What is mindful coaching?


What is mindful coaching?

Mindful coaching is where mindfulness and coaching meet. In mindfulness we learn to shift from doing mode into being mode. The ‘doing mode’ is typically characterised by stories, thinking, oriented towards past or future, automatic pilot and reactions or impulses. ‘Being mode’ on the other hand entails concepts like process, feelings, orientation to the here and now, intention and creative choice.

One could say that mindfulness meditation fancies being mode more (to be still and compassionate), whereas coaching prefers doing mode (goals and action plans). The combination, however, enhances both, says one coaching study (Spence et al, 2010), which found that mindfulness training combined with solution-focused coaching helps clients attain their health goals.

In her book on Mindful Coaching, Lizz Hall, a senior practitioner coach in the UK, lists 10 tips for mindful coaching. They apply mainly to the coach, although I feel the client might benefit from taking these tips to heart as well.

  1. Start doing an 8-week mindfulness course. Research shows that attention training for 8 weeks literally rewires our brains.
  2. Practice mindfulness (including meditation) regularly.
  3. Take a systemic approach to coaching, “being mindful” of the wider systems in which you and your clients operate.
  4. Approach coaching (and life) with non-judgment, openness, curiosity, and compassion.
  5. Prepare mindfully for each coaching session – this can take as little as a few minutes. E.g., walk mindfully to your coaching session, or sit in the park and pay attention to your breath for a few minutes.
  6. Share mindfulness practices within coaching sessions and as “homework” where useful and appropriate for the client. If the word mindfulness is off-putting for clients the exercises can be called centering practices, breathing practice or attention training. All these will help to become more resourceful and creative, more emotionally intelligent, more able to be resilient and manage stress – the research backs all of this up.
  7. Attend (not solely) to the present in all coaching interactions (thoughts, emotions, bodily sensations, happenings – both on your part and on the part of your client). Be curious about everything that arises, turning towards the ‘difficult’ as well as the ‘easy.’
  8. Don’t be overly-attached to outcome, for yourself or your clients. It can be incredibly powerful, particularly for leaders, to sit with not-knowing, to be open to whatever emerges in a non-judgmental, curious, compassionate way.
  9. Be compassionate to yourself and to your clients. Practicing mindfulness helps us develop compassion, which I believe is a central component of coaching. It can be incredibly hard to be self-compassionate, but well worth the effort.
  10. Have fun! In the West, we often take things far too seriously and can learn a great deal from Eastern teachings. Yes, mindfulness helps us manage stress, be more creative, improves our cognitive functioning and thus our “performance” but ultimately, for me (Liz Hall), mindfulness is about bringing joy back into our lives and those of our clients.

Well, Liz, I couldn’t agree with you more. Let’s bring the joy back into our lives!





This genius strategy for women to be heard in meetings will blow you away

Are you a woman working in a company, sector or industry dominated by males? Do you find it hard to get noticed, to make your opinion heard and to remain owner of your ideas? Well, learn from this interesting read published in The Washington Post. It truly is genius.

Testosterone in the room

Most of the people campainging for Obama were men. When Obama won the presidential elections these men subsequently filled his cabinet. At that time, the White House was not the most female friendly environment. Women found it was a tough circle to break.

They not only had to shoulder their way into important meetings. Once in, they also had to get their opinions noticed. That’s when female staffers started to band together and came up with a genius meeting strategy to make themselves heard.

‘Amplification’ strategy

What did they do differently? Whenever a woman made a key point, another woman would repeat it and pay credits to the author. This forced the men to acknowledge the point made and denied them to claim the idea of their own.

The female staffers called this the ‘amplification’ strategy and purposefully made it an everyday thing. Gradually, Obama began noticing them, calling more on women and junior staffers next to the more senior men.

As a result, things looked brighter for females in Obama’s second term, with now half of the White House departments headed by women.

Small ideas with big impact

The simplest strategies are often the most powerful. I was genuinely blown away by its sheer simplicity. It’s such a small effort to implement this in your own company as of today. So go band with your fellow sisters at work, voice your opinions and amplify each other. I would love to hear how it works out for you!

Source: www.nymag.com