Brain Profiling: What is it & why should I be interested?
The term ‘Brain Profiling‘ is a popular phrase used to refer to an assessment of a person’s natural ‘Thinking Preferences‘.
In its simplest form, Brain Profiling has entered our day to day language when you hear people talk of someone as being ‘left-brained‘ or ‘right-brained‘.
And when we say this about someone we are:
- Making reference to the fact that our brains have two distinct, physical halves and;
- Making reference to particular types of thinking that we observe in one another.
In practise though, no one is purely left brained or purely right brained, as we use all parts of our brain every day. However, some people may have a slightly stronger preference for one mode of thinking than another and it is this that we are picking up on when we describe someone as being either left or right brained. So even if you do not know a lot about the topic, you are almost certainly aware of it!
Many people will come across Brain profiling when looking into taking a personality test and it’s useful to understand the basic differences between these.
The brain profiles discussed on the Chameleon Brain website have been developed by Dr. Kobus Neethling and resulted from his life long studies involving in excess of 200,000 people across many countries. Dr. Neethling’s brain profiling tool is known as the ‘Neethling Brain Instrument’ or NBI for short and I discuss it here and offer the facility to conduct your own brain profile as a result of myself having been accredited through Dr Neethling’s company as an NBI Practitioner.
Why Does Knowing A Person’s Brain Profile Matter?
For many years, I was aware of the terminology but, other than simple curiosity about it, had no idea how wonderfully useful the concept could be in every day life. We are all aware of the different behaviours that people exhibit but have you ever wondered if, for a given person, there was some pattern to it all? i.e. whether or not some of their behavioural traits play out in many forms throughout their life but you have never quite spotted it?
- How should I treat other people in my dealings with them?
The answer I have believed all these years has been quite simple:
- Treat people as I myself would like to be treated.
But someone challenged me to go one step further and consider whether or not I should in fact:
- Treat people like they themselves would like to be treated.
And there’s a nuance there that I had never thought of before. And it was the start of a journey to understand more about how people tend to behave and what underlies this behaviour.
So, how would you know how to treat someone in a way that they would like to be treated?
- The quick answer is to learn something about the way they think.
- And that’s where brain profiling comes in. It gives you a way of understanding how people think and how to link certain behaviours to their thinking preferences.
Let’s Discuss Some Examples
Let’s suppose you have just bought a new DVD Player for the meeting room at work and are busy explaining to someone how to use it to play a DVD:
- If someone is indeed ‘dominantly left brained’, there is a good chance that when you tell them about what the DVD Player does, then they will be quite happy for you to go into the nth degree of detail about all its clever features.
- Whereas, if the person you are showing it to is ‘dominantly right brained’, there’s a fairly good chance they are going to be slightly overwhelmed by your detailed description, preferring instead for you to just show them where to insert the DVD and how to power it up and press play. When they want more detail, they’ll come asking.
Or, another example, you are trying to explain to someone how to get from where you are now to an office block 5 kms away:
- Your dominantly left-brained colleague will likely be quite happy with your description of ‘drive 500m, turn left at the first set of lights, drive 1200 m, turn right, then second left’.
- Whereas your dominantly right-brained colleague will semi glaze over as you describe the route and, instead, ‘get it much quicker’ if you sketch them a map.
And this, in essence, is what it means, to
‘treat someone like they themselves would like to be treated’.
You need to consider their preferred way of dealing with the world and act accordingly.
If you start to learn about brain profiling it will be like putting on a new pair of spectacles, you will suddenly start seeing things about people and situations that you were never aware of. You will also start to feel like you understand people better, that they are not being difficult or disinterested in something you’re explaining to them, it’s just their way of being and, when you start to see the pattern, you will deal with the situation and person a whole lot better than before. People will also, in return, experience you as much easier to deal with and so, the benefits in terms of relationships at home and at work, are enormous!
Want another example? Let’s say you are pitching for some new work with a client and he / she is strongly left-brained:
- Your fully detailed (left-brain driven) presentation with bullet points of the various tasks, tables breaking down the financials etc, will speak to them directly in a way that they like to see the proposal presented.
- Whereas your high level, big picture (right-brain driven) presentation that skips the detailed breakdown, perhaps showing things in a very visual / graphical format, perhaps making great use of metaphors in how things are explained, will seem too simple, ‘light’ and not addressing their concerns.
And you can lose that deal, there and then, with how you chose to put the information across.
If these examples ring any bells in your own personal or work life, then Brain Profiling can be a highly productive means to unpacking the traits of others in terms of their preferred thinking modes.
What are the Benefits of Determining Brain Profiles for Individuals & Teams?
- Your brain profile is an excellent personal developmental tool
- Self change / improvement starts with self-knowledge and your profile will provide you with rich insights into your own patterns of thought and behaviour.
- Better understand what kind of activities you will naturally get a kick out of
- Your brain profile, by identifying the relative degree of preference you have for different modes of thinking, will help you look at what you do with your time and see it in the context of who you naturally are.
- When the activities you engage in every day match your brain profile you will feel much more in tune and happy with those activities.
- They will not drain your energy in the way that activities aligned with your areas of lowest thinking preference will.
- Ensure a strong match between who you are & the job that you do
- By understanding your thinking preferences, you will be able to better understand why certain aspects of your current job frustrate you.
- Or, if you are looking for a new job, you will be better equipped to select a job that is right for you.
- Facilitate the development of stronger inter-personal relationships
- Used in conjunction with the profiles of your family, friends or work colleagues, brain profiles greatly facilitate the development of strong inter-personal relationships.
- The more people understand each other or, put another way, the less they misunderstand each other, the more functional those relationships become.
- Build stronger work-place teams
- Conducting brain profiles for your whole team goes a long way to building tolerance between individuals.
- And all of that eventually pays back on the bottom line, not to mention in a more harmonious work environment.
- If you work as part of a team, you will know that some people:
- Are great at the big picture or strategic thinking whereas others;
- Are super when it comes to analysing the details, whilst;
- Others bring harmony to the team and;
- Others ensure you structure a plan to deliver.
- Have you ever wanted to get insights into who is likely to enjoy which role most? Ever wanted to see if your teams are balanced in all aspects? Get their brain profiles!
Brain Profiling in its modern form is a formal, online assessment approach using a questionnaire that helps you pin down the relative preference you have for different thinking modes.
Through the Chameleon Brain website, you can access the online questionnaire and receive your own brain profile on email.
The questionnaire typically takes people between 20-30 minutes to complete and so, in no time at all, you can have your own profile to start working with.
And everything is automated, so you can decide to access the questionnaire 24 / 7 / 365. (You will be emailed the website link for the questionnaire and a unique code to give you access. You can decide to login and complete the questionnaire at any time that suits you.)
After completing the questionnaire you will be automatically emailed your brain profile document (written by the NBI creator Dr. Kobus Neethling) that explains the different modes of thinking preference in detail. You will also receive an educational document (‘Discovering Your Whole Brain’) to explain the use of the brain profile.
How Do I Determine The Brain Profile Of Others?
If you wish to determine the brain profile of friends, family or work colleagues, you will likely be in a position to directly ask them to complete the questionnaire through the above link.
However, in the above example of pitching a presentation to a client, you may not be able to easily ask them to conduct their own profile and share it, hence you will need to ‘spot the clues’. And these come about from observing the person and building up a picture of which modes of thinking appear more dominant than others. This requires you to understand the brain profiling approach first though and so, as a first step, it’s always best to determine your own brain profile and that of your immediate family or work colleagues and, as you start to understand how their profiles are playing out in their every day lives, you will be able to start reverse-engineering the basic profiles of others.
Will I Understand My Profile?
Yes … the brain profile documents that you receive after completing the online questionnaire are deliberately designed to use easy to understand language and concepts.
In fact, one of the great things about the whole concept of brain profiling, not just the profile documents, is the speed with which individuals and teams manage to integrate them into their daily lives and reap the rewards of understanding.
And should you have any questions, there’s a form below for you to contact me on.
Is It All About Left & Right Though?
In the above discussion we kept things straight forward by talking only about your left & right brain as these are, generally speaking, part of every day language and people have some feel for what this means. Your left-right brain preferences start to appear very early in life. As an example, a baby a few months old may already be preferring one hand over the other when it comes to grabbing toys.
As we develop into our junior school years though it becomes obvious that nuances are now revealing themselves and we can start to see subtleties within each hemisphere appearing. By dividing the thinking preferences in each hemisphere into two distinct types, we arrive at 4 dominant modes of thinking, commonly known as the ‘4 Quadrants’. Most of the discussion people have on brain profiles refers to the 4 quadrants.
Once you’ve understood the 4 Quadrants though, it is possible to see yet more subtleties appearing in each quadrant and hence we speak of the ‘8 Dimensions’.
To start with though, it’s best to develop your own understanding of the 4 Quadrants and only concern yourself later with the 8 Dimensions.
If you complete the online questionnaire and receive a Brain Profile document for yourself, it will however cover both the 4 Quadrants and the 8 Dimensions.
If I’m Keen To Get My Own Brain Profile, What Next?
Determining your own brain profile is a straight forward, online process and you can get started here.
Please note: It is advisable to not go off and read up about brain profiling / the 4 Quadrants before you do the online questionnaire. Instead, it is recommended that you rather conduct the questionnaire first, then read through your brain profile document and then start to read the more in depth information. The reason for this is that reading about it upfront can influence how you choose to answer the questions in the questionnaire … just saying ! You’ll know later what I mean, please try and resist the temptation!
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And Finally, Got A Question? Contact Me!
If you wish to submit a query re. Brain Profiling, please complete the form below:
The NBI Brain Profiling assessment and associated literature / logos are copyright of Dr. Kobus Neethling and his company Solutions Finding and are used on the Chameleon Brain website with permission and much gratitude 🙂