» Mindfulness and the Coaching Process = Partners?

The science section of the New York Times recently featured a piece claiming that mindfulness meditation is perhaps the most popular new psychotherapy technique of the past decade. One psychologist at the Center of Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto states that a major factor in this shift is that more and more therapists are practicing some form of contemplation themselves, and they want to bring its benefits to their patients.

Can the same be said about coaches? I certainly hope so. Contemplation is a blood relative to self-awareness, and without client self-awareness, a coach would be of little value.  Interestingly, one of the most well-known leadership coaches in the world today is a proponent of this technique. A Buddhist, he urges clients and colleagues to ‘let it go’ when frustration, disappointment  and worries clamor for valuable space in your cerebral cortex. Live in the moment and appreciate it.

Mindful meditation is often practiced with closed eyes, with an internal focus on breathing. When stray thoughts or emotions enter our consciousness, they are allowed to pass through, and we refocus on our breathing. One could argue that when a stray or negative thought enters our consciousness when we aren’t in a mindful meditation position, we need to be aware of that fact, and let those thoughts go as well. Is this ability reflective of a certain developmental stage? It could very well be. Kids have a hard time letting go of a wish for the latest great toy rage. Impulse control – what’s that?

According to the Times article, mindful meditation can also help manage chronic pain, and it certainly can help individuals cope with chronic or acute stress as well. Other forms of meditative practices whose effects on mental and physical health have been studied by western researchers are Tai Chi, Transcendental Meditation, and Yoga.

It’s a fair bet that all business coaches want their clients to achieve mental and physical health. So consider these techniques. They can only help you become more aware, and, very probably, more productive.