There is much discussion in coaching, at the moment, about mindfulness. Fiona Adamson, who helped to establish CSA and currently supervises some of our students, writes the superb piece below. It sets out clearly, the benefits of a mindfulness approach in coaching. Although it is written for coach supervisors, it applies just as well to the coaching process. I hope that you enjoy it!
From “Supervision as Transformation’ Ed R Shohet Chapter 5.
“Mindfulness and its contribution to transformational learning
Mindfulness is pre-reflexive in that it describes a way of thinking about and attending to a supervision conversation. The kind of mindset that this engenders is a meta skill that can be learnt and that can create a space within which to reflect on thinking as well as feeling. It generates an atmosphere in which we can explore our awareness of mental models, of assumptive worlds and of feeling states.
Langer, (The Power of Mindful Learning 1997) describes five components of mindfulness as:
- Openness to novelty
- Alertness to distinction
- Sensitivity to differing contexts
- Implicit awareness of multiple perspectives
- An orientation to the present.
In my experience, these components all support the development of conditions that facilitate reflexivity in the spirit of appreciation of what is happening in the present moment. Mindfulness supports us to hold the intention to attend to hr moment-by-moment experience of the supervision conversation with compassion and curiosity and with suspension of judgement.
A mindfulness approach is by definition a process that appears to slow time down and create a spaciousness within which trust can develop and consciousness can expand. In supervision, we take time out from the business of our coaching and enter a different place between us, a liminal space, a space of contemplation and of enquiry as a prelude to taking away a fresh perspective that can lead to new kinds of action. Coaches become witnesses to their own and their client’s process and learn to do so with out judgment. They are enabled to bring to their clients the perspective that comes from their intelligent heart, When critical incidents occur, as they do, coaches can turn their attention inwards and access a place of calm and acceptance of what is happening, without the need to change what is being experienced. A mindfulness approach in supervision enables them to reflect from a place where their confidence can be restored and they can learn from the experience.” Fiona Adamson.
Edna Murdoch 2011