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Meet The Multidisciplinary Expert In Human Behavior – Exclusive Interview With Christoffel Sneijders

Christoffel is an innovative, multidisciplinary expert in human behavior and change who motivates, inspires and challenges people to transform. His passion, authenticity, empathy and versatile knowledge in hypnosis, NLP, psychotherapy, burnout, PTSD, anxiety, trauma/grief are vital to helping his global clients create the life and outcomes they long for. He’s worked with over 10,000 people in the past 32 years. He is the author of How Men and Women Fit, a book that brings the clear understanding of how our 3 brains operate in relationships at home and at work.

Christoffel Sneijders, Executive Coach, Leadership Professor. Supervisor

Introduce yourself! Please tell us about you and your life, so we can get to know you better.

First I have an expansive dream, to contribute in making this world a better place to live and work, a world where we talk in past tense about abuse, bullying, toxic leadership etc. a world where we all have the possibility to utilize our qualities and follow our passion.

As born and raised in Amsterdam I enjoyed all the insights that an international big city can bring, already from a young age I was interested in why people do what they do, also inspired by the fact that I experienced bullying as being the odd kid in the block.

What I never understood is why people do horrible things to each other, and even now I can get puzzled about it. Especially when I read that people get fired by a tweet on Twitter or someone who rings at the wrong door gets shot without that the shooter feels remorse about it.

Just like that, all ready decades of research reveals that people leave their manager and not leave because of a pay raise somewhere else and still leaders don’t change.

I am lucky to live in Madrid with an amazing girlfriend and border collie.

Professionally I am a Master Certificate Coach accredited by the International Coaching Federation there are 60,000 members and 2,000 MCC coaches and work as executive coach, mentor & supervisor, clinical Psychotherapist/Hypnotherapist and last button least as a visiting professor at the IE Business School.

With my vision in mind I introduced the 3 Brains – Head, Heart and Gut – Theory in 2018 after many years of research in how to assist clients (as therapist and coach) the best who stayed stuck in limiting beliefs and trauma like experiences.

Nowadays, I am perceived as an innovative, multidisciplinary expert in human behavior and change who motivates, inspires and challenges people to transform.

I have worked with over 10,000 people all around the globe.

What I hear back is that my passion, authenticity, empathy, and versatile knowledge in Hypnotherapy, NLP, Coaching, psychotherapy burnout, PTSD, anxiety, trauma, and grief are vital to helping my global clients create a life and outcomes they long for.

I'm teaching these concepts in the ICF CCEU approved 3 Brains Coaching Certification Training, and I am author of two books that brings a clear understanding of how our 3 brains operate in relationships at home and in work: “How Men & Women Fit, Finally Understand Your Partner With The 3 Brains Theory” and "Relationships? Which Brain is Talking?”

Your business "3 Brains Academy" focuses on helping people unleash their inner core. How did it start? Can you tell us a little bit about it?

27 years ago in 1997 after I “lost” a conflict – I got fired – about the importance of spending time on coaching my team with the director of the company I decided to follow my passion for assisting people and join the – on that moment number 1 – leadership and sales training company in Europe Krauthammer.

10 year later – after recovering from a burnout – I started my own company as I wanted to focus more having the possibility to dive even deeper in the clients “issues” and help them out as training is a solution, but it did not always bring the long-lasting change. I experienced that myself the hard way as I could not prevent that burn-out, although I thought I knew so much about behavioral training. That sparked my desire to know more about: what were the signs I was missing, and what is more in the coaching and therapeutic field to work on this? In that period of time I got introduced with the somatic concepts of development and change and started to integrate that in my work to assist my clients better.

What kind of audience do you 3 Brains Academy target?

Coaches and leaders, who are interested in learning how to enable true long-lasting development & change with their clients, colleagues and/or company.

The people who understand what Marshall Goldsmith says so beautifully: “What Got You Here Won't Get You There”.

The leaders and coaches I work with know that, they know and know that knowing is not enough to overcome the hurdles to integrate the new behavior, habits or beliefs systems.

What are your current goals of 3 Brains Academy?

To bring the concept of the 3 Brains – Head, Heart and Gut – to the world, hence my book

To have these 3 brains coaching concept accepted in the coaching and therapy industry as an accepted and promoted methodology.

Work with 5 celebrities like Lady Gaga, Oprah Winfrey, Chris Brown, Shia LaBeouf, Ariana Grande to name a few 😉 to really help them to cut all the remaining negative emotions/memories that are still running in the back burner of them. As that will bring more happiness, wellness and health to these amazing persons who influence this world in how we live life.

Work with more leaders to assist them and their company in going from good to amazing

What would you like to achieve for yourself and BUSINESS NAME in the future?

To talk about this 3 Brains concept at least once a week on a trending podcast, TV show or have a Netflix series about it.

For the 3 Brains Academy to have at 20 free-lance trainers around the world who work with leaders to assist them in: going from good to freaking amazing.

Who inspires you to be the best that you can be?

Every person I see that is having a grim on his or her face and just that person a friendly smile to see if I can uplift their day, even if it is just for a moment. Secondly Maria Teresa my girlfriend, Alfred Jansen one of my BF’s, ICF Mentor and friend Linda Newlin, Diane Vere a friend and colleague who all kick my buttocks to share all the things I learned as they see the value of the 3 Brains concept for their clients and the world. It sounds maybe cheeky but also my 3 children for whom I like that the world they live in becomes a better place than it was when I was a teenager.

What is your work inspired by?

Marshall Rosenberg whose nonviolent communication work turned around my world 20 years ago. The simplicity and profound quality of changing violent communication in a dialog where people share the facts without being stuck in their opinions, is so beautiful. The simplicity of Giraffe and Jackal language he introduced is so powerful. Further more Peter Levine who in my eyes is one of the most gifted therapists in the work of trauma and somatic work. Also, Gabor Maté who with his book “When the body says no” gave an amazing powerful message to the world. Of course there are many, many more teachers who inspired me and these three stand out!

Tell us about your greatest career achievement so far.

To “discover” the concept of the 3 Brains – Head, Heart and Gut – theory and in that way to assist clients in a few sessions to happiness, health, wellness and success.

It is scientifically proven that we have 3 Brains.

We have, namely a Brain in our Heart (Neuro-cardiologist Dr. Armour 1991) and in our Enteric System popular called the Gut (Dr. Michael D. Gershon, Professor of Pathology and Cell Biology 1998) and these two Brains influence our decisions and behavior in a radical way.

For your information: Both have a complex intrinsic neural network, sufficiently sophisticated to qualify as a ‘Brain”, Their neural network meets all the criteria specified for a Brain including several types of neurons, neurotransmitters, proteins, support cells and more, and it’s complex and elaborate neural circuit allows both Brains to function independently of the Head Brain.

As what is the thing we have been missing to do? To really answer the question: Who is in charge inside us, who dictates our behavior and emotions?

As Bessel van der Kolk (professor of Psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine) shares his bestselling book: “The Body Keeps the Score” :

“If the memory of early life experiences are encoded in the viscera, in heartbreaking and gut-wrenching emotions, in autoimmune disorders and skeletal/muscular problems, and if mind/brain/visceral communication is the royal road to emotion regulation, this demands a radical shift in our therapeutic and coaching assumptions.”

What is the true beauty of this theory and why do I see it as the biggest achievement as I came aware that those 3 brains have different responsibilities to keep us alive, happy, healthy and successful, and to make it complicated they do not speak the same language. This last one answers the question: Why it is so hard to overcome our feelings or emotions? They are signals in a different language.

The inner conflict in the responsibilities is that our heart has biologically an assignment to bond and care about the consequences for others, whilst our gut is 24/7 busy with the egocentric mission: ‘just get it done and take care of yourself’. Last button least, our head is doing its extreme best to provide some logic and cause and effect analysis on these polar opposite attitudes and synthesize some strategic logical explanation in a non-emotional way.

Meaning if an action/development plan is a result of one Brain – and in most cases this is from is the dominate brain – with high probability it means that in the execution the other 2 will disturb or sabotage this action plan.

Sharing this groundbreaking scientifically proven concept of our 3 Brains will provide us our clients and colleagues the insights and techniques to establish long-lasting development and change in our and their lives.

As collateral beauty, the 3 Brains concept has the potential to change the world for the better, work on gender equality – no more feminine or masculine traits but simple Heart or Gut Brain traits, as they are much easier to accept for the other gender – and having more 3 Brains leadership in companies with as positive outcome: no more toxic workplaces, more wellness, sustainable achievements and success.

If you could change one thing about your industry, what would it be and why?

The way they work to enable long-lasting change, that every one in the industry of coaching, therapy and leadership development is aware that we have 3 Brain – one in the head, one in the heart and one in the gut – and that it is a scientifically proven fact and not just a nice concept of working.

As, what is truly blocking long-lasting change?

The hurdle going "from the conscious competence to unconscious competence phase".

Most of the development protocols and techniques are based on the same system that we used to learn to read, to write, to do math, and coaching and leadership in the first place, repetition.

To truly achieve the unconscious competence phase, neuroscience teaches us that the new pattern or behavior must be repeated for a longer period of time – at least 26 days and more often 36 days – to create a strong neural pathway in our Brains.

What is the main issue with this learning model?

98% of the people drop out around the 2 weeks mark, so they never achieve the unconscious competence phase, and therefore they fall back to their old behavior and habits.

Strava – the popular sport app – researched this and called it: “quitters day”. The good 1st of January intentions of the majority drop-offs the plate on the 17th of January.

This is not the person's fault. Repetition is just the most difficult way to learn or to change!

Just imagine learning to be able to stand as a baby we had to fell down and stand up approximately 1,000 times, that's how long it took to wire our neurons in that way that they instructed our muscles correctly.

We depend on our willpower to keep us on track, to be disciplined, to train and overcome the old wired behavior, habits or beliefs.

Most of us experienced that the daily needed, ½ hour repetition, is really hard to do. The inner critical voices and/or feelings are stronger than our determination and grid.

For adults, repetition, even if it is done in a micro habits way, is the hardest way to learn or embed change.

Therefore, my wish that the industry will embrace the concept of the 3 Brains, Head, Heart and Gut!

As the moment, we all come aware: Which Brain is leading or talking? We can work on the Brain that is blocking the change.

Why is this important to know?

Our 3 Brains have different responsibilities in keeping us alive, happy and healthy … Hence, they will direct our life in different directions when only one of them is in charge.

And when we don’t listen to our 3 Brains and act on what directions they give us, we stay reflexively loyal to our most dominant brain, and that could cause us frustration, disappointment, and/or failure in what we desired to achieve.

The 3 Brains concept allows working our clients or colleagues not only on the logic but also directly on the emotional Brain centers in their Heart and Gut, which means that we can do reverse learning, and start at the unconscious competence phase.

What is the best way to describe this?

The body will directly adopt the habit and/or belief and will create cravings for the new behavior, and when someone falls back in their old behavior, their Heart and/or Gut Brain will do their best to push them back in the new behavior.

In this way, they can let their clients or colleagues experience quick and long-lasting development.

Tell us about a pivotal moment in your life that brought you to where you are today.

There are 3 moments that guided me on the path where I am today.

The first one was being bullied at school, what sparked my interest in “why do people what they do?”

Secondly, my burnout that made me aware that even though: “I thought I know a lot I came aware I knew almost nothing about real deep change”

The third was my divorce just after being immigrated to Australia that again let me experience hitting rock bottom and that truly may me dive deep in what inflicts trauma and how to overcome it.

My final thoughts

When you read the newspapers, you would think that the current time, it's not the best to live in, it is all about climate change, the big leave, AI that could take over many of our current jobs, and that the depression or burn out rates for the generation Z or Millennials is rather high.

But if you just think what we achieved the last 100 – 150 years, it is amazing and these are the best times ever. Our average life span is increased with more than 30 years, literacy rate went up to more than 95% in most Western Countries, the average workweek was in 1900 on average 60 hours and holidays, antibiotics, telephone, television, airplanes did not exist.

So I truly believe life’s great, and we have at our disposal all the solutions of the future if we, as people and organizations, would only shift the way we are leading the world, moving from our egocentric gut brain to our compassionate heart brain or at least listen to both.

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and visit my website for more info!

Read more from Christoffel!



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