Cristian Hofmann Executive Coaching Zürich Insights Leadership Development Organisationsberatung


The SCOAP coaching framework is the innovative new approach to coaching that leverages behavioural and neurological science to target and alter behaviour. SCOAP is an acronym for the five key elements of neuroscience-based coaching: self-esteem, control, orientation, attachment and pleasure.

Self-esteem is the product of our drive to feel valued or appreciated. Self-esteem results from performing well in our job, having our work appreciated and being treated fairly. Control is the freedom or autonomy to act as we see fit and to make our own decisions. Control is also related to the exercise of authority and influence. Orientation is how we understand our environment and what we believe is expected of us. Orientation is dictated by our personal direction and corporate strategy, and determines if we find our work meaningful. Attachment is a general term for the relationships we forge with others. Attachment determines if we feel supported by our co-workers and whether we have friendships at work. Trust and loyalty play an important role in attachment. Finally, pleasure is self-fulfilment and satisfaction.

This trailblazing research relies on a scientific understanding of how neurons connect to each other and form clusters in the brain. By understanding these complex functions as a Coach, I can help clients improve their self efficacy and behaviour. I inform clients in these neurological processes, so that they can understand, target and control their behaviour or emotions. I also apply this neurological model to determine the best coaching approach for a specific behavioural goal. This model is divided into four main parts:

The SCOAP five key elements itself – the core needs of human beings and healthy brains. This is workplace-focused and described in 6 sub-dimensions for each element.

Motivational patterns with achieve and protect strategies.

Thinking Pattern such as bias, limiting beliefs, thinking traps, habits and instincts.

Personal aspects such as Strengths in overdrive, values, personality, skills and competencies

In addition, the environment such as stakeholder and other people in cooperation as well as the current situation, corporate environment, industry and economic has a systemic impact.

Although emotions often feel like responses (internal feedback system) to the outside world, they are also a product of the chemical balance within the brain. For example, dopamine is a compound in the brain associated with feelings of desire. These feelings motivate us to achieve or experience certain things to satisfy that ‘want’. This basic action and reaction demonstrates the theory’s core principle – physical mechanisms of the brain can determine our behaviour and goals.

I also use this framework to differentiate between hot and cold reasoning mechanisms in the decision-making process. Hot reasoning is associated with emotional constructs. Cold reasoning is unemotional. Cold brain centres, such as the neomammalian part of the brain, are used for non-emotional tasks; for example, a maths exam. Hot brain centres are active more frequently, for example, when building relationships. As a consultant, I use these categories to identify and then focussing on behaviour, so it aligns more closely with desires and motivations.

By using the SCOAP approach, I am adopting a sophisticated effective method of analysing the decision-making process. Relying on a neurological understanding of how the brain functions, I can illuminate the process that translates our desires into actions, which then helps my clients control that process to their advantage and the advantage of those around them. This ground-breaking framework thus puts coaching on a solid scientific foundation for the very first time.