The Mindful Coach



Get ready to hear inspiring stories, learn powerful coaching skills, stay updated on the latest technology, and gain insights from conscious marketing experts. Tune in to ‘The Mindful Coach’ podcast with host Brett Hill as he interviews an incredible lineup of coaches and helping professionals in the The Mindful Coach Association community.

Are you a coach or helping professionals who values mindfulness in life and work? Meet your colleagues in weekly meetings, list your services and who knows? You could be a guest on the show! Free membership.

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Did you know that your physical heart has neurons? As in brain cell neurons that are alive and functioning in the heart? And, wait till you hear the stories of what some people experienced after receiving a heart transplant. Entirely new skills all of a sudden? Wow. What does this mean about the mind-body connection?

You’ll hear about this and more from Carlos Davidovitch, MD – a distinguished international executive coach and expert in neuro management.

With a rich background in medicine and business, he has accumulated over 20 years of experience working with leadership teams in Europe, the USA, and Canada. Carlos is a thought leader at McLean Hospital, a Harvard Medical School affiliate, where he has made significant contributions to neuroplasticity and its practical applications in coaching.

As the co-author of Personality DNA and The Five Brain Leadership: How Neuroscience Can Help You Master Your Instincts and Build Better Teams, Carlos has established himself as a prominent figure in the study of leadership and neuroscience. His expertise in these areas equips him to offer valuable insights and guidance to individuals and organizations seeking to improve decision-making, leadership skills, and personal development.

You can reach him at


00:00:00 - Brett Hill

So hello and welcome to this edition of the The Mindful Coach Association podcast. I'm your host, Brettt Hill, the founder of the The Mindful Coach Association association. And this week I'm really excited to be talking with Carlos Davidovitchovitch. He is a specialist in the way the brain works and how it interact, how we interact with the world, or don't, as the case may be, and helping people to off helping people to learn how to better use our neurology to have better lives and be better leaders as well. He has a specialist in working with leaders and management teams alike on an international scale. He's been living and working between Europe, USA and Canada for over 20 years. He has become an executive coach, giving workshops and lectures on neuromanagement, applying neuroscience in organizations and businesses. Currently, he resides in Madrid and working with clients from all sorts of cultures around the world, and is a professor of neuromanagement and a thought leader with The Mindful Coach Association McLean Hospital, a Harvard medical School affiliate. He's the co author of the book Personality DNA. Discover your true personality and the author of the five Brain Leadership, how Neuroscience can help you master your instincts and build better teams. And if you look him up for TEDx, you'll find a talk on this very topic about the five brains. And it's worth listening to because it's really insightful about what's going on with this and why we are the way we are. So welcome to the show, Davidovitch. It's great to have you here.

00:01:33 - Carlos Davidovitch

Thanks. A really, really. I'm delighted to be here in your show. Really.

00:01:38 - Brett Hill

Thank you. I wanted to ask you about your work with coaching, and how is it that you decided to begin to focus on the way the brain works as a way to help people understand how to be better leaders and be more effective in our lives?

00:01:57 - Carlos Davidovitch

It's a great question, Brent. I would say in a funny way, it's a professional deformation, because I started being MD, medical doctor, and then I went to business for many, many years and in the end, okay, life has many, many turns and I ended working as a coach. And of course, my background always is like a quite strong voice asking me many questions. And one of the questions always many whys, why this? Why that? Trying to explain things and knowing how coaching became so known and popular even more and more every day around the world. The question for me was always, okay, let's see, because there is no comparison, but it's something that also happened to psychology. Many people think that touchy feel is tough, but then you see result. Then you see results and you say, okay, wait, something is going on here and something is going on, not just at the conversation level, something is going on in the brain. And then for me, and then I learned through my own experience that more information I was bringing to my coaching sessions to connect the process of coaching with the brain. People got more attachment, more engagement, they were more engaged with the outcome, they were more respectful of the whole process and was not just a conversation, was something that was changing their brain. So I tried to be very dramatic on this with my clients. I explained the concept of neuroplasticity. That is a basic concept to understand that neuroplasticity.

00:03:52 - Brett Hill

Can you explain to our listeners what that is?

00:03:55 - Carlos Davidovitch

Of course, it's a very interesting concept because it was a revolution in medicine. When I studied medicine many, many years ago, we didn't talk about that. So before somebody discovered this characteristic, I will explain. The old paradigm was that our brain was developing until we were, let's say, twelve years old. And then from that moment was a downhill process. So very, very depressing, right? Very depressing indeed, to be honest.

00:04:31 - Brett Hill

Yeah, you're peaking at twelve.

00:04:33 - Carlos Davidovitch

Oh, gosh, come on. Can you imagine? Come on. So then a researcher was mainly a woman medical doctor, and I want to highlight that she discovered with another guys that that was absolutely wrong. The brain is an adaptive brain until the end of the story, of the story of the person. Let's say the brain has the capacity to change everything if we want to do it. I will explain that later. But the brain has the capacity and is all the time rewriting the story or writing a new story. So the brain is changing all the time, we like it or not. Of course, if we keep repeating the same pattern of behavior, the brain will keep, let's say, writing the same story. But if we decide to change it, that coaching is one way to help to change it. The brain is absolutely open and absolutely ready to rewrite our conditioning patterns in our brain and start behaving differently. Tell me if makes sense what I'm saying, please.

00:06:02 - Brett Hill

Yes. What I get curious about, as you said, when we decide to change our story, then the brain begins to change. And so I get curious about what part of the brain is it that decides to make those changes?

00:06:17 - Carlos Davidovitch

Fantastic question. And we are getting to a more, let's say, enchanted territory. Do you know this guy? The guy who says, this is the way I am? Do you know this guy?

00:06:31 - Brett Hill

This is the way I am.

00:06:35 - Carlos Davidovitch

Those people that all the time. No, I'm not going to change. This is the way I am, all.

00:06:39 - Brett Hill

Right, I am the way I am. I don't change.

00:06:44 - Carlos Davidovitch

This is the way I am. And of course, this is a very common, let's say, excuse to avoid making changes. When I coach, to the people I coach and the situation like this comes up, I always say, okay, I tell you what is the answer to these people. When you work with somebody in your team or a colleague, whatever, that the attitude is, this is the way I am. The answer is, this is the way you are because you want, not because you can't change. It's a choice. I like to present the concept of change based on the main tools that the brain has. One tool is the brain itself and this capacity to change all the time called technically neuroplasticity. But the other component of making changes is the mind. I want to separate mind from brain because, okay, there are many different theories about it still today. We don't know exactly what the mind is, to be honest, but the mind is the one who can take the control and decide, I'm going to change. Yes or no. This is what we normally call attitude. An attitude is everything in this life, everything. If you remember Victor Frankl's quote, victor Frankl, the psychiatrist from Vienna, all the mean known guy from the last century and that he went through the toughest experience for a civilian in a concentration camp for three years and he survived. He learned something there that changed his life and many others life because he wrote many books about it. And he has a quote that for me is the most powerful quote regarding attitude. He says, he used to say everything can be taken from us. Everything except one thing. My right to decide how to respond to that external situation. Whatever happens to us, we still can make the decisions and decide how to react. One way is to play victim. Yeah, that is completely unproductive. The other way is to try to make a change. I'm not saying that change is easy. I'm not saying that the brain will change in a day. But this is a matter of will and attitude. Again, I will never get tired to use the word attitude because you want or you don't want. And you know another quote saying in English that when there is a will, there is a way. I play a lot in my coaching practice with these concepts, just in one way not to give any space or opportunity to my clients to escape from themselves.

00:10:09 - Brett Hill

Right. So in a certain way you're talking about it takes a certain amount of effort to affect a change and it's necessary to do something different if you want a different result is another way to say exactly.

00:10:26 - Carlos Davidovitch

I'm sure you know exactly the quote of Einstein. They say that from Einstein, whatever. That's the mean. The craziest thing or the most insane thing is to expect different results when we keep doing the same thing. And this is quite practical, I tell you. And again, I'm not saying that. It says doing like this and you chain. That's not the point. Everything needs work, needs consistency, needs time, needs determination, but that's what we try to do or to infuse in our clients, in our coaching clients. And your concept, Brett, about mindfulness or The Mindful Coach Association for me, is essential in the coaching practice. And this is a concept I bring up many times in my practice because at the moment I hear, I observe that my clients, again, is running away or ruminating all the time about the past or speculating in a negative way about the future. All the time I say, okay, hey, let's be back and tell me that situation today. If you are going to go through that situation today, what are you going to do? What you can do? Stop projecting something that is not happening today that is not helpful to make a change.

00:11:58 - Brett Hill

Right. Exactly.

00:11:59 - Carlos Davidovitch


00:11:59 - Brett Hill

And I think this is one of the key values of when we help people become more mindful. And I'm talking about myself as well, of course, looking inward to see what is the stream of thoughts and how much of it is spent thinking about what should have happened, what would have happened, what I wish would have happened, and worrying about outcomes, all of which are not happening right now. Exactly. I think that's the kind of thing you're talking about.

00:12:27 - Carlos Davidovitch


00:12:27 - Brett Hill

Is that right?

00:12:28 - Carlos Davidovitch

Absolutely. And I don't know why today I remember quotes. Bring it here.

00:12:33 - Brett Hill

But today's a quote day.

00:12:34 - Carlos Davidovitch

It's a quote day. But the other one that I'm sure you know is I think it's so old, the one I'm going to share with you, I think it's from, I don't know, 13th or 14th century. I don't remember the guy who said it, but he said, I spend all my life suffering for tons of situations that never, never happened to me.

00:13:00 - Brett Hill

Exactly. So. Exactly. So I can't tell you how powerful it's been in my life to just recognize that my thought streams, when I start to feel anxious about things, if I look at what's going on, often I'm thinking about a negative outcome of a situation. And I'm basically borrowing from this drama that I've invented and feeling it right now and that doesn't feel good. And when I catch myself doing that. I go up there, I go again, spinning stories about a negative outcome. And really, I'd rather just notice how beautiful this tree is that's right in front of me. Since I can make a choice, why not make that choice? Right?

00:13:47 - Carlos Davidovitch

Absolutely. And one thing, one nuances I want to share. This is not about being positive, is not about denial. So being positive is just an attempt to always try to look for a solution instead that focusing on the problem. And this is, again, it's an attitude. I try to be quite careful not to fall in the denial space. Yes, I hear what you're saying, and it's not about that. Everything is fantastic because life many times doesn't bring or doesn't put us in the nice places. Even though I appreciate that, even though we need to keep in mind that still we can decide how to react.

00:14:48 - Brett Hill

Exactly. So I love that you're bringing this up, because a lot of people do feel like that an orientation towards avoiding unnecessary suffering is somehow bearing the reality of negative things that happen in our lives and the experience of that. And it's not about avoidance. Sometimes I use a metaphor story. Like, if you have a flat tire on the highway and you can get out of your car and you go, oh my God, the flat tire is the worst. Why does this always happen to me? And I'm going to be late, and it's just a terrible situation, and you might be right to be unhappy, but that doesn't get your tire fixed. Exactly. And so by focusing what you said, let's focus on the solution, which is let's get the tire fixed and save the drama for some other time.

00:15:49 - Carlos Davidovitch

Absolutely. And again, I want to be very respectful of different personalities.

00:15:57 - Brett Hill


00:15:58 - Carlos Davidovitch

This is not about every negative situation in life. Oh, wow. I'm so thankful. I'm so grateful that this happened to me. No, exactly.

00:16:06 - Brett Hill


00:16:07 - Carlos Davidovitch

But if I need to go to a tough situation in life, I will go. And if I will not enjoy it, okay. But I will go.

00:16:21 - Brett Hill

Yes. And I feel like that since we're talking about this kind of edge and mindfulness work, it's like there's a connection between mindfulness and activism. And I feel like that people who are really more present and mindful have the capacity to be more effective in their activism than coming from a reactionary place. Now, you don't want to take the heat out of it necessarily, but I just feel like that moving into action from a place of being is in necrotolis place. That's words that would be like, effective action or right. Use of power in a certain.

00:17:02 - Carlos Davidovitch


00:17:04 - Brett Hill

I wanted to ask you, because I was listening to your TEDx talk, and you mentioned something around that I thought was really powerful, and you talked about different kinds of different ways our brain works. And the brain isn't necessarily just our mind, if you will, isn't just our brain. Right. And one of the phrases you used was when you know something by heart. What does that mean? Can you tell us a little bit about your thoughts on heart and feeling and emotion as a part of our brain or neurological instrumentation?

00:17:48 - Carlos Davidovitch

Absolutely. Of course, Brett, this was mind blowing for me when I found out about this, because also it's new information in medicine. One guy in the 90s, around the 90s, he found out that we have brain cells, equivalents in our heart. So what's called neurons, right. We have neurons in our.

00:18:14 - Brett Hill

With their neurons in the heart.

00:18:15 - Carlos Davidovitch

They are neurons in the heart. They are like 50,000 neurons identified in the heart. And that was absolutely unexpected. And then I will share a couple of anecdotal things still, but that finding start changing the way we thought about the heart. Traditionally, the heart sold with a pump. Pump is pumping blood all the time. But there are other very interesting components. For instance, you just mentioned it, the English saying, I know it by heart. If you analyze a little bit what that exactly means, I know it by heart, that the heart is a reservoir of memory. What? Maybe, yes. And to add more, say, ingredients to this salad in Spanish, the word remember, recordar in Spanish means to go through the heart and bring information. So it seems like the heart, not only again, is a pump, it's something else. Another fact. People that go through any heart intervention or disease or some traumatic event that affects the heart physically could be a surgery, it could be a heart attack. The incidence of psychological or emotional issues is much higher than for any other organ in the body. Again, I don't want to go to the romantic application our heart, but definitely is important. Definitely. The heart is deeply connected with our emotions. There is a long way still to find out exactly what that represents or what that means. But if you want, I can share with you about those people that receive a new heart.

00:20:34 - Brett Hill

Oh, sure. Yes, of course. That'd be fabulous.

00:20:37 - Carlos Davidovitch

That was really mind blowing. Around 20% to 25% of people receiving a new heart, they change personality completely after the surgery. That was so weird, so odd that through years, a group of researchers in a state, they were able to identify the donors. Because it's not easy to know the donors. They were able to connect the characteristic of personality of the donor with a new characteristic of the receiver of that heart.

00:21:15 - Brett Hill

Wow. Actually receiving the new heart, actually transplants characteristics, emotional characteristics of the donor into the receiver.

00:21:26 - Carlos Davidovitch

Absolutely. And in some people, we still don't know why those are so strong. That will go to the big brain, to the upper brain, let's say, and will tell now I'm in command, and I will decide what to do. So what I'm trying to say, the metaphor is the heart is deeply connected with our emotions. So all those saying through, I mean, let's call it for clorical saying about heart's emotion. I feel it in my heart, is what my heart is telling me. It's not just an anecdotal thing.

00:22:08 - Brett Hill

My heart is in it. Get to the heart of the matter.

00:22:12 - Carlos Davidovitch

It's amazing, the amount of sentences and saying that we use involving our heart connected with emotions.

00:22:26 - Brett Hill

Yeah, that's amazing. And so this speaks to me to something I'm a big fan of, is this notion of this mind body integration, and I love it that you're kind of really right at the fact of, from a traditional point of view in medicine, the heart is just an organ that just pumps blood. And what you're saying is that, no, there's a lot more going on here than just the mechanics of the organ. That there's a whole mind body integration piece that we really don't know that much about. That looks pretty mysterious, but yet is very powerful for us.

00:23:09 - Carlos Davidovitch

Correct. 100% correct.

00:23:12 - Brett Hill

And so where else does this show up? So we've got the heart. Where else does this show up in our bodies?

00:23:20 - Carlos Davidovitch

I like to use the framework of five brains, because when I start studying and finding out what we have in our body, that was the image that came to me. One of the most, I would say, powerful and popular lady lately is our gut brain. So, in our guts, we have a full and complete nerve system that is absolutely connected also with our emotions.

00:23:59 - Brett Hill

Do they have neurons? Is there neurons in.

00:24:02 - Carlos Davidovitch

Yes, they have 100 million neurons in the gut. In the gut, it's a complete nervous system, more neurons than in our old spinal cord. And the gut is permanently in connection with the upper brain. Today, you will find tons of book talking about this axis, the brain guts connection axis. They are fantastic books about it. And definitely the gut is, I would say, is in charge of many more things that also we thought. And again, no, these butterflies in our stomach.

00:24:53 - Brett Hill

Right. Butterflies in the stomach. And there's a thing called, like, what is their gut instinct or gut instinct.

00:25:00 - Carlos Davidovitch

I love to talk about that concept because the word instinct, intuition got instinct and intuition. Let's say intuition has a bad marketing. So it's a word that generates a lot of negativity, like a touchy feeling stuff. And it's absolutely wrong. When I discuss with my clients very rational personality, let's put it that way. I explain intuition and gut feeling. I explain it in a very scientific way, and I tell them, intuition is the best version of Google. Works exactly in the same way. It's an algorithm. Our gut is also reservoir of information. Everything that happens to us is storage in our body, but in our gut, mainly more experience we have. Our intuition will work better because it's connecting those dots in a way that we cannot do it in a rational way. The rational way that, don't get me wrong, our rational brain took us to fantastic places, but it still is limited and is slow. Intuition is a fastest process.

00:26:36 - Brett Hill

So I have a question, and it's like, how then? And I love intuition. People who know me know I'm all about intuition, but I wanted to ask you a question then. Like, you're dealing with rational folk like executive coaching and leadership development, and you're talking about intuition, and you're literally saying, this is an irrational process. How do you get people then to lean into learning how to be more irrational? Does that make sense?

00:27:09 - Carlos Davidovitch

Absolutely. Brett, I will tell you two stories. One at the beginning, when I started sharing all this information, I was kind of afraid that people will say, don't tell me about touchy feely stuff. And I don't like that. And, Brett, I need to confess. Never. An executive told me that.

00:27:33 - Brett Hill

Wow, that's really great to hear, because that is something I hear a lot from coaches. It's like, oh, I can't even mention this. And you're saying, yes, you can.

00:27:41 - Carlos Davidovitch

Of course you can, because I tell you more. Many of these high executive came to me to say, carlos, I know what you're talking about. My team did all the rational analysis about X-Y-Z situation, and they told me we need to go right. My gut is telling me we need to go left. And I know I'm right, but I don't know how to explain it to them. And then I tell them, don't worry. Don't try to explain it, because the Alphabet is not in our gut. Just wait a couple of days. The information will reach your upper brain, and you will be able to explain it very much. And I will add one more component. I work with one assessment about leadership, because my area is leadership in coaching, mainly not only, but mainly, there was a fantastic study identifying the main competencies or personality traits that determines a successful leader. And they were analyzing thousands of thousand and making tests to thousands of thousands of leaders at the top of the pyramid of leadership. Intuition run first. So when we talk about an effective and successful leader, it's not only about rationality. Without the intuitive component, we'll never has a chance to be a successful leader. And I'm very determined and firm on this. And why? Just for a very practical thing, Brett, one thing that happened, when people moves up in the ladder of leadership, there are two components. Number one, you will never have all the whole information to analyze properly what is going on. Second, you will never have time to make a decision that you need to make. So without all the information and without time, you only can call intuition to help you. And I told you before, intuition is based on experiences, not on nothing. So we cannot see the process, but there is a process behind the scene that happens in our guts and in certain part of our upper brain.

00:30:23 - Brett Hill

And so how would you suggest that people learn more about how to respect that more, how to give that more expression in our lives?

00:30:37 - Carlos Davidovitch

That's a good point. When I coach leaders that are not so fan of intuition, because I tell you why. Because they feel safer when they can do the rational analysis and see the problem.

00:30:53 - Brett Hill

Yes, of course. Right.

00:30:56 - Carlos Davidovitch

This is what we do. I start asking, okay, listen, from now on, you will keep doing all the analysis you want, but you cannot deny from me, to me that at the moment that you are facing a challenge or whatever, there is some information that comes to you that you don't know from where that is intuition. You normally, you just delete that information and start doing that.

00:31:26 - Brett Hill

Right. We just ignore it.

00:31:27 - Carlos Davidovitch

Ignore it. Totally ignore it. It's a funny way. Delete it. Ignore it and start doing the analytical thinking. It is fine. Then I make a deal with them. I say, from now on, at the moment, you're facing a challenge and you feel some kind of solution, write it down and then go to your analytical thinking. We will collect that information and through time, you will see that it's a search of information. Very, very helpful to find the right solution to whatever problem you are facing. Don't get me wrong, Brett. I'm not saying that intuition is always right, but at the same time, we already know that analytical thinking is not always right.

00:32:23 - Brett Hill

Yeah. So it's just a resource for you.

00:32:26 - Carlos Davidovitch

Exactly. And I say this is just another source of information. Take it like that through a time, three, six months, we are working with people and they start just seeing a very practical way. Wow. This information that came to me right away when I was dealing with this problem was not so far away from reality. At the end, I after did all the analytical analysis thinking, but in the end, they were connected. So that is one way that I use to support my clients to start accepting this source of information that is so powerful. Makes sense.

00:33:12 - Brett Hill

Yeah, that's amazing. I love that very much because then it's sort of like, oh, I can wait for my analytical brain to catch up to what I already knew intuitively.

00:33:22 - Carlos Davidovitch


00:33:22 - Brett Hill

And when you tie that together enough, you sort of prove through actual practice that there's something going on here that matters. It's not just an idea. This is actually something that you can use in your life and in your world and in your business.

00:33:42 - Carlos Davidovitch

Absolutely. Mainly, I remember many, many years ago, Brett, I had a friend, it was a client at the beginning. Friend was a financial guy, that expert in the stock market. I was very young, and for me, the stock market was absolutely a mystery. And my question was, hey, you are so good, so good. I mean, in everything that is connected with finance that it will be easy for you to do right in the stock market. I still remember the way he started laughing at me. He said, if the stock market fluctuation will be a rational process, everybody will be already millionaire.

00:34:34 - Brett Hill

That's true.

00:34:35 - Carlos Davidovitch

And he told me it's an essential emotional process that nobody knows how to handle properly. I talk about many, and that moment for me was an enlightenment. I say, wow, because I was projecting fantasy because I'm not in finance myself. And he said it's impossible to predict because there are so many emotions influencing those fluctuations that there's no way to analyze them and to understand what's going on. I don't know if it's useful, what I'm sharing, but just to share with you.

00:35:13 - Brett Hill

Well, so he was approaching this from maybe an intuitive point of view.

00:35:20 - Carlos Davidovitch

Yeah, probably.

00:35:22 - Brett Hill

Amazing stuff. I love this stuff so much. And it's really fabulous work that you're doing to help bring together the various ways that the brain, if you will, we normally call the brain, is actually a much more complex, the mind is a much more complex thing than just the brain. Right. And the ways that our mind and our heart and our gut instincts and our awareness can all work together to help us be better people and more effective leaders and coaches as well. So how can people find you if they want to learn more about what this really nice point of view and the concepts and your teachings how can people find that excellent?

00:36:08 - Carlos Davidovitch

I mean, I'm totally open to talk and discuss with whoever will love to talk about this because I love this topic. My website,, there is a way to connect with my email there, and my LinkedIn profile also is another easy way to connect with me. I mean, you can find this LinkedIn, Carlos Davidovitchovitch, HMD. You will find it there. I think it's the easiest way to connect. Also, you already mentioned the book and the TeDx talk that I enjoy like crazy. I said it was an amazing experience itself by itself. But if anyone that would like to talk to go deeper on this, I'm totally open to listen and to connect.

00:36:58 - Brett Hill

Thank you so much. It's been so fun talking about this. I could do it all day, and I really appreciate your clarity and your passion and your insight and where you put this together and the difference that you're making in people's lives. So sometimes I'm arrogant enough to speak on behalf of the world. And so I would say on behalf of the world, thank you for the work that you're doing.

00:37:20 - Carlos Davidovitch

Wow. My pleasure, Brett. Thanks a lot. I take it very seriously.

00:37:27 - Brett Hill

Thank you so much. And we'll put all these, the show notes so people can find that. If you're interested in connecting with other The Mindful Coach Associationes in the world, check out the The Mindful Coach Association association where we meet every week, and you can check out there. And also my own And thank you so much. And we'll.

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