There are many things that we do as coaches; helping clients set meaningful goals, helping boost their confidence and resourcefulness, and helping them take focused action so they achieve real progress. However, none of this is possible or sustainable without wellbeing, mindfulness of compassion – and like so many things that journey must begin at home with ourselves.
Let’s start with well-being…
“Your well-being must never become an afterthought. It must be your first act.” – Rasheed Ogunlaru
One of the first things I look out for in my clients is their life-balance, their well-being and if they are taking care of themselves and their health. So although I’m usually called upon as a leadership coach or business coach, and that (on paper at least) I’m there to help them achieve their corporate or business goals, I know that without addressing their well-being we are building a house upon the sand. Any wins will be short-lived without encouraging a client to put themselves first.
My own approach is to get them to put their me time, family, hobby and well-being time in the diary first or that it probably won’t happen. There can be a notion that this is not part of the coaching agenda but a client is a human being first and then an employee, entrepreneur or whatever. For those who work very hard and in challenging environments, this is actually where many of the issues are.
Now let’s talk about you. Being an effective coach requires a great deal of energy. Clients need and deserve to feel that we are giving them 100% even when we are feeling at 70%. As per my quote above…you must begin with you!
“Everything boils down to love and compassion - or its absence.” - Rasheed Ogunlaru
To me compassion is love in action. It is a deep appreciation and understanding of the human condition. It contains empathy and appreciation. It begins in presence and awareness. In my book Soul Trader (which contains a whole chapter on compassion) I tell the true story of a client I coached who was quite tough on himself and in some ways – and we discussed the theme of compassion. He was stunned when I introduced the idea that compassion must begin with self-compassion. He sat with this and over time began to embrace it in his life, in his business - all starting with seeing himself with more kindness and care. As coaches you’ll often spot that clients are tough on themselves and so much of our role – is to ensure they see themselves and others fairly, accurately and kindly … and that is unlikely without the mirror of compassion.
So what about you? The coaching journey must start with you – every day.
“The stiller you are – the calmer life is.” – Rasheed Ogunlaru
Everything we have touched upon here in this article is about mindfulness: a deep awareness, presence and acceptance. To arrive at… or return to awareness we need to be quiet, still, centred. It begins with our breath and noticing our thoughts.
Pause for a moment. Take a deep, steady breath in….hold it…and now let it out. Repeat this ten times.
As you do this you may notice that you’ve slowed down, fallen back more into the body than being caught up in your mind. What thoughts are going around in your mind at the moment? Are you thinking about this article or what you’re going to do, watch, read or eat next? The practice of mindfulness usually begins with breathing, stillness and watching ‘our’ train of thoughts and letting them go by rather than diving back on the train.
Being a great coach requires us being deeply present with our clients. This quality of presence carries with it the invitation to extend this to all areas of our life, our career and our relationships.
Yesterday evening I was aware that I had a fair amount that I’d not completed that I had hoped to and so I thought I’d get up even earlier than I usually do today. But this morning as I began to awaken it struck me that the most urgent ‘task’ was – as I’d put it – “being in the nothingness”. In other words, being present. Not being caught up in the “to dos.” Once I had been present, in the silence, in the gratitude of being alive, I was ready to get up and begin my day. A quiet mind is far more attuned to and ready to address the realities and practicalities of life than a noisy one.
This mindfulness, centredness is something that you can bring into your life and your work at any time. The starting point is to start each day with a large bowl of gratitude.
Keen to learn more? Then join us for Rasheed’s Mindfulness CPD course - for more information & to book click here.
Rasheed Ogunlaru is a leading life coach, motivational speaker and business / leadership coach. His clients include entrepreneurs, executives, high achievers - and organisations. He is author of Soul Trader – Putting the Heart into Your Business and is life & business coach partner to the British Library’s Business & IP Centre. He often speaks in the media including appearances on ITN and BBC News. He is an associate trainer of The Coaching Academy and is a former Co-Director of Samaritans (Central London Branch).
The Coaching Academy was established in 1999, and is now the world's largest coaching school.
In that time we have trained over 8,000 people to become life coaches.
We are accredited by the International Coach Federation, and we're rated 4.8 out of 5 on Trustpilot.
We are pleased to be featuring Laura Fordham as our Coach in the Spotlight in this week’s blog.