Learning a new language always sounds very difficult. Even harder to teach a language to others. Is it possible to coach a language healthy and consciously? I talk to Rachel Paling, a Professional Certified Coach, a Corporate & Private Language Coach and a Creator of Neurolanguage Coaching, about Efficient Language Coaching and how language learning can keep you healthy.

Rachel, can you tell us a bit about your background to introduce yourself?

Yes with pleasure. It’s always difficult to know where to begin. Perhaps I could start by saying that although I was born in the UK, I definitely feel European as I have lived in various European countries and extremely grateful that those experiences gave me the gift of speaking languages. We all know the famous quote from Steve jobs about “looking back over your life and being able to connect the dots” and that’s exactly how I feel at this point in my life. I can honestly say that everything I’ve done has contributed to where I am today. I’m a polyglot, a neurolanguage coach, a trainer, an entrepreneur, a lawyer, with an MA in human rights and another MA in applied neuroscience as well as an ICF PCC Credentialed Life Coach.

When did you realise that coaching was your passion?

Actually, I don’t think I really planned to be a coach. In the year 2000, I went to Germany to do my MA in human rights and at the same time I was working full-time for a language school and the owner there introduced me to language coaching. When I asked him what a language coach was, he said just follow the client, do what the client wants and that will bring you into a coaching style. It was quite perplexing for me because I had to demonstrate a difference between me as a language teacher and me as a language coach and more so because I was earning a lot more as a language coach. That is how my journey into coaching began and some years later I then invested in professional training to become a coach. I did various courses relating to life coaching, brain-based coaching, team coaching, intuitive coaching, all with the quest to really understand and fully become a professional coach.

How did you come up with the idea of Efficient Language Coaching?

In 2008 I founded efficient language coaching ltd. Prior to that I had been working some years as a freelance language coach and really wanted to expand and develop, so it was essential to create a corporate vehicle to facilitate growth. At that time, quite a few names were dancing in my brain, but it was also important to have the right acronym for whatever name was going to be chosen. I was toying with TLC, which British people will recognise as the acronym for “tender loving care” but I couldn’t quite find the right word for the T with language coaching. Effective and Efficient were the favourites and efficient language coaching won. Quite a few people through the years gave such positive feedback about the name and it definitely has been and is still the main corporate vehicle of my business.

What is the aim of ELC?

Now, there are various strands to the business. In the first strand, Efficient language coaching global is a training organisation which trains language teachers to become Neurolanguage Coaches and soon we will be launching the NeuroHeart Education Coach course for teachers of any discipline. In the second strand, ELC offers Neurolanguage Coaching to private individuals and professionals who wish to learn, enhance or improve a language. We have created a network of Neurolanguage coaches worldwide and must say that these coaches are phenomenal and are achieving amazing results with their learners.

What is your unique approach to work, and what sets you apart from others who work in your field?

Definitely, in Neurolanguage Coaching, our unique approach is combining the principles of neuroscience, mainly how the brain functions, reacts and learns, together with the principles and structure from the professional coaching world and incorporating all of these into the language learning process. The structure and delivery of Neurolanguage coaching is a really different approach and method, which we could honestly say is completely personalised to our learner or group of learners. On the other hand, the NeuroHeart Ed Coaching will focus on how transformed educators can bring out learner autonomy, focused goals and activities and optimise learning processes by integrating the principles from neuroscience, heart science, emotional intelligence as well as professional coaching.

Why do you think learning language is important?

From the neuroscience, we now know that learning a language boosts brain activity and can help keep the brain in great shape. It really is one of the best things that we can do as we get older to keep the brain active and help the brain stay healthy. From the communicative perspective, being able to speak one or various languages opens the doors to be able to communicate across the world. How amazing it is to be able to communicate with people from totally different cultures, different backgrounds and to be able to open the mind to the amazing diversity that we are blessed with in this world. I’m currently coming into my seventh language and honestly if I had more time I would learn more and more. I always say to people what’s stopping you from learning another language or two or three -why not be multilingual?

What are the advantages to learning with Efficient Language Coach?

The first advantage is the way that we communicate. We really do communicate in a very brain friendly way with a lot of awareness and skill to use coaching conversations adequately. Secondly, we perform a unique first session with the client, where we discover exactly what the client wants and needs, the client sets the goals. From that first session we go away and create the personalised roadmap for that individual. When we are working with the client we use key coaching conversations to work around blocks, to bring the client into the grammar without using books, to achieve the goals and whenever needed we talk about the brain and explain what may be happening at that point of the learning.

For whom do you recommend NeuroLanguage Coaching?

I would really recommend it for professionals, especially busy professionals who need a language quickly or need to transfer their expertise into the target language. Some of our coaches do in fact work with teenagers and younger children and it really is effective in both those cases as well. It is a very flexible and adaptable approach, and a skilled Neurolanguage Coach will always be able to adapt to the learner they are working with.

In your opinion, how does learning language affect our wellbeing and mental health?

We now know that learning a language impacts the grey and white matter in the brain increasing the volume and density of grey matter and the volume of white matter. It also increases brain connectivity and in some studies there is even evidence that older language learners also reap cognitive benefits. It also seems to boost parts of the ageing brain. There is even the hypothesis that learning a language later in life might help safeguard against Alzheimer’s.

How can our readers contact you and follow on social media?

Our umbrella website is www.neurohearteducation.com and on Facebook/ Instagram you can find me under Rachel Paling. Or with pleasure drop me an email at [email protected]

What is your favourite quote and motto?

I really love the quote:

Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think

Albert Einstein

This really represents everything that we stand for.

And a motto – I think through life we are continuously and symbolically “Falling over in the playground” and when that happens we have to keep saying to ourselves “Pick yourself up, brush yourself down and move on.”