, you work for a guy named Bob.
Start with a Feeling
Let’s say you don’t like your boss Bob very much. “Dislike” goes in the feeling box.
Want to figure out why? Work “up” the model. What do I think about Bob?
“Well, for one thing, he’s rude to me.”
What is the neutral fact behind that?
“I said “Good Morning” to him 5 days this week and he responded 0 times.”
Hmmm. Let’s start to retrain the brain.
Same fact: “I said “Good Morning” to him 5 days this week and he responded 0 times.”
What’s a more productive thought?
“It’s funny how some people are NOT morning people!” or “I’m so glad I’m a morning person since we have to be here so early!”
Feeling: “amusement” or “relief”
Want to bet which thought will lead to better actions and results that day?
Start with a Thought
You find yourself thinking “I have a gazillion things to do today!” So that goes in the thought box.
What neutral fact caused you to think that?
This is where you literally could put “I have a to-do list with 28 things on it” and list them. No exaggeration allowed in the fact box! Notice the word gazillion was in the thought box.
How does the thought make you feel?
“Overwhelmed” goes in the feeling box.
When you are overwhelmed by a gazillion things, what do you do or not do?
In the actions box, you can list as many things as you want. For this example, you list:
- Spin from task to task, rarely completing one before starting another
- Pick the easy ones instead of the important tasks
- Make myself feel better by snacking constantly
- Do sloppy work to get through as many tasks as possible
- …you get the point
Result: I finish 21 easy tasks but make no progress on the 2 important ones so Bob yells at me.
Notice the thought and overwhelmed feeling led to the results you got. Remember – it’s the brain-result connections.
Want to turn this frequent thought around? Start with the same fact. “I have a to-do list with 28 things on it.”
What do you want to feel? Let’s say “purposeful”
What thought do you have to think to feel purposeful? How about “I better prioritize these in order of importance.”
Now your actions are:
- Tackle the most important tasks first
- Don’t start another until I finish the last
- Put my Do Not Disturb sign up and my headphones on
Results: “Finished 20 tasks and Bob is happy I got X and Y done.”
Start with a Result
Result: “Bob game me negative feedback on my last report”
Actions that led to that result based on the feedback
- I had two typos so I relied on spell check too heavily. Who knew that if the misspelling is a real word, it wouldn’t find it?
- The data I received from accounting was inaccurate and I didn’t give it the “common sense” test
Now you know how to prevent those results again.
You could also use that result as the fact in the framework.
Fact: “I got negative feedback on my last report”
If you go with a negative thought such as “Dang it, Accounting is supposed to give me accurate data!”, you will feel “abused” or “victimized”.
What actions come out of those emotions? Will those actions get you the results you want? Not likely.
However, if you go with a positive thought like “Well, the feedback is accurate”, your emotion might be “determined” and your actions might be:
- Talk to Dana in accounting about their data
- Have Susie read my report for typos before sending
See how the results will be so much better?
Brain-Result Connection Tips
The Fact Box
Be sure to only put a neutral fact in this box. Very often we confuse our thoughts with the actual facts.
I had a client the other day who was convinced the fact was “I never finish projects.”
It took a lot of work just to get her to realize that the fact was “I didn’t finish the X project or the Y project.” Her thought around that was that she never finishes project, her emotion was resignation and her actions became a self-fulfilling prophecy of the result “I didn’t finish the Z project either.”
Also, keep to one fact at a time. We are trying to clean up our thinking, so it is important to analyze the details, one fact, thought, and emotion at a time.
The Thought Box
This box is even harder to keep to one thought because our brains are VERY good at throwing a lot of thoughts around, one right after the other.
Pick them apart, because different thoughts cause different emotions.
So only one thought in this box.
Another tip for this box is to NOT put a question in it. If you think of a question, either turn that into a statement or answer the question.
For example, instead of putting “Why is Kathy so hard to get along with?”, fill in the box with either “Kathy is hard to get along with” or “Kathy gives off very negative vibes.”
The Feeling Box
Same thing here; only one feeling in the box. If the one thought brings up more than one emotion, work through the framework a number of times. Different emotions will cause different actions on your part.
Also, try to use appropriate words for your emotions that capture the intensity as well. The difference between miffed, irritation, annoyance, angry and pissed can be subtle.
The Actions Box
Here’s the first box where you can put in as many things as you want. The only tip here is to be sure to include what you are NOT doing as a result of your emotion, as well as what you ARE doing.
The Results Box
Honestly answer the question, what result am I getting? If you filled out the framework with genuine reflection, then the result will always tie back to what you wrote in the Thought Box.
The Brain-Result Connection Framework is extremely powerful. Like most revolutionary things, it’s simple, but not easy. The devil is always in the details.
As I move towards articles on how to make leadership easier, I will be using the brain-result framework often.
In the meantime, download the worksheet with the framework on it and get to work figuring out how to get the results you want!
Leaving you with this from the lighter side: It may look like I’m doing nothing, but in my head I am quite busy!