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Achieving Without Striving : The Paradox of Mindful Coaching - Susan Grandfield

Posted 987 Days Ago in: Coaching Articles

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I am a coach... I am also a mindfulness practitioner... Whilst those two elements to my life compliment each other beautifully, there is an inherent conflict that I found myself learning to manage over the years.

As a coach - I am goal oriented, future focused, ambitious and motivated by a desire for self-development.  It is this mindset that has driven me to train as a coach with The Coaching Academy, set up my own business and now support other people to achieve their aspirations.

As a mindfulness practitioner - I am present-focused, accepting, non-judgemental about my experience, patient and allowing.  It is this mindset that has enabled me to maintain a sense of balance and connectedness in my life and has contributed to a sense of happiness and well-being that I hadn't experienced before.

Can you see my inherent conflict?

Future vs present focused, desire for improvement vs acceptance, ambitious vs patient, goal oriented vs allowing.

When I first began practicing mindfulness, I really struggled to understand how I could continue to be successful AND achieve my goals, if I wasn't striving.  For me, striving was synonymous with achieving.  Striving was what kept me focused, demonstrated my commitment, motivated me to put the effort in and kept me moving forward.

What I hadn't realised, was that there could be a different way for me to achieve goals.  One that had more ease and was less forceful.  A way that connects us to ourselves and others rather than creating competition.  I hadn't realised that it was possible to achieve goals, in fact beyond our goals, by letting go of our attachment to the future and being more in the ‘now’.

As a mindful coach, I feel I now experience the best of both worlds; on the one hand I still have a strong wish to achieve my own potential and to support others to achieve theirs and on the other hand I approach this wish to achieve with an ease and openness that feels less effortful and more natural.

What I have noticed is that by changing MY relationship with what it means to "achieve", my clients have begun to shift too.  Together we are achieving more whilst expending less energy needlessly striving.

Mindful coaching is about:

  • Letting go of a fixed outcome (goals becoming intentions)
  • Developing a moment by moment awareness of what is shifting and changing in you and your environment (reality in real time)
  • Staying open to other possibilities (noticing options as they unfold)
  • Trusting yourself to take the next step that is right for you (trusting you'll know when it is right)
  • Practicing self-compassion and kindness when things don't go the way you hoped (building resilience)
  • Celebrating your achievements and sharing your experience with others to enable them to also benefit (opening to the wider system)

How could bringing a mindful awareness into your coaching benefit you and your clients?  

‘Practicing just 10 minutes of mindfulness a day can really help to tune into your inner resources’. 

To move from head to heart and to allow the energy and the coaching experience to flow. Allow yourself 10 minutes each day when you can press pause; switch off devices, free yourself from distractions, focus on nothing but your breathing, allowing thoughts to come and go and notice how your body feels.

You may be surprised at just how much you can achieve without striving!

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