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Freestyle rapping and coaching - What is the link? Tell me more!

Updated: Sep 16, 2020

In 2012 there was a study looking at the brain patterns of freestyle rappers. Researchers wanted to look the brain pattern changes during the rap. Their aim was find out which parts of the brain they were using during different time periods. They carried out an fMRI scan during a rap and the results are here!

So what was the outcome and why did the researchers want to find out how the brain is working? The Science Of Coaching has investigated and see the results below!

The medial prefrontal cortex is responsible for organizing and integrating information. This lit up during the start and the end of the rap. The dorsolateral regions which are in charge of self-control, self-monitoring and self-censoring became less active during freestyle rap. This indicated a lack of self regulation and movement into creative “flow”. The reduction in action from this part of the brain gave the rappers higher levels of spontaneous improvisation. Can this improvising and creative brain network can be trained for quicker thinking? We are not sure, but "flow" can be investigated further. Reaching "flow" as Coaches, with our coaching clients can increase levels of communication and rapport.

What is flow?

Is there a time when you feel totally immersed in what you’re doing? In the zone, energised, focused, and really enjoying the time you’re having with whatever you are doing? This is flow.

The rappers felt like they were in flow when they are sitting completely present in the moment. Allowing flow to take over, reduce their regulatory control and let the words just come out.

Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has carried out extensive research relating to the importance of flow on focus, happiness and motivation to complete a task. Csikszentmihalyi, 2002: Engeser and Rheinberg, 2008 studies showed that during these states there was a tendency of individuals to engage in activities because of enjoyment from the task itself rather than being driven by a future goal.

How is this related to coaching?

There are 2 contexts for flow. For the client, potentially letting go of emotional regulation within that moment and having the ability to talk unhindered by their prefrontal cortex. Allowing a controlled release of self control, self monitoring and self regulation, which some can find liberating and releasing. Can we as Coaches help our clients induce flow and give them this environment where they feel free to talk?

We should also observe our sense of flow as Coaches and /or leaders. Coaches, especially new to the industry, are searching for that ideal powerful question. However, the real skill with master level Coaches is truly being present in the moment allowing flow to take place for us as well. Where there is no searching for the next question, we are actually listening to what is said and the question appears. In the right place at the right time. Working in true partnership with our clients. As leaders are you really truly present when you are with the people you are speaking to/ working with? How can you better initiate flow with your people for optimum performance and happiness?

Moving into a flow state to complete a task efficiently, giving focus and paying attention to the moment is becoming one of the most important attributes for success in many areas of business and personal lives.

Understanding the importance of flow as Coaches and business leaders can be useful for us and our clients or employees. This can encourage us to be completely present, in service of our clients, creating flow for us and the people we work with. Potentially opening up new, deeper levels of communication and enjoyment of work.

For all the new Coaches out there. Instead of searching for that powerful question, listen be present, reflect and listen again. Remember practice makes permanent.

Caroline Langston is the Founder of Successful Consultants Ltd, an executive, personal and career development coaching company in Hong Kong, with her partner Patrick Bennett founding the practice in New York. She is also the Founder of Recruiters Give Back, a nonprofit providing free information and coaching to people who are unemployed. Caroline is also the Founder of The Science Of Coaching. Caroline is dedicated to coaching people for success and happiness in their careers and lives. She is a Certified Professional Coach at International Coaching Federation standards. Certified Team Coach and is also degree qualified with further certifications in Neuro Linguistic Programming at Master Practitioner and Coach level.


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