Our clients ask how mindfulness fits into coaching at Real Wisdom. We also are asked how coaching works. In this brief blog we look at answering both questions.
Mindfulness is a core competence employed by Real Wisdom in its coaching programs. We define mindfulness as the practice of focusing our attention on what is actually happening inside us (our thoughts, feelings and sensations) and around us, in the present moment, with clarity and without judgment. Another way of saying this is simply becoming aware of what is real and true.
In professional coaching we start out with our client checking or defining what they wish to achieve, today, or as an outcome of a longer coaching program. Then we invite ourselves into a reality check: ‘where am I starting from, now? what do I know about this?’ Without mindfulness, this typically leads to a superficial answer at best, and more often a set of beliefs and stories we are holding on to. At this point we look at what is really happening. For this we need to learn how to know the difference between ‘my truth’ and ‘the truth’, or reality. For example, ‘it is warm today’, is a judgement and an opinion, through the senses of the person who utters these words. To another person it may feel cold. What is true?
The above example seems innocent enough. Lets look at another example: a client comes in saying, with conviction and energetic belief ‘I have failed in my life, what a waste this has been, everybody hates me…’. This too is a judgement, an opinion. It is a perspective, almost like looking through virtual reality glasses. A few coaching sessions later, this same client not just sees, but is grateful for the challenge they were going through when these words were uttered, because it gave them the impetus and energy to make changes in their decisions, actions, and how they speak to themselves (their thinking). What happened?
Through mindful observation, we begin to uncover the workings of our own minds – we become more aware of the judgments, the habits and beliefs – the filters that affect our perceptions, decisions and ultimately our behavior. From this place of clarity, instead of impulsively reacting, or acting from habits or long-held beliefs, we are able to respond from a place of full awareness of what is real, and what will best serve us, with strength, conviction and compassion. This feels like true wisdom.
Mindfulness has become a bit of a ‘buzz word’. It is being used in many different ways by different people. We have no intention to add to this. Rather, we know from experience – our client’s experience – just how fundamentally powerful and essential practices of mindfulness are, as as foundation for human insight, development and fulfillment, which is what our clients seek and value. In addition, mindfulness practice builds personal resilience, which is the true opposite and antidote to stress in our complex world.
Therefore we embrace mindfulness practice. We take it seriously enough to ensure that all our coaches are trained and practiced in applying integral coaching and mindfulness, both to the benefit of our clients and in our private lives.
How does this sound for you? What in your life comes to mind? Please share your own experiences…
And feel free to contact us with more specific or personal challenges.
Lydia and Torsten.