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 We bring neuroscience and coaching together.

Next NCN training commences February 2024

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The  Neuroscience Coaching Network (NCN) is an online professional training program and global community.

  • Created for new, experienced and certified coaches with a genuine interest in applying brain science to their practice.
  • Designed to encourage conversations and collaboration between the coaching and neuroscience communities. Learn about neuroscience from neuroscientists!
  • Facilitated by neuroscientist Dr Sarah McKay DPhil and coaching psychologist Dr Mary Collins PhD.

Introducing the Neuroscience Coaching Network

Our purpose is to develop neuroscience-informed coaching tools & practice through education, collaboration & community.

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Here's the premise on which the NCN was built:

  • Coaching is designed to help people uncover strengths, goals, internal drive, and develop the skills and behaviours that improve competence, confidence, and performance.
  • Neuroscience offers a compelling lens through which to view the human mind, thoughts, feelings and behaviours, and interest in this fast-paced and compelling science is intense.
  • We believe there's enormous potential for translation of brain science research to coaching practice. However, neuroscience rarely provides neatly pre-packed tools and techniques, and enthusiasm for 'using neuroscience'  often outpaces individual practitioner's neuroscience literacy.
  • Thus, attention needs to turn towards the training of coaches in how to understand, integrate and communicate neuroscience research to ensure the continuation of evidence-based coaching practice.
  • Rather than a 'bridge too far' between the disciplines, we see a golden opportunity to build reciprocal connections. The NCN provides neuroscientists and coaches a place to meet, to learn from each other, and to share meaningful conversations. We see no reason why coaches should not learn neuroscience direct from neuroscientists!

The NCN welcomes professional coaches who:

  • Share our passion for juicy conversations,
  • Appreciate the value of human connection, community and laughter (even if, for now, it is via Zoom!),
  • Are life-long learners dedicated to personal and professional development no matter which stage they're at in their coaching career,
  • Get excited by the intellectual challenges and opportunities of learning about neuroscience and from the scientists themselves,
  • Embrace human-centred values, including empathy, compassion, vulnerability and authenticity,
  • Care deeply about the potential of coaching to help people become better versions of themselves.

We believe neuroscience and coaching are powerful tools for human change. We bring the two together in conversation.

AUD, EURO & monthly payment plan links to enrol in FAQS (scroll down)

Benefits & Outcomes

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Your NCN membership includes:

  • Lifetime access to all online content updates and invited speaker series + workshops in 2023 and beyond.
  • Continuing coach education in applied brain science and coaching psychology.
  • Conversations and Q&A with neuroscientists, educators, professional coaches and experts in the application of brain and behavioural science.
  • A global community of like-minded coaches.
  • The opportunity to develop coaching tools and practice informed by brain science.
  • A certificate of completion equivalent to 40 CPD/CCE hours recognised by various coaching federations and professional associations including the ICF and AC.



1. Building self-awareness

  • Awareness of the neuroscience & coaching landscapes.
  • Who you are is how you coach.
  • Translating research into coaching practice.
  • Developing and maintaining a coaching mindset.

2.Coaching relationships

  • The social brain.
  • The neurobiology of trust, rapport & empathy.
  • Coaching presence as a symphony of strengths. 
  • Co-creating the coaching relationship.

3. Coaching journey

  • The neurobiology of goal-setting & motivation.
  • Coaching for change.
  • Asking the right questions.
  • Facilitating awareness and insight.

4. Staying on track

  • The neurobiology of habits, emotion regulation.
  • How to build a resilient brain.
  • Coaching needs, capabilities & strengths.
  • Cultivating learning and growth.

5. Sharing neuroscience

  • The art and science of neuroscience communication.
  • Considering the mind vs brain.
  • Using facts and feelings.
  • Using storytelling to communicate science.

6. Triad challenge + speaker series

  • Invited speaker + workshop series.
  • Triad coaching challenge with peers.
  • Student presentations  (required for CPD hours).

NCN training is delivered in three parts.

1. First Five Weeks

  • During the first five weeks of training (February — March 2023), coaches will complete five online modules exploring neuroscience and its practical application to coaching. (For details of the curriculum, see above).
  • Each online module (Me, We, Where, How, Now) consists of short pre-recorded video lectures, reading, and a reflective coaching practice activity.
  • Each week the class will gather with Drs McKay and Collins via Zoom to reflect on the weekly module and participate in small group discussions. (For times of calls, see FAQ below).

2. Triad challenge

  • Upon completion of the 5-week program, coaches will be grouped into triads (groups of three) to deepen knowledge and practice.
  • Triads may choose a neuroscience topic relevant to coaching and work towards the thoughtful development of neuroscience-informed tools, frameworks and practice.
  • Upon completion of the triad challenge (March — May 2023), coaches are invited to present a short talk on the outcomes of their triad challenge (presentation dates TBC during the program).

3. Speaker Series

  • An invited speaker's series will run concurrently with the triad challenge (March — May 2023). Speakers include neuroscientists, coaches, and psychologists invited to present their work, teach skill-development workshops, and participate in Q&A.
  • Additional talks and professional development workshops are planned for the second half of 2023.
  • Upon successfully completing the course, students are issued a certificate of professional development equivalent to 40 hours of CCE (ICF accredited).

AUD, EURO & monthly payment plan links to enrol in FAQS (scroll down)


Invited speakers: 2022-23

Prof Andrew Huberman

Neuroscientist & host of the Huberman Lab podcast.

Stanford University

Neuroscience tools for managing stress and anxiety.

Prof. Muireann Irish

Neuroscientist & Cognitive Neuropsychologist

University of Sydney

Autobiographical memory and imagining the future.

Dr Jared Cooney-Horvath

Educational Neuroscientist

CEO Science of Learning Group

Translating neuroscience into coaching practice: opportunities and barriers.

Prof. Catherine Haslam

Clinical Psychologist

University of Queensland

Social identity and social determinants of brain health.


Prof. Christian van Nieuwerburgh

Coaching Psychologist

University of East London

Tensions in advanced coaching practice.


Dr Haesun Moon

Communication Scientist

University of Toronto

Skill development workshop: Using ordinary words in extraordinary ways.

Dr Alexis Whitton


UNSW & the Black Dog Institute

Pleasure, motivation and setting goals.

Dr John Arden


Author of Mind Brain Gene and Brain2Brain.

Enacting client change through the persuasive power of neuroscience

Dr Gabriela Tavella

PhD scientist & Author

UNSW School of Psychiatry

Burnout: identifying burnout and pathways to recovery. A research update.

Prof Sarah Whittle


Uni Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre.

Imagining the social brain: shame, empathy and guilt.

Michelle Guillemard

Health & Medical Writer

Health Writer Hub

Skill development workshop: Communicating complex science simply and clearly.

Prof Darby Saxbe


USC Dorndorf

Stress, parenthood and the neurobiology of dyads.

Email drsarahmckay@gmail.com with any questions.


b. About Dr Sarah McKay

I'm a neuroscientist and science communicator.

I grew up in New Zealand, and received my doctorate in neuroscience from Oxford University, and I like to sum up my doctoral thesis with the words, ‘Nature, Nurture or Neuroplasticity’. After completing five years of postdoctoral research in brain plasticity and spinal injury research, I hung up my lab coat to pursue a career in science communications.

Nowadays, I'm the director of Think Brain, which offers a suite of professional development training programs in applied neuroscience and brain health. I've taught brain science to coaches and other helping professionals since The Neuroscience Academy opened its doors in 2015.

I'm the author of two women's brain health books: The Women's Brain Book and Baby Brain. I've contributed chapters on neuroscience and coaching to Positive Psychology Coaching in the Workplace and Positive Psychology Coaching in Practice.

In 2019, I hosted an episode of ABC’s flagship science show, Catalyst exploring brain health, bio-hacking and longevity. You can watch the documentary here.

I live in Australia on Sydney’s Northern Beaches with my Irish husband, needy spaniel and two surfer dudes. We can be found sailing, snorkelling or ocean swimming.

c. About Dr Mary Collins

I'm a chartered psychologist and professional executive coach with 15 years experience in organisation development and talent management.

I graduated from the Professional Doctorate Programme at Dublin City University in 2010. My thesis considered psychological contract theory in relation to engagement and retention strategies for high-potential graduates ('Generation Y') in professional services.

In 2019, I was delighted to receive a Kingstown College 'Coaching Hero Award' presented by the Minister of State for Education in recognition of my contribution to the field of coaching.

I'm a qualified coach assessor for the Association for Coaching (AC), a council member of the Irish Institute of Training and Development, and a mentor for the Aurora Women in Higher Education Programme. I'm also a graduate member of the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI) and committee member of the Coaching Psychology Special Interest Group.

My first book, Recruiting Talented Professionals was published by Chartered Accountants Ireland in 2021. I'm currently writing a book on emotional intelligence for dentists. I'm published widely including chapter contributions to books including Managing Professionals and Other Smart People, and Leadership in Healthcare.

I live in Dublin, Ireland with my husband, two gorgeous children and very cuddly dachshund.


Everyone has a brain, but we were never taught how to use it properly to achieve our goals and aspirations.

The Neuroscience Coaching Network (NCN) brings together insights from the cutting-edge research in such fields as neuroscience, psychology and coaching, as well as the knowledge, experience and enthusiasm of students who are eager to learn to become even better at what they do.

This programme is a must for all coaches and other helping professionals who would like to bring their practice to the next level. Highly recommended!

Zoryna O'Donnell
Change consultant, coach, mentor, trainer, public speaker and author. UK & Ukraine. 

I loved the combination of Neuroscience, Coaching and the series of presenters was outstanding. This is a very high-quality course, with a practical triad project at the end, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I highly recommend the Neuroscience Coaching Network, as well as working with Dr Sarah McKay and Dr Mary Collins.

Ute Lörch
Mental Fitness and Wellbeing Coach. New Zealand. 

Studying with Dr Sarah was extraordinary. From the content, resources, community, engagement and of course incredible teacher.

I can't recommend it highly enough. The training provided not only extensive learnings but has laid a wonderful platform for many more months/years to come. It has been a game changer for me and my work with Imposter Syndrome.

Alison Shamir 
Imposter syndrome expert, coach, media commentator. Australia

For me, the NCN was a great period of further personal development, learning and encountering personal boundaries, pushing us backwards in order to obtain a wider space for knowledge and a safe area to raise ideas and questions.

This is the third program I’ve completed with Sarah, and I want to also acknowledge Sarah's assistant Ley who has been there with me for every ‘stupid question’ and misunderstanding. Ley is a great person with huge patience. Thank you for your diligence and desire to help with every question I have and for the good spirit you brought during my studies with the Neuroscience Academy and the NCN. 

This was the cognitive experience I was looking for to further my quest to delay cognitive decline and early dementia!

Ofer Sahchaff 
I help others be their best. Israel.

I really loved this course. I really enjoy Sarah's teaching style and how she keeps us on the path of scientific integrity. And for me what sets NCN apart from the other courses I've taken is the coach-specific angle.

Mary brings the "feeling" piece that is so integral to coaching and she does it in a very practical way.

Together they create a very compelling harmony. I will repeat it next year. Also, I deeply appreciate that we can repeat our courses at no additional charge. I am a person who needs to take several passes at something before I feel I've extracted all of the juice.

Over the last six months, I have had the absolute pleasure of participating in The Neuroscience Coaching Network training. Having already completed all of Dr Sarah McKay's courses and seeing that this was being run together with Dr Mary Collins, it was a no-brainer (no pun intended) for me to sign up.

Working as a Psychotherapist, Coach and Trainer, this course was ideal to learn how to apply neuroscience to my practices and boy did it deliver!

Not only have Sarah and Mary shared their incredible knowledge and training, they also brought us the most the most amazing series of guest speakers who are all leaders in their fields from Neuroscience, Coaching, Psychology, Education and more.

It has been a privilege to be in the same (virtual) room as these people and learn from them. My mind is still blown! I would highly recommend this training to anyone interested in learning more about the brain and how to use neuroscience to inform their practice.

Lisa Jones
Mental Health Consultant | Senior Accredited Psychotherapist | Wellbeing Coach | Trainer | International Keynote Speaker. UK

I attended the Neuroscience Coaching Network earlier this year, a 6-month virtual program led by Dr Sarah McKay and Mary Collins, and wanted to share some of the learnings.

We covered a lot in the course and the highlights I shared in this episode: what influences us as coaches, building trust in relationships, the brain as a prediction machine, when stress increases what habits do we use, coach self care, and social relationships are the key to a long life.

Listen in here.

Dr Jo Braid
Physician and professional coach. Australia


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Next NCN commences: 25th February 2024

Email drsarahmckay@gmail.com with any questions.