Меня зовут Ингрид и я немного говорю по-русски.

My name is Ingrid Layer and I am a certified and accredited Advanced Neurolanguage Coach®, living in the beautiful city of Ulm in the South of Germany.

I have been teaching English for specific purposes since 2006 with a special focus on scientific English and English for professionals InCompany. I am also a certified trainer and oral examiner for Intercultural Competence in English.

Through years of working and gaining experience, I have developed my own signature style of teaching, but it was only after I took the Language Coaching Certification® with Rachel Paling that I found this „unique extra“which I had been looking for to make language learning more efficient and a unique and valuable experience for my learners.

Introducing my Ukranian Neurolanguage Coach® Yulia Okhmat

How everything started

The idea behind this let’s say “experiment” was to find out with the help of my friend and Neurolanguage Coach® Yulia what would happen in my brain, in my role as a coachee rather than coach when I started to learn a new language as a real beginner.

I chose Russian because I had always wanted to learn Russian and mainly because my friends said „you can learn any language – you are talented – so what – this is not a challenge for you“ – I didn’t agree. I thought it would be a great challenge and I love challenges!

Let me tell you about Yulia. We did the Language Coaching Certification with Rachel Paling together in May this year and we developed a deep and trusting relationship – we both communicate in an open and honest way and if I were going to learn Russian, it was going to be with her.

My goal was to learn some basic Russian and learn the necessary words and phrases to be able to have some small talk and to communicate with Russian people during a holiday etc. Yulia and I agreed on 10 coaching sessions (once a week) and I started in the month of September this year.

First Insights

The insights I gained as a coachee and seeing at the same time what challenges a Neurolanguage Coach® had to master were and still are priceless. All these coaching conversations, like a dance – being 100% with the coachee – listening actively – finding ways to adapt when the situation suddenly changes, optimizing learning, giving positive feedback and calming the coachee down when you know that it will be getting more difficult.

So come with me and join me on my journey

My motivation level was extremely high and I had what I would call a rocket start. My brain was soaking up everything that was new and I was happy to make and find connections with all the other languages I speak and learning words was so easy.

Yet, there was this Russian pronunciation which I realized could become a challenge because of the soft sounds. I could not find anything similar to connect with and so the pronunciation became another but for me very important mastery goal.

We had awesome and light-hearted pronunciation training via Skype and we laughed ourselves to tears. Really happy that this was NOT recorded.

Between our sessions, I agreed to do some consolidation work which according to my opinion has a positive impact on learning. As agreed Yulia provided me with audiofiles she recorded so that I could listen and train my pronunciation, lists with the new words to learn and some writing and grammar exercises. I tried to be very disciplined and learn some Russian every day – which of course did not always work, but with the dopamine shots I got from my coach it was easier to continue – and oh yes – a coachee does need a high dose of dopamine every session to keep him/her going.


I knew it would happen. And now that I have the knowledge of how the brain works and what happens when this moment has come, I realized that my limbic system shut down and for the first time I felt how it was like being caught in this „flight“ mode. And at the same time, I started feeling really sorry for my learners when they have their brain blocks.

How does a roadblock feel? How do I really know how a coachee feels if I am not myself a coachee? For me as a coachee, it was like (sorry for this comparison) desperately searching for your car in a huge parking space because you could not remember where you parked it – had the same experience? Feels like panic, the brain is very creative and starts offering you different possibilities; you follow this lead and you start running around, planless, instead of taking a deep breath, calming down until you can think clearly again.

How to overcome such a brain block?

The very moment we both realized that I could not remember even the simplest sentences and that there was no way of getting out of this dilemma, my coach stopped the session and instead tried to find out what happened and what could be done to overcome this obstacle.

In a very open and honest conversation, we tackled this problem and found out that it was the dialogues I had to translate and then roleplay with my coach. I found out that I could not identify myself with them. So in a check-in session, we agreed no more translations. Instead, she provided me with different real-life scenarios which I started practicing with her and although on a rather low level I would say, I felt the transition taking place from the thinking brain to the performing brain – what an insight and what a wonderful experience!

My next steps for learning Russian

My Russian Learning Journey with Yulia will continue. My new goal is to take as many Russian sessions as necessary to finally master the Russian language. My new mastery goal (in addition to my mechanical goals) is to get this significant extra which is learning about the Russian culture, i.e. literature, history, religion, mindsets, traditions etc.

Learning a language for me is not only about becoming fluent at speaking, it is also about feeling the rhythm of the language and being able to talk like a Russian and key to that is finding out about the culture – for me culture and language are inextricably connected. And I want to feel both – the rhythm of the Russian language and the spirit of the Russian culture.

And with this wonderful method of Neurolanguage Coaching® created by Rachel Paling we have this key in our hands.