In the first part of this two-part series on mindfulness, we examined how teaching mindfulness meditation to your coaching clients can help them take more action, reduce stress, improve their working memory, improve focus, and improve relationships. Today, we review how practicing mindfulness meditation can help coaches themselves by developing these five must-have traits for a more centered practice of coaching.
- Empathy. [Aiken (2006); Wang (2007)]
Both these studied revealed that therapists who were practicing meditators reported showing more empathy towards their clients, compared to their non-meditating counterparts. Part of the benefits of mindfulness is being able to see through to your client’s core issues and empathy is a big part of this.
- Compassion. [Kingsbury (2009)]
Being open to mindfulness means being open to not judging and not reacting to what unfolds during meditation. These two core parts of mindfulness are very closely connected with self-compassion and empathy. Therefore, by not judging and not reacting to your clients, you are showing compassion and making them feel more comfortable. In other words, mindfulness strengthens your ability to be in coach position.
- Coaching Mastery. [Newsome, Christopher, Dahlen, & Christopher (2006); Schure, Christopher, & Christopher (2008)]
Effective coaching requires a certain skill-set and mindfulness can help you improve upon that skill-set to make you a better coach. The above studies showed counseling students found themselves to be more attentive, more comfortable with silence and more in sync with their clients. Coaches require these same skills: understanding what your clients need, feeling comfortable with the silence while they think about the thoughtful questions you’ve posed, and being able to be more fluid with your coaching practice based on what your individual clients need as opposed to following a prescribed formula.
- Stress and anxiety. [Shapiro et al. (1998)]
Much like how mindfulness meditation can help your clients reduce their stress and anxiety, the same can be said of coaches practicing mindfulness themselves. As a coach, you are brought into private worlds and being responsible for helping your clients can be quite stressful. Mindfulness has been proven to help premedical and medical students reduce their stress and symptoms of depression by participating in mindfulness-based stress reduction training. Mindfulness has also helped reduce stress, anxiety, and fatigue.
- Quality of life. [Cohen & Miller (2009); Tang et al. (2007)]
More studies have shown that in addition to lowering stress, anxiety, and fatigue, mindfulness training has helped those who practice it to improve their Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and social connectedness to others. Another study showed that mindfulness meditation also reduced overall fatigue and anger in students resulting in a greater attention span and less illness. Altogether, this helps improve one’s quality of life.
To learn more about mindfulness and its proven techniques, check out our course page – The Art and Science of Mindfulness.