Unmasking Shadow Brain Chemistry: Transforming Leadership Through Master Coaching

In today’s high-pressure business/corporate environments, the hidden drivers of burnout are often overlooked. Adrenaline and cortisol, the primary stress hormones, play a significant role in this dynamic. Leaders who assert power without validation or recognition of their people or teams’ efforts inadvertently trigger these stress markers, leading to an epidemic of burnout and disengagement. This article delves into the shadow brain chemistry at play and offers insights on how through working with an SAS (science, artistry and systemic) master coach, senior leaders can transform their approach to foster healthier, more productive workplaces.

Understanding Shadow Brain Chemistry

Shadow brain chemistry refers to the unconscious biochemical processes that influence our behaviours and decisions. In the context of leadership, this often manifests as a reliance on adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones are vital for our survival in short bursts but become detrimental when constantly activated by chronic stress. Leaders who fail to validate their people or teams’ contributions create an environment where employees feel perpetually threatened, leading to over-performance and over-responsibility. This state of heightened stress is a breeding ground for burnout. Add to that the challenges of communication and collaboration across a hybrid workforce and we amplify the perceived threats experienced in real-time by real people.

The Toxic Cycle of Unvalidated Work

In many organizations, leaders focus on results without considering the human element. This approach not only undermines employee well-being but also reduces overall productivity. When work goes unrecognised, employees feel undervalued and are pushed to overcompensate. This vicious cycle is fuelled by the constant release of stress hormones, which, over time, deplete the body’s resources and lead to burnout. We are biological whole systems and need to be respected and treated accordingly.

Key questions to plug into daily as a reality check….

  1. What is the impact of how I am asserting my authority daily?
  2. Does my language and questioning style put people into a state of alert and why?
  3. Where do I focus my attention? On how stuff gets done or on how I treat people?
  4. Do people feel like I actually ‘care’ about them?
  5. Am I able to have carefrontations with people that report to me?
  6. What does my brand of leadership say about me?

Redefining Leadership Through SAS Master Coaching

The solution lies in rethinking traditional coaching methods. Logical and linear coaching approaches, which focus solely on performance metrics, fall short in addressing the underlying human factors. Instead, we must adopt a biological view that respects employees as living social engagement systems. Effective SAS coaching recognizes the importance of emotional validation and social connectedness. Humans are more that just get stuff done machines. Coaching must address the heart and gut elements of real leadership.

Our SAS trained Master coaches, are equipped with an understanding of shadow brain chemistry, they guide leaders to foster environments where employees feel recognised and valued. This not only mitigates the risk of burnout but also enhances overall team performance and satisfaction.

The Value of Coach-Mentored Leadership

Investing in SAS coach-mentored leadership development is crucial. Leaders who are coach-mentored by our master coaches gain insights into the biochemical and psychological aspects of human behaviour. They learn to create a culture of validation and recognition, which is essential for sustainable performance. This transformative approach not only improves individual well-being but also drives organizational success.

Key Takeaways

  • Recognize the Impact of Stress Hormones: Understand how adrenaline and cortisol contribute to burnout and the importance of managing these through validation and recognition.
  • Adopt SAS Leadership style  and apply that methodology : Move beyond logical and linear coaching to embrace a holistic view that respects employees as complex social beings.
  • Invest in Master Leadership Coaching: Develop leaders through coach-mentorship with master coaches who understand the shadow brain chemistry in coaching.
  • Create a Culture of Recognition: Foster an environment where employees feel valued and acknowledged for their contributions.

We are Industry Leaders

At Sandown Business School, we specialize in creating transformational leadership coaches. Our programmes are designed to equip coaches with the tools they need to create healthy, productive and adaptively resilient clients and teams. By integrating cutting-edge neuroscience with proven modern coaching techniques, we help coaches unlock their full potential.

In conclusion, the path to preventing burnout and enhancing performance lies in understanding and addressing the shadow brain chemistry that influences our behaviours. Leaders must move beyond choosing under qualified linear traditional coaches and do move to understand how Leadership Coach-Mentoring is evolving to meet the real needs of Leaders.

Richella Boggan, the Co-Founder and Global Commercial Development Director of Sandown Business School. For over three decades, Richella has graced the realms of business, coaching and management, her talent development enriching the lives of leaders plus experienced and aspiring coaches. If you seek master coaching or supervision, book a call.


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