When ‘Heart Intelligence’ meets ‘Conversational Intelligence’
For a period of time, Deborah was a psychologist for the “Dr. Phil Show.” What an awesome opportunity to experiment and research relationships gone awry.
She remembers only too well coaching two of the show’s guests — Tammy and Reynir — and how this changed their lives. Dr. Phil would send people he interviewed on the show to HeartMath for help. Tammy and Reynir were on the edge of divorce. On the show they were constantly reacting to each other and arguing hatefully. Dr. Phil told them they should divorce if they couldn’t change with the help he was going to give them. HeartMath changed the course of their lives, and enabled them to rediscover the love they had when they first met.
Imagine there are tools available to enable couples to reset their relationships, to learn new ways of communicating with each other, and to open up their hearts and minds to new insights and patterns of engaging so they know how to harvest the fruits of their marriage and discover new value in their partnership.
Also imagine there are conversational strategies and tools available to business executives, to enable them to create healthy workplaces, and to create the space and aspiration for Co-creating Conversations®, elevating the success they have in the marketplace.
And lastly imagine you personally can have the exquisite ability to develop higher levels of intuition by seeing patterns that lead to bigger insights and “ahas!” Conversations are not what they seem. They are part of incredible energetic interactions that impact our neurochemistry and activate powerful systems and networks in our brain and heart that “read” the energy and enable us to engage with others either as friend not foe — and all in .07 seconds.
Ten years ago, when I first met Deborah Rozman, CEO of HeartMath, I learned about Heart Intelligence® and I saw that my work in researching and developing Conversational Intelligence® would now have another dimension of connectivity. I knew we were destined to work together! And as we launched our conversations to explore our synergies, new “ahas” began to appear in the way we together could expand the insights about the impact of conversations not only on the health of marriages, but also in the domains of business, government and all areas where human beings engage with each other in conversations.
So what is heart intelligence?
Doc Childre, founder and chairman of HeartMath, writes in the new book Heart Intelligence: Connecting with the Intuitive Guidance of the Heart, “Picture heart intelligence as the flow of awareness, understanding and intuitive guidance we experience when the mind and emotions are brought into coherent alignment with the heart…”
Heart intelligence isn’t just a subjective state of awareness. The heart contains its own intrinsic nervous system, called the “heart-brain,” which functions independently from the big brain in our head. It was only recently, in the 1990s, when neuro-cardiologists discovered that the heart-brain has neurons that can sense, feel, learn and remember, then sends this information in the form of a heart rhythm pattern to the amygdala, thalamus and frontal lobes. Breakthrough research done at the HeartMath Institute discovered that when we are stressed, frustrated, anxious or insecure the heart rhythm pattern produces an incoherent waveform that is sent through the vagal nerve to the brain, creating cortical inhibition and often a fight/flight stress response.
On the other hand, when we feel love, appreciation, care or compassion, the heart rhythm pattern produces a smooth, coherent sine-wave, creating cortical facilitation and feelings of inner security. This brings our mind and emotions into a coherent alignment, enabling us to be more present to others and ourselves. Research has found that this physiological state of heart coherence helps us bypass unconscious emotional filters and activates the pre-frontal cortex and intuitive understanding. No wonder love is so powerful!
What’s so exciting is that more and more people are intuitively sensing the importance of including the heart in our interactions. They are being prompted from within that the heart’s input is essential for making wiser decisions. Some have called this emotional intelligence, but it’s actually heart intelligence. As I say, “Heart Intelligence is a scientifically validated intelligence that is deep and powerful and enables higher levels of connectivity with other human beings.”
So how do Heart Intelligence and Conversational Intelligence work together to enable higher insights into the invisible patterns and the deeper “ahas?”
Conversational Intelligence® addresses the “alchemy of trust” in conversations. You could think of heart rhythm coherence as the physiology of that alchemy. When our inner security depends on the approval of others, they may say something that makes us doubt our self-worth or feel insecure. Real trust starts with feeling secure in our own heart. So the alchemy of trust starts with the heart. Learning how to bring our heart and brain into a coherent alignment connects us with the intuitive guidance of the heart, and following that intuitive guidance develops that inner security.
HeartMath has created coherence techniques and emWave® heart coherence technology to help us access our heart’s intelligence and intuitive guidance system. Being able to “make the invisible visible” is the watchword of Conversational Intelligence® (C-IQ). By working with HeartMath’s emwave®, we are able to see a person moving from low coherence (distrust) to high coherence (trust) and we can use this “state of being” as an anchor for having healthy thriving organizations.
Now we can see what is going on inside of a person when they are in conversations with others. When we engage with someone and feel trust or distrust, our heart will show the essence of how we are connecting with each person.
So lets look at the three levels of conversation that help define how we converse with others. Each has a purpose and a pattern. In the Conversational Intelligence framework, there are three levels of communication:
- Level I Conversations are not deep, not outside of what people already know. In fact they are often about confirming what we know. These conversations follow a very familiar pattern: we tell others and we ask others with the intention that the other person confirms what we know.
- Level II Conversations are negotiations, where people hold onto their viewpoints. These conversations follow a very familiar pattern: we advocate our point of view and we inquire about others points of view — in the spirit of influencing others to adopt our line of thinking.
- Level III Conversations are where people’s pre-frontal cortex/heart connection becomes accessible to them, creating a secure environment where people are more comfortable opening up; where you can pick up the energetic field of others more clearly, and intuitively sense the appropriate response. These conversations follow a very special and often less used pattern of engagement: we share with others and we discover with others in the spirit of creating healthy, innovative, empathetic relationships with others. So how do we see the patterns and the energy fields that emerge with each different level of conversation?
Heart intelligence turns the concepts of Level 3 into a reality. HeartMath has developed a powerful technique called Coherent Communication™ to facilitate heart intelligent communication: authentic speaking and intuitive heart listening.
The HeartMath framework aligns with the Conversational Intelligence 3 level framework – enabling HeartMath to make the invisible visible! HeartMath has identified three levels of listening which map to C-IQ’s levels of conversation:
- Level 1 is where you only hear at the “word level.”
- Level 2 is where you listen from the heart. You hear the words but you also listen for the feeling level behind the words.
- Level 3 is where you listen from the heart for the essence of what the person is trying to say. The essence level is underneath the word and feeling levels. Coherent communication guides you to connect with the other person’s heart to intuitively tune into the essence. Feeling love, care, appreciation or compassion for the person activates your heart rhythm coherence to intuitively and energetically sense the feeling and essence levels.
In the Coherent Communication technique, you then reflect back to the person the feeling and essence levels to get confirmation. This often creates an energetic resonance between two people, allowing them to access more understanding of each other, more compassion, more insight, and to intuitively track together a solution to a problem or a creative approach to an issue.
Revisiting the couple on the Dr. Phil Show
When Tammy and Reynir arrived at HeartMath, Deborah gave them each an emWave2 and taught them how to get into heart rhythm coherence, to get their own mind and heart into coherent alignment before letting them talk to each other. Then she had them do the Coherent Communication technique around one question at a time. She said it was truly amazing to watch each of them shift into their heart and actually hear and reflect back the feeling and essence behind what the other was saying.
As people feel deeply heard and understood, this facilitates their heart opening and enables an inner security they may not have experienced before. People then access their higher potentials and become more who they really are.
Creating this heart space isn’t just a soft skill. In our work with clients globally for the past 35 years, we’ve seen leaders, CEOs, teams and whole organizations move into “sync” with each other by understanding the three levels of conversation and by enabling them to ‘make the invisible visible.’ As leaders learn to get in sync not just from their minds but also from their hearts, they discover new ways of engagement — such as Level III Conversations — which over time elevates their levels of co-creation and innovation to great heights, impacting the culture and the bottom line.
At HeartMath they call this “business heart,” as this is where they see leaders and companies start to change and create wonderful measurable results. The emWave technology objectifies heart coherence and displays on a screen and through colored lights when you are physiologically in that state to facilitate your access to heart intelligence.
As I say, “Imagine you can have the exquisite ability to develop higher levels of intuition by seeing patterns that lead to bigger insights and ahas!” HeartMath’s coach/mentor program trains and certifies coaches in Coherent Communication, other HeartMath techniques and the emWave technology, which are add-ons to any coaching practice. The CreatingWe Institute and HeartMath have formed a wonderful partnership to bring these powerful tools and technology to more coaches, leaders and companies.