There is often a degree of confusion around what Mindfulness is, with definitions often glancing towards meditation or absolute stillness. Whilst both of these can be ways to achieve mindfulness, in fact, it is simply the deliberate act of attention, awareness and presence in the moment.
It is a practice that enriches our lived experience as we tune in and notice every day activities which most of us typically take for granted.
Mindfulness in coaching encourages the client to become present to their experience, both in the coaching and in their life. It becomes a tool for bringing the client into the present moment and for helping them to become more fully aware of the present.
We understand the potential benefits of the inclusion of mindfulness techniques in coaching, and so we created the CPD in Mindfulness for Coaching, an accredited two-day programme designed to aid coaches in their understanding of mindfulness and how it can be incorporated not only into their coaching practices but also their own lives.
Animas trainer Emily Johnston, who also trains the Diploma in Transformational Coaching, delivered our most recent Mindfulness for Coaching weekend at Regent's University at the beginning of the month, a sold out event which saw twenty-five coaches at different points of their coaching journey, come together to expand their knowledge of mindfulness and how it might improve their coaching practice.
I caught up with, Animas alumni and founder of NEST Coaching, Maggie Campbell who shared her experience of the two-day course, including how it will benefit her practice and the key takeaways from the weekend...
I have never participated in a structured mindfulness course before, despite having always wanted to enrol on one. I had looked at various courses and diplomas in the past and was aware that there were many options available, some better than others, but I had not found one that seemed to fit with what I needed. One that really jumped out at me. I knew I was looking for something that I could trust from the outset, and so as soon as I heard about the Animas Mindfulness for Coaching accreditation weekend I didn't hesitate to sign up. My recent experiences with Animas have been amazing and a combination of knowing the course facilitator Emily's approach and the Regent's University venue swung my decision. There is also added value in that the course has recognised accreditation.
My working life has predominantly been spent within varying health services and part of my daily ritual after work was to practice meditation, so that I could pay attention to the present and work with the feelings and emotions that arose out of the day's activities. During my years as a midwife I helped women to become more mindful of their bodies and babies so they could pay attention to what was happening and what they were thinking and feeling during their pregnancies. I adopted mindful practices in the birthing room, so women felt empowered to 'sit' in the present, work with what was happening in the moment with an intention to reduce the anticipation and fear around childbirth.
Having adopted this mindfulness approach, I witnessed women using less pain relief, a reduced number of medical interventions, calmer births with better outcomes and increased levels of satisfaction. The women also appeared to be more attuned with their babies. As a result of seeing this first hand, I was keen to build upon my understanding and use mindfulness within my current coaching practice.
I wanted additional skills and resources to tap into which would naturally compliment my offerings around life, health and wellness, parenting, career and performance coaching. Managing anxiety and stress is common place within all areas I practice. I also believe individuals and companies alike are seeking ways in which to obtain work life balance, increase 'happiness, productivity and performance. Mindfulness is a great tool to help rebalance energies towards these positive outcomes.
On the first day of the weekend I arrived with eager anticipation and was not disappointed. Emily provides a no nonsense, simple but structured approach to her delivery. She is personable and engaging, offering insight, a wealth of experience, her reflections and observations as well as a light touch of humour. The participants came from various backgrounds and were at different stages of their coaching journey, some were qualified while others were still in training, and it seemed that the majority had previous experiences with Animas or with mindfulness training and practices.
I was fascinated to see how we all made connections very quickly within the group and how relaxed, supportive and open everyone was towards each other. Each person had something to contribute and it was interesting to hear more about their differing experiences, including how some individuals were already coaching alongside other forms of practice including mindfulness.
The weekend was introduced by exploring the origins of mindfulness and the differences between mindfulness meditation and practice, through a combination of practical and theoretical elements. Throughout the weekend we were given the opportunity to examine, question and discuss the various elements within mindfulness practice and meditation. This gave us all the opportunity to discover how we could apply mindfulness to situations that arise in our own lives as well as within our practice. We had plenty of time for mindfulness practice as well as the much-needed bonding and sharing of experiences. I found myself learning much more about the elements of mindfulness which will continue to remind me how to best structure my practice as I move forward on my coaching journey.
I came away with a deeper understanding of mindfulness, its applications and how it complements many forms of practice. I was reminded that I missed my daily meditation and how important it is for me to put this back into my life. I also came away with the intention to use mindfulness meditation to prepare myself before or in between clients. After the weekend I am inspired to go even deeper and learn more.
As for the training venue itself, it offered multiple spaces and weather permitting the wonderful grounds or the park opposite. All in all, we were provided with the opportunity to practice mindfulness in a variety of settings. There are excellent transport links nearby which makes access easy for those travelling locally or from further afield.
I started out looking for something to add to the practices that I had followed in the past. The course provided me with this and so much more, and I will continue to pursue this new avenue of inspired learning. I made some valuable connections and no doubt we will keep in touch, offering support and friendship on one another's coaching journeys. I would thoroughly recommend the weekend to anyone that wants to learn more about mindfulness and incorporating it into their life or practice, or for those that are looking to further expand their coaching skill set. It was a great experience which taught me much that I will take with me as I move my coaching practice forward.
The next Animas CPD in Mindfulness for Coaching is sold out, however if you would like to register your interest for the next available course, or would like to be notified should a space become available then please do register your interest here!