Research from the University of Michigan Health System suggests that individuals who respond to placebos have significantly more dopamine activity in a specific portion of their brains than those who do not. The dopamine activity seems to be proportional to the amount of benefit that the individual anticipates.
This anticipatory aspect is interesting from a coaching perspective. Anticipation of a benefit is based upon trust in the source, which in coaching is based upon relationship. In a coaching relationship the trust factor has significant influence on whether an individual will consider the coach’s advice. In a good relationship he or she will be open to trying the coaching suggestions, even if they seem counter-intuitive to what the individual thinks or feels. This study suggests that in a good coaching relationship, the expectation of a benefit (say, for instance, relief from being ignored due to poor social skills) may cause the release of dopamine and make the coaching recipient feel better as they go about the process of following the advice. And this increases its chances of success.
See also: The Brain, Trust and Free Markets