Introduction to Neurocoaching

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I met Kathy Mckenzie through our mutual friend, Cindy Scott.

Cindy is one of my besties so I take her friend recommendations seriously (even though sometimes it takes me a while to see/feel the connection that Cindy tunes into straight away – LOL!).

It made a lot of sense for me and Kathy to meet since she lives in the same part of the world as I do (the beautiful Sunshine Coast, Australia) AND runs a fantastic coaching school. But the thing that got me picking up the phone was when Cindy started telling me about a workshop Kathy ran in Melbourne about his new blend of coaching, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Neuroscience, and Brain Dominance called Neurocoaching.

I LOVE amalgamated modalities. I believe that when combined with a coaching approach (i.e. that the client has his or her own answers within) they are immensely transformational and are the FUTURE of Coaching. I couldn’t wait to meet Kathy and learn more about the cool thing she was creating.

It turns out that Kathy is an awesome chick too. Down to earth, open, vulnerable, super smart, and well read. A real EXPERT in all things coaching. It was clear from our first coffee date that I needed to interview Kathy so you could learn about her work and weigh it up as a possible tool for transformation for your coaching tool kit.

Without further ado, let me introduce Kathy.

Kathy Mckenzie, is an International Coach Federation, Master Certified Coach (ICF MCC). She’s the founder of Fire Up Coaching which specialises in Leadership and Coach Training. Kathy has been researching and establishing a new blend of NLP, Neuroscience, Coaching, and Brain Dominance called Neurocoaching – the process of supporting clients to change their thought patterns.

I got the chance to ask Kathy a few questions about Neurocoaching and a few bonus questions to get to know her better too. Watch the full interview here or read the cliff notes version below.


Neurocoaching YT

What is Neurocoaching and how did it come about?

Neurocoaching is the process of supporting clients to change their thought patterns. It’s still an evolving field that’s an amalgamation of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Neuroscience, Coaching, and Brain Dominance.

Kathy actually registered the domain name, “” about 7-8 years ago. Something in her just knew it was a creation waiting to be born. But I’m getting ahead of myself here. To understand how Neurocoaching came about we need to start at the beginning of Kathy’s coaching journey.

Kathy did her NLP training in Canada in the 1990s and it was a fantastic life-changing experience for her. She was ”SUPER Duper excited” and wanted “the world to know about it”.

She moved back to Australia and set up her NLP business, and as most coaches do, she just kept on studying and learning more and more. After doing her Masters in Vocational Education and Training, Kathy started looking at more of the neuroscience side of things. She got interested in David Rocks’ research on Neuroleadership.

It was after attending an ICF Conference and a talk by Jeffrey Schwartz that something really clicked for Kathy. It was the first time Kathy had experienced Neuroscience and new modalities coming into coaching.

In his lecture, Jeffrey was talking about people with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Their brain works in such a way that they just have to keep washing their hands until the “free won’t” (as opposed to free will) is introduced to them.

A “free won’t” is the .02 of a second when your brain directs attention to what you are going to do. By taking that time as a moment to PAUSE and make a new decision, in this case – to not do a thing – a person can transform their life.

Neurocoaching evolved out of that – recognising when your brain is triggered in a way that is not helpful.

As a coach, if we can be attuned to the neurology of our clients – how people are filtering their experience and then creating their experience – we can help them expand. Neurocoaching Coaches serve by having conversations that support their clients to continually create thinking that leads them to happiness, joy, and the things they want most in life.

NLP vs Neurocoaching

How to get out of the way as a coach

We took a little sidetrack and got into coaches with big egos who get in the way of their clients finding their own answers within.

Kathy gave some great tips on how to make sure coaches stay out of the way (and keep your ego in check).

How to Get out of the way

What makes Neurocoaching so transformational?

Some of the BIG reasons Neurocoaching is so transformational:

  • No content is needed
  • Better habits are created
  • Holds deep compassion for others

Each of these ideas is fleshed out below.

No Content Needed

You don’t need content. The client’s content is the client’s content. This is great for people who highly value their privacy!

Better Habits Created

The coach’s job is to help the client refocus on what is going on for the client. In her work on Conversational Intelligence, Judith E. Glaser teaches people a 3-step process 1. Refocus, 2. Reframe, 3. Redirect. Neurocoaching does something similar.

Get the client to pause and connect and then help the client reframe negatives and understand what the positive intention is. According to Kathy, “Neurocoaching is all about interrupting those neurological patterns that are not serving you anymore and replacing the negative patterns with the positive intention.” After thousands of sessions, Kathy says that very few people cannot find the positive in their negative behaviours and emotions.

With a big cheeky smile and laughter, Kathy talks about the old days when team building would involve blowing up balloons with all your negative feelings, pop them and throw them out the window. But things have come a long way since then.

Neurocoaching Quote

Kathy says, “Our most negative parts are often most deeply connected to our most powerful parts”. So by throwing out a negative belief without reframing it you haven’t actually got to the essence of how that part of you serves you.

The key to Neurocoaching is to help the client detect the neurological patterns that are hindering their ability to be/do/have what they want in life; allow the client an experience of its current state, and then begin to consciously shift that old pattern into the desired state – a new neural pathway to forge.

Neurons that fire together wire together. The more you activate the new neural pathway the more you reinforce the new habit. Check out The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.

Deep Compassion for Others

  • Neurocoaching helps make things more malleable for people with fixed ideas.
  • The whole-brain approach used helps people contemplate different aspects and perspectives on any given topic.
  • Cultivate your awareness and sensitivity when reading others. Without training, you can be setting off people’s trauma without even knowing it!


What type of person should study Neurocoaching?

People who already have some emotional intelligence, self-awareness, and self-leadership are perfect candidates to study Neurocoaching. You don’t need to be a formally trained coach so long as you have some learning and professional development under your belt.

How easy/hard is it to make a career or business from Neurocoaching?

Neurocoaching on its own is a component of a coaching business.

Like any coaching business:

  • Be clear on who you want to help and how you want to help.
  • Be clear on which clients bring you the most joy.

What are the options for a new coaching graduate?

There are lots of coaches now so they often get forced to the solopreneur route. But in the past 5 years, more and more organizations are hiring coaches. Even in this route you still need something that makes you stand out (like an ICF certification) because there are so many coaches now.

The future of coaching is enormous! We are going to see that in-house coaches are just a normal thing.

How can people experience a Neurocoaching Session?

FIREUP Coaching has a list of their accredited coaches for you to work with here:

Good problems to bring to a Neurocoaching session are:
Lack of confidence
Lack of clarity

Where can we learn more about Neurocoaching and Study it?

The best place to learn more about Neurocoaching courses is the FIREUP Coaching website.

They offer courses every 6-8 weeks that include the fastest route to ICF accreditation. Neurocoaching is woven into the Coach Certification Courses.

For people who already have a coach certification, Fire Up Coaching also offers a 3-day Neurocoaching Course as a part of the continuing education credits.

nothing changes


What is your #1 advice for Coaches today?

Be comfortable being who you are.

What is your definition of success?

Walking away from something filled with Joy.

What are you grateful for?

Living with my beautiful husband in a beautiful place with a wonderful community.

If you could only share 3 truths about life with your nearest and dearest, what would they be?

  1. Be careful about “staying right”. Changing our minds is OK.
  2. Always have compassion for the other person’s point of view
  3. Every day, do something that makes you happy.
Benay Dyor

Benay Dyor

Life's a Journey. I don't always get it right but I'm having FUN! I love helping coach changemakers shine their Light, even more, in the world. I do this through a range of enjoyable projects including Ready-Made Coaching Tools, The Coach Guardian, My Coach Office, and my One-to-one, 4-week, Re-Ignite Program (for tenured Changemakers in Transition).

Benay Dyor

Benay Dyor

Life's a Journey. I don't always get it right but I'm having FUN! I love helping coach changemakers shine their Light, even more, in the world. I do this through a range of enjoyable projects including Ready-Made Coaching Tools, The Coach Guardian, My Coach Office, and my One-to-one, 4-week, Re-Ignite Program (for tenured Changemakers in Transition).

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