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A Mindful Approach To Coaching

Posted 1217 Days Ago in: Coaching Articles

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Coaching Academy Trainer and Advanced Coach Practitioner Tutor, Susan Grandfield, has been practicing Mindful Coaching for several years. Being a Mindful Coach is key to advancing your coaching skills, read on to find out more about Susan's experience with Mindful Coaching.

Coaching Academy Trainer and part of our Advanced Coach Practitioner Tutor Team, Susan Grandfield, has been practicing Mindful Coaching for several years. Being a Mindful Coach is key to advancing your coaching skills and will be explored in more depth on our Advanced Coach Programme.

Susan has found that mindfulness techniques have transformed her life and how she is as a Coach. Read on to find out more about Susan's experience with Mindful Coaching and why this technique makes an excellent foundation for being a great coach.

Have you ever:

  • Felt your mind wandering during a coaching session?
  • Worried whether you were asking the right question? 
  • Thought about the next question while your client was answering the previous one? 
  • Found yourself judging what your client has just said? 
  • Become caught up in thinking about a solution to your client's problem?
  • Questioned whether your session was a "good" session for your client?


Well, you are in good company! Every coach will tell you that at some point, particularly in the early stages of their coaching career, they also found themselves spending a lot of time in their head thinking about a session as it went on and worrying about whether they were doing the "right thing".

They will also tell you that getting stuck in your head and fixating on niggling thoughts that arise during a session will only serve to distract you and move you away from being the kind of coach that your client needs you to be.

If any of this sounds familiar, then keep reading because what I would like to share with you is an approach which can transform your coaching (and your life!).

Over the last 2 years, I have been practicing Mindful Coaching as a result of attending an 8 week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programme and subsequently engaging in daily meditation and mindfulness practice. Taking what I have learned and experienced from everyday mindfulness into my coaching has enabled me to be even more focused, engaged, relaxed and attentive as a coach.

I am able to put all of my energy into my client (rather then listening to my own thoughts) and am able to recognise when I am becoming distracted and to re-focus without losing connection with my client.

So, what is mindful coaching?

It is:

- about moving from your head to your heart
- paying attention on purpose to what is going on in each moment
- noticing what is being said, and not said, without judging
- being fully present in each moment
- accepting what is, rather than seeking what could/should be
- creating a quiet mind which creates space for you and your client.

Mindful coaching will stop you getting distracted by your own thoughts and worrying about which question is right to ask next. It will move you from thinking about the process of coaching towards experiencing coaching as it happens. It will also stop you from questioning your ability or effectiveness as a coach.

In short, it will enable you to focus on being a great coach rather than just doing great coaching (it's a subtle but massively powerful difference).

Getting started with mindful coaching

Mindful coaching has to start with practicing mindfulness and you can do this at any time of day, in all situations and whilst you are doing any daily activity. From brushing your teeth, to drinking a cup of tea/coffee, to taking a walk. Essentially, mindfulness practice is about becoming aware of what is going on for you in any given moment. It is focused on the here and now rather than the past or the future, which is where many of us spend much of our waking time.

Choose an activity (e.g. taking a shower) and commit to giving it your full attention. Focus on using all of your senses whilst you do it. Become aware of smells, tastes, sounds, feelings, images without thinking about how they make you feel or what they mean to you, just experience them and acknowledge them. Notice how they might start off strong and then fade away or how they strengthen as the activity goes on. Tuning into your senses without judgement means you will being to be able to accept experiences as they are not as you would like them to be or how you feel they should be.

Once you are comfortable with this, you can then start practicing periods of mindful meditation where, rather than focusing on the sensations that come from doing an activity, you can sit quietly with your eyes closed and focus on your breathing. Noticing where you feel your breath, the duration of each in and each out breath, the sensation of your tummy or chest moving in and out. Also noticing whenever a thought pops into your head and you find your attention diverting away from your breath and gently bringing your attention back to your breath (even if it happens hundreds of times!).

Practicing this kind of focused attention every day will gradually flex and build your "mindfulness" muscle which you will then be able to use whilst coaching.

You as the mindful coach

Your ability to focus on one thing at a time, to tune into your senses, to turn off the judgemental thoughts and to move from your head to your body will all enable you to be 100% present for your client and will make you feel like a more confident coach and therefore be a more confident coach.

Susan Grandfield

Susan will be running a tutorial on our Advanced Coach Programme leading to Advanced Coach Practitioner status. To find out more visit - www.the-coaching-academy.com/acp/ 

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