Beyond Gut Instinct: How to ‘re-prompt’ our brains, according to a Neuroscientist

Can neuroscience and NLP transform your leadership? Dr. Terry McIvor shares insights on re-prompting your brain for better decision-making, stress management, and emotional regulation.

Leadership is often thought of as an art, reliant on intuition and experience but what does neuroscience say about the skills and traits that make a great leader? Afterall, trusting your gut isn’t a feeling at all but a skill which we learn through countless experiences and interactions.

We may call it a “gut feeling” but instincts are nothing more than our brains making instant decision based on all the available data points gathered from our past experiences.

Understanding the neuroscience behind decision making and Neuro-Linguistic Psychology can fundamentally reshape that decision-making process. Just as providing clear and effective prompts leads to better AI responses, NLP helps us reprogram our brains, adjusting our thought patterns and reactions for better outcomes.

‘Re-prompting’ Our Brains with Dr McIvor

To better understand how we can “re-prompt” our brains for more effective leadership, we spoke with Dr. Terry McIvor (also known as The Synaptic Trainer), an expert in psychology and neuroscience. Holding a  PhD in Chemistry education and an MSc in Psychology with Neuroscience and Psychiatric Applications, he leads organisations such as the AISR STEM Academy and IGH3P® , focusing on advanced education in Neuro-hypnotherapy, NLP and its practical applications.

Join us as we explore how neuroscience can provide actionable insights into effective leadership, helping you understand how your brain makes decisions and how tools like NLP can reshape your decision-making process.

SM: Can you explain the concept of “gut feelings” and how they are actually brain functions?

Dr. Terry McIvor: Absolutely. What we often refer to as “gut feelings” are actually complex brain functions. These instantaneous reactions result from our brain processing past experiences, emotional states and situational cues all at once. The term “gut feeling” can be misleading because these instincts are deeply rooted in our brain’s neural networks, allowing us to make quick decisions based on subconscious processing.

SM: How does understanding neuroscience improve decision-making in leadership?

Dr. Terry McIvor: Neuroscience helps us understand the mechanisms behind decision-making processes. For example, we explore how different regions of the brain, like the prefrontal cortex and amygdala, contribute to our evaluation and choice-making in our courses. By grasping how these brain areas interact, leaders can better manage stress, reduce biases and enhance critical thinking – a focus in our advanced training sessions at both AISR STEM Academy and IGH3P®.

SM: Can you provide an example of how someone can “re-prompt” their brain for better decision-making?

Dr. Terry McIvor: Certainly. One practical application is through mindfulness and visualization techniques. A leader facing a high-pressure situation can use these methods to visualize positive outcomes and rehearse responses mentally. This practice essentially “re-prompts” the brain, creating new neural pathways that encourage calm, clear and rational decision-making under stress.

SM: What are some actionable insights from neuroscience that can be applied to leadership today?

This is something we focus a lot on in our training programs. Here are a few insights we emphasise:

  1. Stress Management: Techniques like mindfulness and deep-breathing exercises can help lower cortisol levels and improve focus.
  2. Emotional Regulation: Understanding the triggers and responses of the amygdala can help leaders manage their reactions better.
  3. Enhanced Communication: Using NLP to understand and modify your language patterns can improve team interactions and resolve conflicts more efficiently.
  4. Cognitive Flexibility: Training your brain to adapt to new situations by challenging yourself with varied tasks can enhance your problem-solving abilities.

SM: What advice would you give to someone who want to incorporate neuroscience into their leadership style?

Dr. Terry McIvor: Start with self-awareness. This is something we focus on greatly with our students . Understanding your own brain’s responses to one’s thoughts, emotions and how they affect your behaviour can greatly improve how you lead. Invest time in learning about NLP, attend workshops and apply those techniques to reframe your thoughts and habits. The more you understand how your brain works and the more you apply that understanding in your everyday life, the better equipped you’ll be to lead others effectively.

Interested in mastering NLP? Check out these courses from IGH3P

Can neuroscience and NLP transform your leadership? Dr. Terry McIvor shares insights on re-prompting your brain for better decision-making, stress management, and emotional regulation.

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Can neuroscience and NLP transform your leadership? Dr. Terry McIvor shares insights on re-prompting your brain for better decision-making, stress management, and emotional regulation.

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The International Guild of Hypnotherapy, NLP, and 3 Principles (IGH3P) offers a range of expertly developed courses designed to elevate your skills in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). As an accredited professional body, IGH3P ensures that all its programs meet the highest standards, blending in-depth theoretical knowledge with practical application. Whether you are a beginner or looking to advance your existing skills, our courses—led by renowned industry expert, Dr. Terence McIvor—provide comprehensive training and certification, preparing you to excel as a competent and compassionate practitioner. Explore these opportunities to enhance your professional capabilities, and don’t forget to check out their membership options here .

About Dr Terry Mclvor

Can neuroscience and NLP transform your leadership? Dr. Terry McIvor shares insights on re-prompting your brain for better decision-making, stress management, and emotional regulation.

Dr. Terry McIvor, holding a PhD in Chemistry education and a Masters Degree (MSc) in Psychology with Neuroscience and Psychiatric Applications, is a renowned expert in Neuro-hypnotherapy, NLP and coaching. As CEO of AISR STEM Academy and IGH3P®, he leads advanced training programs. Additionally, he chairs the Psychology and Neuroscience Therapy department, promoting innovative research. A devoted mentor and Fellow-level coach, Dr. McIvor is committed to empowering individuals and making significant contributions in his field.

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Darie Nani
Darie Nani

Aiming to inform, educate and sometimes amuse.