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ET Project \ Podcasts

ET-063: The missing link to human understanding and why people act and talk the way they do

With Mr. Christoffel Sneijders

ET-063: A conversation with Mr. Christoffel Sneijders

and your host Wayne Brown on September 05, 2023

Episode notes: A conversation with Mr. Christoffel Sneijders

Hello and welcome to the ET Project. I’m your host, Wayne Brown, and as usual, we’re delighted to be delivering this podcast for executive talent all over the world whom we’re affectionately referring to as Team ET.

Today we’re off to one of my favorite locations, Madrid, Spain. And we are here to chat with professor and ICF Master certified coach, Mr. Christoffel Sneijders. As an innovative, multidisciplinary, and expert in human behavior and change, Christoffel motivates, inspires and challenges people to transform.

He’s also a lecturer at the IE Business school in Madrid, and founder of the International 3 Brains Academy. Christoffel is the author of the book, How Men and Women Fit: Finally Understand Your Partner With The 3 Brains Theory. And his most recent release in February of this year called Relationships? Which Brain is Talking?: The Ultimate Guide to Happy, Healthy & Successful Relationships.

Here is an extract from our conversation as we start to get into it…

“…I came aware there’s a limitation and I started my own company and then moments, I started to learn more so. I worked already nine years as an executive coach and leadership trainer, there’re a lot of behavioral training. So what am I missing? And I joined in to say, somatic training, NLP, all kinds of things. What am I missing? But I was learning a lot, say always. It sounds like what is more? Because I always had a question, who was in charge of us? But if you read the average books or you listen to all the gurus, it’s about you go to the NLP schools, your thoughts are master. You go to the gurus but nowadays, I will not know names, otherwise it’s, but nice to say master your mind and master your body….”

Today’s Guest: MR. CHRISTOFFEL SNEIJDERS

Christoffel’s passion, authenticity, empathy, and versatile knowledge in coaching, psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, NLP Burnout, PTSD, anxiety, trauma, grief, and 33 years of experience are vital to helping global clients create the life and outcomes they long for. Christoffel has an expansive dream to make this world a better place to live. He introduced the 3 Brains, which is the head, heart and gut theory in 2018 after many years of research in how to assist clients who are stuck in their limiting beliefs and trauma-like experiences.

Since then, he’s taken these concepts and is now teaching the ICF approved 3 Brains Coaching certification program across the globe. Sharing this groundbreaking, scientifically proven concept about 3 Brains will provide listeners with insights and techniques needed to establish long lasting change in their life.

I took the free website test prior to our call, and you’ll hear Christoffel offer some feedback during our conversation.

Final words from Christoffel:

WB: If I’m a leader now listening to the conversation, as a wrap up answer to the bigger topic, how do I utilize the knowledge coming out of this conversation to become more effective as a leader? So, what do I do? How do I start to utilize this?

CS: I always start saying it’s extremely easy and everybody can do it. It doesn’t mean every… You only have to ask three questions.

  • What I’m now going to do, is it logical?
  • What I’m now going to do, is my heart in it?
  • And if I’m not going to do, is my gut in it?

To ask in a different question, say I would think this through, what would be my answer? Say I would follow my heart, what would I do? Say I would follow my gut feeling, what would I do? 

And those last three answers give you insight. Am I aligned or getting different answers? And most people ask this question, they come aware they have different answers, or they say, “I don’t know what my heart will do. I don’t feel it.” Okay, so you’re… That’s why I follow my gut. 

So they follow one of their brains, or they follow the logic, or maybe they just follow their heart. In your case, I’m coming back to your case, probably, you would easier know what the answer is in following your heart. Probably you will easier know what the answer is on what would I do if I think this through? And you would hesitate a little bit if I say, “What would you do if you would follow your gut feeling?”

And even if you verbalize it, then you would feel, “Yeah, but I cannot do that, Chris. That’s really egocentric.” There would be a lot of… Could be a lot of judgments following on with it, basically internal progression. So for every leader, just ask three questions and come aware what is happening. Put those answers in front of you and start observing them from a third position. And then Wayne, if you’d like to have some more coaching on it or me?…

[music]

0:00:03.6 Wayne Brown: Hello, I’m your host, Wayne Brown, and welcome to the ET Project. Which I’m delighted to be delivering this podcast for executive talent all over the world, whom we’re affectionately referring to as team ET. Today we’re off to one of my favorite locations, Madrid, Spain. And we are here to chat with professor and ICF Master certified coach, Mr. Christoffel Sneijders. As an innovative, multidisciplinary, and expert in human behavior and change, Christoffel motivates, inspires and challenges people to transform. He’s also a lecturer at the IE Business school in Madrid, and founder of the International 3 Brains Academy. Christoffel is the author of the book, How Men and Women Fit: Finally Understand Your Partner With The 3 Brains Theory. And his most recent release in February of this year called Relationships? Which Brain is Talking?: The Ultimate Guide to Happy, Healthy & Successful Relationships.

0:01:04.5 WB: His passion, authenticity, empathy, and versatile knowledge in coaching, psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, NLP Burnout, PTSD, anxiety, trauma, grief, and 33 years of experience are vital to helping global clients create the life and outcomes they long for. Christoffel has an expansive dream to make this world a better place to live. He introduced the 3 Brains, which is the head, heart and gut theory in 2018 after many years of research in how to assist clients who are stuck in their limiting beliefs and trauma-like experiences.

0:01:44.9 WB: Since then, he’s taken these concepts and is now teaching the ICF approved 3 Brains Coaching certification program across the globe. Sharing this groundbreaking, scientifically proven concept about 3 Brains will provide listeners with insights and techniques needed to establish long lasting change in their life. I took the free website test prior to our call, and you’ll hear Christoffel offer some feedback during our conversation. Team ET, are you ready for a little inner reflection to understand how to connect between the head, heart, and gut, and how this is impacting you right now? If so, sit back and ready yourself for this very interesting conversation with our guest, Mr. Christoffel Sneijders, and this episode titled The Missing Link to Human Understanding and Why People Act and Talk the Way they do.

0:02:41.5 Speaker 2: Welcome to the ET project, a podcast for those executive talents determined to release their true potential and create an impact. Join our veteran coach and mentor, Wayne Brown as we unpack an exciting future together.

0:02:57.9 WB: Welcome team ET. We’ve got another fantastic week and it’s great to have you with us as usual, and you’re probably sick of me saying this by now, but extremely interesting guest joining us today. And a very interesting topic I have to say. We’re gonna be talking about your 3 Brains. I’m not sure how many of you realize you have 3 Brains, but we’re gonna be delving into that with our guest, Christoffel Sneijders. Welcome to the ET project. Great to have you here and I look forward to our conversation.

0:03:28.6 Christoffel Sneijders: Thank you so much for having me on the show, Wayne. It’s just a great honor, because I watch your show. Yeah, I listen to your show, actually. I like it. So I thought when we got somebody invite and we could connect, I said, yes. No, your audience is the audience that likes to achieve, that likes to live, that likes to learn, that likes to expand, and dares to step out of, say, their comfort zone of what is normal, or what is, in my words, old science. So pleasure to be here.

0:03:58.1 WB: Thank you. And for the listeners, you may not be able to pick up on the accent. Christoffel is sitting in probably one of my favorite cities of all time, anywhere in the world, Madrid. For me, that is the pinnacle of where I would like to retire one day. It’s such a fantastic environment. There’s so much there. You’ve got the history, you’ve got the ambience, you’ve got the culture, the people, not to mention the food.

0:04:28.1 CS: Food and drinks, yes, that’s where the Spanish people almost lived for.

0:04:34.7 WB: Absolutely.

0:04:36.1 CS: As they say in Italy, la dolce vita, life is beautiful, and in Spain, they also like to live that life.

0:04:42.1 WB: Which part of Madrid are you based in? Like Madrid’s not huge as a city, but what area in particular, like north, south, east, west?

0:04:54.6 CS: I’m a little bit, say, east of Retiro Park. So I’m in, let’s say, in like almost every cities, you have multiple highway rings. In a highway ring, we’re still inside that. So we are really in Madrid, you could say, three kilometers to Retiro Park. It’s on the corner of Salamanca. Real Salamanca is where you really have to have a lot of euros to buy an apartment. We’re just on the edge a bit, so it’s still “affordable” to Spanish norms, but Madrid is extremely expensive.

0:05:22.0 CS: But the beauty of Madrid for people who doesn’t know it, like there’s 10,000 bars and cafes. It’s impossible to walk three streets and not finding a cafe. And the beauty of cafes is, I don’t know if you can run away and you take my age, yeah? In the old times, you had Cheers, that is the soap series Cheers, where everybody knows your name. That is the beauty of Madrid is, if you go somewhere, they’re always friendly, they always say hi to you. You’re not, maybe you are an expert, but you always feel at home here. They’re not biased for thinking where you’re coming from. If they ask where you’re coming from, it’s always for interest, not for another kind of thing. That’s the beauty. And besides, I will not make it, but the prices for a beautiful tapas, the prices for a beautiful drink are also extremely affordable. So that part of corporate living is also amazing.

0:06:10.6 WB: You’ve obviously lived and worked in multiple locations around the world, as you say, much living in Spain. You’ve lived in Australia. How do you find the different cultures and adjusting to life within these different areas? Is it something that you find easy to accommodate or?

0:06:32.6 CS: But they always say the Dutch, just like a Chinese, you can find them everywhere. The big difference is that you don’t find Dutch so quickly because they’re extremely easy in integration in the community. The Dutch are tradesmen so they adapt. There, I look at myself, because that’s easy to talk about it. Yes, there’s a different culture in Holland, as I think everybody knows, we call a spade a spade and we really call a spade a spade. And so we define honesty of saying what we think, and all the other cultures think that’s right or rude, and we say, no, at least you know what you get from us. What you see is what you get. In Australia, they say the same, although that’s not the same. They call a spade there sometimes a spade. So you have the adjustment. What I came aware and that’s a huge difference in different countries. Netherlands, just like Spain is a country that exists already thousands of years. So there’s an ingrained culture of some millennia. In Australia, it’s a culture of 200 years. It’s maximum five or six generations and 50% of the population is first or second generation ex-immigrants. And you find a different culture there in general that people still are there in their survival mode and make-it mode. And so they’re much more, in my words, competitive, making it happen for themselves. So if they need you, they call you. If they don’t need you, they don’t call you back.

0:07:56.1 WB: It’s a really interesting comparison and I haven’t heard the three countries compared before, but that’s really fascinating. What’s your background within, in the career space? Maybe you can introduce yourself through your career and what you’re doing now?

0:08:13.1 CS: Yeah, of course. Let’s say I’m almost experienced as you in years, Wayne. So now I start it off say, I’m the typical guy with a wide and broad of interest and also in my knowledge part. So after my high school, they just advised me to do commercial engineering. You have a heart for math, for physics, all those kind of stuff. Just do it and you get a job easily. So I just followed advice at 22, I stepped in software engineering because I don’t know it for sure, but I was 22. I could get a car. So I thought, okay, where should I sign? And then I asked, what should I actually do here? You’re going to make software. Okay, that’s okay. Yeah. I came aware, it’s not my real passion or I would say I wasn’t very good at it. Went into marketing and I came aware when I was marketing and manager and I was having some people in my team. And actually I loved getting a team great and happy. And I said, Chris, you’re the first manager of us who really listens to us and goes with us. And it’s interested us.

0:09:18.1 CS: And I didn’t have the real education for being a manager, which I said that you have a university degree. And so, I really, I still remember that I was something like 27. I thought, isn’t it normal that you have interest in your own people? Apparently not. A couple of years later, after I say, I really joined, say when I was 31, the number one training and coaching company in Europe in that moment. And they were saying McKinsey of the coaching in the training world. And I really came into my passion and got massive training from them in coaching and training, worked there for nine years, became Senior partner, hit the burnout because I thought that, working 60, 70 hours a week, doing your sports, getting really bored, getting your own business done at that, a lack of sleep is normal and somewhere is not.

0:10:13.5 CS: I came aware there’s a limitation and I started my own company and then moments, I started to learn more so. I worked already nine years as an executive coach and leadership trainer, there’re a lot of behavioral training. So what am I missing? And I joined in to say, somatic training, NLP, all kinds of things. What am I missing? But I was learning a lot, say always. It sounds like what is more? Because I always had a question, who was in charge of us? But if you read the average books or you listen to all the gurus, it’s about you go to the NLP schools, your thoughts are master. You go to the gurus but nowadays, I will not know names, otherwise it’s, but nice to say master your mind and master your body.

0:11:00.8 CS: Hey, your thoughts can create epigenetics, all that kind of stuff. And also, yeah, your source can be in charge. But if you read about trauma, because I also came in that time from a therapist when I moved to Australia, then your body can remember a traumatic experience. Although emotionally, mentally you’re over it. Hey, you’ve done CBT, you already know that you were either bullied or something else, but your body is still in an itchy feeling. Then I thought, so your mind is not in control because your body is in control. Now if you read the book of Peter Levine and now the of book of Bessel Van Der Kolk, The Body Keeps The Score, it’s just proven. It’s true. So I asked all those kind of people, okay, who was in charge of us? And most of them did not know until I read the book of Peter Levine after they discourse and became aware that even Yankovic already in the ’40s wrote about the gut is actually our core, and our heart and our head are actually just deficient of it.

0:12:00.9 CS: Just needed to get everything in control. And I read it, I read it and I thought, that’s interesting. And I thought of also NLP Robert Dilts, Jorg Spencer and all the kind of gurus. And I thought maybe I could make the connection that maybe our heart and our head and our gut are brain. And I start researching. And there’s a book written by Michael Gershon, The Second Brain in the ’90s, where he scientifically proved the gut is a brain of 500 million brain cells. They become aware of research of Dr. Armour who wrote also in the ’90s a research document, The Heart Is a brain. They become aware of heart mass. And you think how on earth conspiracy is just possible. Our gut is in a real brain. Our heart is a real brain. And the only thing you hear in neuroscience is the thing in between our ears. You hear me stop at every, I’m still sometimes puzzled when I talk about people say, yeah, but neuroscience only talks about a thing in our head, Chris, are you sure The other ones are brains? And I almost like to slap them and say, do your freaking research? Just Google it. And you’ll find the scientific proofs. Science proves it.

0:13:05.4 CS: And that really opened my world six, seven years ago. I thought, of course, if that’s true, it means we have answers on the question when people say, follow your heart, follow your gut. But we also have answers why things sometimes are so hard. I don’t know if it’s with you. When they say lunch is here in two hours, and stop me if you want, but you’re hungry. When you’re hungry, you go to the fridge. Your head says, okay, I look at my six-pack, that’s not really a six-pack anymore, let’s go for the salad. You open your fridge and you see actually the leftovers from yesterday. Some pizza, some cheesecake, maybe some chocolate, some wine, and you see your salad. Most people will walk away, not with the salad.

0:13:43.2 CS: Although, logically they said, I’m taking salad, something inside them said, yeah, skip the salad. Do that for dinner or tomorrow, just go for cheesecake. Who is then in charge of you? It’s not all those freaking neurons at your head. It’s actually your body in charge. And when you say your body’s in charge, who’s in body? Actually, your gut brain is in that moment in charge. It just says, I need food now, I need a lot of energy now. Let me see, a salad has almost no energy, cheesecake, pizza, or lasagna, or whatever your leftover, it has a lot of energy. Okay, let’s go for it now. And as your gut brain does not know tomorrow or yesterday, so it doesn’t do a cause and effect analysis, it will never say, hey, you lost your six-pack, and just say, I need it now. Because you don’t know how much energy you need in half an hour, so take it all. If you think about that concept, and you put it in your personal life, but also your business life, the rules get a totally different insight, because then all that toxic leadership becomes explainable. All those other things about chronic diseases become explainable as Dr. Gabor Maté says and writes about in his book, When the Body Says No. And at that moment, that’s why I’m loving to be here and thank you for letting me finish. Everybody should know this, because it can change our world really amazingly.

0:15:03.1 WB: You have gone into the heart of it here. You wrote a couple of books, right? I think the first one was 2019, and you released another one just this year, and essentially talking about the three brains. I think the first one was How Men and Women fit, and then the most recent one is Relationships, Which Brain is Talking? In both of them, you’re exploring this three brain concept, so I wonder if we can unpack it a little bit further. You’ve started to unpack. Traditionally, as you’ve said, and even in neuroscience, we talk about our head brain. We’re brought up through education, through life, always referring to the one brain. And now science and medical research is also proving that there are these other brains within our physiological self, not just our psychological self. So I think it’s a really fascinating area of research and discussion, and you’ve probably done more than most in this area, and your two books support that. If the typical leader today was listening to us talking about three brains, my question, if I was that person, would be, okay, even if that’s true, what’s the value of it for me to know? So how do I use this now?

0:16:29.8 CS: It’s a beautiful and extremely important question that you asked Wayne, because what’s in it for me? That’s the most important question that most leaders, also most people ask. Because when I teach leaders or coaches three brain coaching, as I forgot in my whole enthusiasm, I’m an MCC executive coach. MCC is an ICF standard, but I’m a master certified coach. So being a visiting professor at the business school, I will say it helps you to come aware how you can really can motivate people and how you can get them engaged and how you can let them learn in a way they’re there. Most research and the Gallup organization released it recently, their research, that there’s an increase of disengagement in the workplace, they’re from 30% to 40% in the last decade.

0:17:17.3 CS: So we write more and more books about engagement and motivation and more gurus stand up and say, follow me and follow this and follow that and engagement levels are dropping. Now, you don’t have to be a research professor to say, okay, so probably, there’s somewhere a mismatch happening. If we all follow those MBAs and those gurus and our engagement is dropping, then probably we’re barking up the wrong tree. And so what do you learn about it? When we approach things logically, we use our head brain. So when you like to get people in action, we have to understand it, we have to understand why it’s happening, so the logic is there. But as I said, with the salad and the cheesecake or the pizza, logic does not override our inner system, because your gut brain is always the last one who says yes or no, he has really the veto right.

0:18:14.2 CS: There’s China, Russia and America on the same moment in the United Nations Council. It’s stronger than the three of them. But your gut brain has one massive responsibility, keeping yourself alive. It has a lust for life. And by keeping yourself alive, it takes care of you. So you could also say it’s the egocentric brain that just takes care of me. It’s the brain that takes care of you. So when there is a fire in a stadium, you run out as a first and you forget to save the people who are sitting next to you because you don’t know them, but you will take care of your own kids and your own wife, because they’re yours, they’re also the Olympic Medal Winner because I win, you lose, but it’s also the one who creates toxic leadership because it’s my team, my success, my promotion.

0:19:04.7 CS: If I have to sack you, I don’t care. Knowing that, and knowing what the preference of a person is in say their normal state, how they make decisions, you can come over here, hey, how’s their leadership style? If you think about the heart, the heart releases Oxytocin also. Oxytocin, the birth hormone, is the bonding hormone. When we are born, we’re totally helpless. We will not survive two days without a mom, dad, or caregivers. Our biggest fear in life is actually rejection because if it would be rejected from day one, we’re born, we’re dead. So our bonding need is massively. That’s where your heart is responsible for. Although in our educational systems, it’s almost not educated. Boys should be boys. We don’t cry. That’s gut-brain behavior. Girls should be girls and sweet, heart-brain behavior. In the most MBAs, it’s about survival of the fittest. It’s all about competition, and so we train the gut-brain massively. Then the workforce, you see the people are trained to be me, myself and I’s, instead of us and the team. If you start knowing that, you come aware, “Hey, how can I approach people?” ‘Cause everybody has a preference. You filled out yesterday our three brain score, and if it’s allowed to share your score, Wayne.

0:20:18.9 WB: Please, please, go for it. I was gonna ask you anyway, by all means.

0:20:22.9 CS: Okay. So then I use you, say as a guinea pig here, that your heart-brain score was 41. Your head-brain score was 38 and your gut-brain score was 26. And of course it’s not you, it’s a photo of the whole person Wayne. Obviously, we cannot say you are, let’s not. But your preference in choosing is actually you choose for people, you choose for logic, and last, you choose say, me, myself, and I. And so if I would make a generalization without knowing you too much, it would say, no, you take care of your team in your company, you take care of your customer, you take care of the people around you. In decisions, you think it through, you won’t jump right away from every bridge. But your pitfall could be that you don’t do enough self-care, that you help everybody. And at the end of the evening, you sit flabbergasted on the couch and think, “Oh, hello, I don’t have energy anymore to go to the gym, to do something else. Let’s do something almost easy foods because I’m even too tired to cook for myself.” And I see a little bit nodding in your face. It’s just a generalization when I make it. So as a leader, you’re a great leader ’cause your team will love you. Your team knows you make sensible, reasonable decisions and you care about them.

0:21:39.4 CS: They also know if somebody’s misperforming or not performing, you’re not the first one who really would go for conflict or say, “Stop it.” But as we say, the heart talks, the hard discussions are not your favorite one. You would probably postpone them one or two, three days hoping that miraculously, it all solves by itself. And when you have to do it, of course you do it, but that’s only when there’s more an emotional push that you can’t escape it anymore. So you will not proactively solve the discussion or a conflict in a team, but probably a little bit more reactively when you really have to stand up, and maybe then there’s a little bit more emotion in the discussion. I know it’s a massive generalization that would say, that just say if you would type your score on a general person.

0:22:29.0 CS: So as a leader, knowing what you know, and yes, I say that is true, then you can say, “Okay, how could we balance that out?” You don’t have to change the score. You don’t have to go 35, 35, 35 in a score. But knowing this, we’re okay, so I follow my heart, I follow my logic, I follow less my gut-brain. Now the beauty is, they’re not behavioral threats like DISC or MBTI or all those kind of stuff. It’s a physical wisdom center. Just like you can learn math or you learn… You live in China, as you learn Chinese, you can train your gut to be more active. It’s just you could say it’s almost like a muscle. It’s not really a muscle. You could see your brain as a muscle, but just like a muscle you can train, and so you can train your gut brain and strengthen your three wisdom centers, by strengthening your wisdom center that it gets a louder voice inside you. So it will step up a little bit sooner when needed. On that part, as a leader, you can actually train your three brains.

0:23:26.9 CS: Which if I ask a leader, say you have the bicep and a tricep, would it make sense only to train your bicep and never your tricep? No leader would say yes. They will say, “No, no, you need both muscles ’cause otherwise you’re gonna stretch and flex your arm.” Yes. Now, the same as your three brains. Just imagine you only would use two brains instead of three brains. Would it be a smart… Would you then be the best their leader? No. I never found a leader who says, “Yes, I will be the best.” Probably say, “Yeah, I’m doing good now.” I said, “Yeah, but you’re not doing great. You’re not doing amazing ’cause you only work on two of your three engines, and don’t explain to me that there’s two engines, you can win from three engines.” So in that moment, you can train it, and if you have all three of them, you don’t have to become more left or right or whatever, head, heart, gut. You can choose what is appropriate. And maybe you still know it from the old, old days when we were young. Never say that, we have to be careful. You had situational leadership, a task-oriented, relationship-oriented, and I don’t know you, I trained people on that 10 or five years ago.

0:24:26.1 WB: Yes.

0:24:26.6 CS: If you would put your three brains in it, it makes sense. Task-oriented is more gut-brain, head-brain. Relationship is more heart-brain, head-brain. Conformational where you use all of them is all your three brains, and escaping all of it is actually not using your brains. Most using your gut-brain escape situation based on a fear situation. So to become perfect in situational leadership, you need your three brains on top of it.

0:24:53.1 WB: Very accurate assessment of me, by the way. So let’s come back to the leadership role now, and let’s talk more personally about partners. So if we wanna build our relationship with our partner, whether it’s work relationship, whether it’s private relationship, can we start to identify these things from observation without doing the assessment? Or should we always do the assessment, understand how to read the assessment, and then make the judgment over the discussion or can we do this more through observation?

0:25:35.3 CS: Okay. If you see me laughing, I love that people do the assessment ’cause it gives me more information about people and what are average scores, what average score connected to this, this same good job. So based for research, I love to know it. But the beauty is, while I close the door and can still talk, we don’t have to do that. We can use actually a language to come aware of it. So the moment I say, we have to sense in English. No, Chris. Wayne this is a no brainer. Which brain is talking on that moment? Your head. And when you say, “Oh, I cannot digest this proposal you just gave to me, Wayne. I cannot digest the fee. You like me to do the coaching.” Then my gut brain is talking. When you say, “Wayne, I really love to work with the people you selected in Spain.” Then the heart is talking. So in our language, the beauty is the verbal connect, our heart and our guts talk in sensations. But the feeling you have when you’re hungry, the feeling you have when you have butterflies in your stomach, the feeling when your stomach is really screeching about something, those are sensations. To give a meaning to them based on our nerve systems and all kind of systems, it goes to our beautiful head ’cause that’s freaking amazing.

0:26:51.4 CS: But it’s an amazing consultant, analyzer, doctor, psychologist on the same moment, and gets all the sensations inside and says, “Okay, let’s check where I had these sensations before. How could I categorize them in my amazing database of 100 million, 100,000 million brain cells?” It comes to, “This is this, this, this. So this crunchy feeling probably means this. Okay, I’m going to say that to Wayne.” So I verbalize the words, and the words come out based on the verbalization, connecting with that sensation. But most times it’s from our heart or our gut. So we can analyze it. So no, you don’t have to do my test. I really start observing the language. You can come aware of it. And so when I do my training for leaders or for coaches, I always say, “You only need to do three things.” And you see them almost right putting there. I say, “Observe, observe, observe.” And of course, there’s more head that’s making a connection with the client. So I really feel, say all the ICF competencies, you feel trustworthy. You make the connection, make the bonding, you make the rapport, all the kind of blah, blah, blah. But actually, it’s observation what is happening in it. And are your personal relationships the same, by the way? Yeah, I talk about business, but in your personal relationship, the same.

0:28:06.8 WB: I know you studied NLP. I have basic level of understanding as well. And in NLP, we also talk about language patterns, right? Connected more, however, to learning styles, the old learning styles, so the visual, audio, kinesthetic. However, very similar to what you’re saying, but explaining it differently through the head, is there a difference between adults and children in the way that we identify and observe?

0:28:37.3 CS: The answer is yes. And yeah, you hear me a little bit hesitate, because we’re all born with a head, heart and a gut. We all know that. What most people don’t know is the first three years of our life, our brain and the connections in our brain, and I mean head-brain, are growing this 100,000 connections a minute up to one hour. Depends on age. Up to year three, our brain is growing faster than bamboo in China. Bamboo can do up to 60 centimeters a day. After year three, it’s get… All those connect… A lot of connections get pruned back to make it more organized. If you look at brainwaves up to year seven, it’s, work actually in an hypnotic state, if you would say. So in the average brain interference is a delta or theta state, what we call sometimes a highly hypnotic state.

0:29:40.2 WB: So they’re highly suggestible for all those things that come in. We learn actually next week, last week at the age of seven. So there is no cost and effect analysis before the age of seven. So actually, when you talk about this up to years of seven, they can almost say there are sponsors who just absorbs your world as it is without saying, this is right, this is wrong. Maybe they say this, but they don’t see the connection and what does it mean in the future. After year seven up to year 12, based on brainwaves, there’s still an alpha state on average that say a likely suggestible state. That’s the state we are in when we watch a soccer game, with our mouths a little bit open, or just in a relaxed state of meditation. After year 12, the brain is fully functional, the head-brain, in all the modalities for brainwaves, as they say. So if you look at kids, they’re having progression say how their head-brain is actually operating. And if you think about it, Wayne, what is the first regulation of your memory you have? What’s your age? What can you still remember of your childhood? What’s the age?

0:30:54.3 WB: It was somewhere around four.

0:30:56.8 CS: Now I had these fingers already up because on average, we don’t have a memory in our head before the age of three or four. Based on say, you’re pruning away, it does not mean that before the year four, our education is important, if you look at insecure attachment, how you’re attached with your parents, how secure are they in their yes and nos has a massive impact on how you deal with anxiety, bonding and connection, and later on with your life, actually how your heart-brain and gut-brain are actually being trained. So to make an answer is a massive difference between young kids, teenagers, and adults, how the three brains operate.

0:31:41.4 CS: And now there’s one extremely important thing, before the age of seven, according to a lot of research, all your basic patterns of bonding, connection, dealing with conflict are actually ingrained already also in your heart and guts. Your gut from how do I take care of myself, your heart, how do I bond with my caregivers? And after our minds, of course, starts getting it inside, it doesn’t mean school and relationships aren’t important, but are only important when there’s a highly impactful event or horrible teacher, a breakup, bullying, whatever, then there’s a massive impact that can override some of your systems. But as the Jesuit, the religious things already said hundreds of years ago, give us a person in the age of seven, and we show you what kind of person you become later. Give us a child just born, we will raise him the first seven years, and you’ll get whatever you want.

0:32:36.9 CS: And based on that old knowledge, actually how we deal now, it’s also an outcry what I’m saying here, how do we educate actually in schools our children, and also we as parents? We train their three brains on another three brains. How do we say later? Because we can do so much good if we would educate them more on three brains instead of only on one… Actually two brains, gut and head-brain. Our head-brain gets stuffed with all kind of knowledge at that school, reads, reading, writing, math. The gut-brain get the highest ranks and numbers and marks you can get. That’d be the best in class. And our social connection or heart-brain is trained the less. And then we are surprised when we started this that toxic leadership is so massively, that this engagement in companies is so massively and growing. Now actually it grows more and more the less we train our heart-brain, and where is… If you look in cost cutting in schools, which curriculum is cut? The first, dance, art, social work, doing things together. But everything that has to do with the heart-brain is cut first because it’s not tangible. It’s top skills, it’s bubba. But later in life, it’s the most important thing we can have.

0:34:05.6 WB: Do you have a feeling about where we are heading as humans for the future? Like with this new knowledge where we’ve got the three brains, we’re learning how they can align and work more harmoniously, and the impact they can have, the question would be, is it all too little too late as we head towards AI and singularity, or is it just in time?

0:34:33.7 CS: First of all, I’m in extreme optimist state. Look at our 6, 7, 10,000 years on this earth as human beings, if I say more evolved, as you would say, we had a lot of ups and downs. Yeah, we had in the middle ages, in Europe, we had the dark age. And we really were not a smart ass on that moment. But before, there’s a Roman Empire, we had the French Revolution. Now I think we’re not too late. I would say you’re never too late. I love sports. You’re never too late until the referee whistles on his thing that the game is over. The game is not over. Artificial intelligence is freaking amazing. Like 30 years ago, the first chess computers were launched, or maybe 40 years ago, and they would say they will overtake the world sooner or later.

0:35:24.8 CS: Chess computers are smarter than humans. Still humans now can win from a chess computer 40 years onwards. So AI is scary, but can be extremely useful if you use it the right way. And yes, jobs will get lost ’cause if you would go, say, just to mention, you had a trial. You would go to a lawyer. Your lawyer around the corner did five years of law and is 10 years in business, read a lot of books. And you go to AI who read all the freaking books of all your country, saw all the law cases of all your country, and can give you actually which law cases would be beneficial for you. To whom would you go? AI. So your research is done, research work’s done by AI. But if you’re instead standing in front of the jury, would you like to have a computer there or a person who can smell the room?

0:36:22.3 CS: ‘Cause what we have as humans is our three brains. Our sensory systems are not only, say touch and smell. We are based on energy, and if you look at energy world at quantum physics, we’re all energy. How many times did you enter a room, Wayne, and you actually smelled the atmosphere and say, “Hey, there was a fight going on here. There was a discussion here, or there was a happy series here.” You did not smell the room. You sense the energy systems there. Now AI can never do that. So it can never smell the jury, it can never smell the judge. So there, a human being will always be perfect. Will it overtake your plane? Yes. But the plane is already overtaken by AI already for 10, 20 years. Automatic pilot is actually artificial intelligence, but nobody calls them like that. Now everything is artificial intelligence.

0:37:17.3 CS: The automatic pilot was already dead. So no, it will not. The only thing is we have to use it smart. And of course, we’re now in the part of it, so we make mistakes. But every child who learns to walk falls down 1,000 times. So yes, we will mistakes. Yes, it will be used against us. Yes, it will be used in front of us. The only thing we should pray and hope for that our lawmakers, our governments who put the right law and order in that. If you look now say to social media, you’re already 10 years too late for that. I hope they will do so, but I hope they will learn. But AI will bring a massive profound speed in the little things we can do.

0:38:01.5 CS: So human mistakes in research will be done less. So we will use different kind of laws that does or respect in every both coaches. If I like to know how the grow model works, I can use AI for that. But if I really like to train myself or grow, then I need you, Wayne, ’cause you see my nonverbal communication, you see my eye blink, you see my sweat coming out. You come over and I swallow when I like to say something, you see me moving backwards. And based on all those sensory systems, you have an ID which does not feel somewhere secure in this. I don’t know why, but I smell it. He’s not secure. You ask, “Hey Chris, how secure are you with this grow model?” And you hear me say, “Uh, I am.” You say, “That uh, what does it mean?” “Yeah, I know it, but I don’t feel it.” And that’s where the coach steps in, and that makes the massive difference, right? AI can never replace that. Just depends. Do we ever see AI overtaking a soccer coach? No.

0:39:06.4 WB: I doubt to the extent, your example of the lawyer was a great example because that highlights the difference between the two. I’m wondering…

0:39:21.3 CS: And there’s one last thing, and just to add on that, ’cause this was technical, our heart has something that you sometimes forget, that’s courage, that is sacrificing yourself for the bigger good. AI, so just that soldier in Ukraine on this moment, but still goes on or know it knows the odds are not the best. How could you program ever AI to follow courage? ‘Cause courage is not logical. How do you explain the woman that jumps in front of the car to save her kid? AI would not do that because statistically, it’s not wise. So AI will always work somewhere on statistics, but pure rich living for the greater good, following your passion, how do you explain AI following your passion? ‘Cause passion is something that’s in your heart, connected with your gut, connected with your whole viewing. AI will never do that.

0:40:19.6 CS: So in that part, the real human jobs where pure rich passion, intention, connection is needed, AI will never overcome it. Yes, it will do the basic things like blinking his eyes and giving us a smile. But if you read the book, How Emotions Are Made from Lisa Barrett Feldman, you come aware emotions are constructed, and actually all the tests to read a face only have 40% of predictability in it. 60% is always wrong because the standard icons and emotions and facial expressions is not true. Okay, now we’ll stop, or did I say take all your time, Wayne.

[laughter]

0:40:57.6 WB: Yeah. I mean, it shows you…

0:41:00.1 CS: This sort of line, don’t be afraid. Use it.

0:41:03.0 WB: Yeah, for sure. For sure. If I’m a leader now listening to the conversation, as a wrap up answer to the bigger topic, how do I utilize the knowledge coming out of this conversation to become more effective as a leader? So what do I do? How do I start to utilize this?

0:41:25.0 CS: I always start saying it’s extremely easy and everybody can do it. It doesn’t mean every… You only have to ask three questions. What I’m now going to do, is it logical? What I’m now going to do, is my heart in it? And if I’m not going to do, is my gut in it? To ask in a different question, say I would think this through, what would be my answer? Say I would follow my heart, what would I do? Say I would follow my gut feeling, what would I do? And those last three answers give you insight. Am I aligned or getting different answers? And most people ask this question, they come aware they have different answers, or they say, “I don’t know what my heart will do. I don’t feel it.” Okay, so you’re… That’s why I follow my gut. So they follow one of their brains, or they follow the logic, or maybe they just follow their heart. In your case, I’m coming back to your case, probably, you would easier know what the answer is in following your heart. Probably you will easier know what the answer is on what would I do if I think this through? And you would hesitate a little bit if I say, “What would you do if you would follow your gut feeling?”

0:42:35.8 CS: And even if you verbalize it, then you would feel, “Yeah, but I cannot do that, Chris. That’s really egocentric.” There would be a lot of… Could be a lot of judgments following on with it, basically internal progression. So for every leader, just ask three questions and come aware what is happening. Put those answers in front of you and start observing them from a third position. And then Wayne, if you’d like to have some more coaching on it or me? [laughter]

0:43:02.1 WB: We may have to sign up for a coaching session. I think so Christoffel, fantastic conversation. We’ve only just scratched the surface. Where do people go to connect with you to learn more about what you’re doing?

0:43:17.6 CS: Okay, of course, and Dutch names, but Christoffel Sneijders, and you find me. Otherwise, you type in 3 Brains Intelligence or 3 Brains Academy, and you’ll find me. Just easy, google 3 Brains Intelligence, google 3 Brains Academy, and you will find me. As you know, if you did my test, if you do my test, I offer to everybody a 15 minute free of no strings attached feedback because if I can help somebody to become better, that means he or she will do a better job as a leader or as a coach, means his or her team will become better. They will become more three brain in the light, and at the end, our world becomes a little bit better. We coaches are a little drop in the ocean, but we know the ocean was filled by little drops of rain.

0:44:04.6 WB: Christoffel, do you have anything else in the pipeline you’re working on at the moment?

0:44:09.8 CS: Yeah, I’m actually on working on book three, and let’s say a book that would say, ’cause my first one’s more about relationships. Everybody is somewhere in a relationship. The third one will be more say about personal leadership and leadership, and what does it mean for me? And you can reflect it, say for us as coach and us as leader, “Hey, how can I use it?” So it’ll be much more say business-wise oriented.

0:44:34.8 WB: Fantastic. Excellent conversation. I really hope our listeners take a lot away from it and go and do some further research with you. Thank you very much for being on the ET Project.

0:44:47.2 CS: Thank you so much for hosting this, and I wish you all the best, Wayne, ’cause I know you’re doing so much good for the growth.

0:44:53.1 Speaker 2: Thank you for joining us on the ET Project, a show for executive talent development. Until next time, check out our site for free videos, eBooks, webinars and blogs at coachingforcompanies.com.

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