Importance of mindfulness in a coach’s life and how to practice it
Mindfulness for coaches
When it comes to coaching at the masterful level, then the coaching presence is what powers the coaches to be masterful. And that is what they continually strive to master. But doing so is not that simple to do regularly, and most coaches would admit that staying present is a challenge. This is owing to many distractions that coaches have to deal with in their own personal life. This makes them less engaged with the client at times, and the end result is less effective coaching. This post is about mindfulness for coaches, and how coaches can practice mindfulness.
Thankfully, practicing mindfulness can help coaches come to each session with fresh eyes and more calmness. But what exactly is it? And how can a coach inculcate in his or her busy schedule? Let’s find out the answer to these questions.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness traces to a word in Sati that has its roots in the Indian Buddhist tradition dating back to 2500 years. But its introduction into the western world was done by Jon Kabat-Zinn in the late 1970s.
As per him, mindfulness is the awareness that happens when one purposely pays attention to the present moment non-judgmentally.
In fact, its two central components are awareness and acceptance. While awareness is noticing your feelings, thoughts, and body sensations, acceptance is acknowledging those thoughts without labeling them as good or bad.
Mindfulness for Coaches
And when it comes to coaching, coaches need to use the above two components (awareness and acceptance) to become deeply attuned to themselves and the clients. Then only a transformational experience can be created. Hence, mindfulness for coaches has gained a lot of traction in recent times.
Why mindfulness is essential for coaches
It is well known that the best NLP trainers and the best celebrity life coaches have a quiet mind and the ability to create open, reflective, and explorative conversations with the client. Creating a quiet mind is not an easy task as too much clutter is present all around us. This can only be attained by practicing mindfulness by coaches, which makes coaches more masterful, by improving different areas of their coaching. If you are a coach, here are the benefits of mindfulness for coaches:
- Helps a coach to be in the present: Being in the present ensures that you as a coach speak directly to the client, take more risks while communicating, and make bolder requests that are beneficial for the client.
- This further gives you a chance to navigate the chaos and find that still point for leading better and taking care of others.
- Enhances your Emotional Quotient: Mindfulness strengthens your presence as a coach and makes you more empathetic. You will become more sensitive towards the needs of clients and maintain an emotional balance with them. This will help you in assisting them in a positive but non-attached manner. This is something that gets covered in Coaching using Neuroscience in Emotional Intelligence Coach Practitioner training program.
- Increases your listening skills: Practicing mindfulness also makes you an active listener. You can then explore the language and emotional expression of the client. Most importantly, your focus will shift to deep listening so that client feels heard.
- Decreases clutter: As a coach, you will have increased clarity of thoughts and less mind clutter. The end result is increased presence and alertness in the sessions, followed by encouraging clients to move towards goal achievement.
Difficulties faced in learning mindfulness and how to get over them
As with other practices and training, even mindfulness needs time to learn and incorporate into a daily routine. And whenever you learn anything new, it is natural for you to face issues but they can be overcome. The same applies to mindfulness for coaches as well. As a coach take this as a development step in your own development as a coach and ensure that you practice mindfulness regularly.
I don’t have time
This is one of the most common difficulties that I heard from the coaches when it comes to learning mindfulness or anything new.
After all, they have an entire schedule in place, even for eating food.
But believe me, inculcating mindfulness practice won’t take more than 5 minutes, and it will make a big difference in the way you coach your clients. Mindfulness for coaches is an area that is growing, especially after COVID, as mindfulness helps coaches to start with them first.
And the best part is, it can even be done while walking towards your car, or sitting in the car for 5 minutes, just after your lunch, or while you get up from your seat to drink a cup of coffee.
And once you begin the practice, you can easily find time to fit it into your life.
It is too difficult for me
Another problem the coaches face is: This is not for me, or it will not work for me, or it is too difficult.
But just like your training, even mindfulness comes through practice. And the mindfulness experts agree that no one can be 100% mindful at all times. You can go a little bit here and there.
I cannot concentrate
If you find your thoughts racing from one to another, then it is good news! It simply means you have embarked on the path of mindfulness.
The key here is not to pay too much attention to one thought.
For instance, while undergoing a mindfulness session, if you start thinking about your next meeting, then you have two choices. One is to think about the client’s issues deeply or move towards the next thought: what you will do after office hours or focus on what you will eat.
So, the technique is simple: let the thought come, notice it and move on to the next.
How can I be mindful when I am too stressed out?
I agree that mindfulness is a bit difficult when you are anxious, unhappy, too stressed, or angry. But as you start practicing, there is more awareness towards your own thoughts and feelings. A time will come when you will get the power to alter the way you feel emotionally as well as physically. As a coach, it is important that you practice mindfulness for coaches first, as that is going to be key to develop yourself as a Coach.
Strategies to develop mindfulness for Coaches
While there is no single way of practicing mindfulness, there is an existence of specific strategies that you must apply in your daily practice. Here is a glimpse of them.
1) Color walk
You can do this while you are on a ten-minute walk. Pick a color and look for all the things around you that you see in that color—for instance, white clouds, the white shirt of a person, white car. The need is just to focus on color rather than the object.
The intention is to walk with a focus on breath and the colors of life around you. This will bring awareness and allow you to open up for new experiences.
2) Take a pause
Take a pause when you feel overwhelmed with emotions. Notice the experiences that are happening in your body, feel the sensations and just breathe. If your body returns to negative thoughts, then bring your attention to bodily sensations. This will soon help you to attain a calmer space. Mindfulness for coaches also enables coaches to start self-coaching with mindfulness, and these simple techniques can be used with coaching clients as well.
3) Feel Your Breathing for 20 Counts
This is best to use when you feel stressed before a client meeting or find difficulty in communicating.
Sit in a comfortable posture, with one hand on the abdomen and the other on the heart. Simply start breathing to 20 counts. If a thought distracts you, then return your attention to breathing.
4) Find a mantra
Find one and repeat. It can be as simple as relax, smile, this too shall pass or even shhhh. Recite the mantra over and over until it becomes your focus.
Summary – Mindfulness for coaches
I am sure by now you must be aware of the importance of Mindfulness for coaches, and how important is mindfulness in a coach’s life. Regular mindfulness practice is sure to benefit all the coaches out there in the long run. If you are struggling with the client, follow the simple strategies and witness a difference.
How do you think YOU could bring mindfulness into your life or coaching practice?