A recent Harvard Business Review article affirms what we’ve known for years – mindfulness based executive coaching can help leaders to identify and overcome limiting beliefs, behaviors and interpersonal difficulties. Furthermore, mindfulness based executive coaching can help leaders develop a new set of skills, including the capacity to think strategically and motivate others.
Mindfulness meditation when offered in the workplace is generally not tied to specific leadership development challenges. Instead, it is currently employed by executives and high performing professionals to manage stress, maintain focus, enhance emotional intelligence and improve interpersonal relationships. While empirical research confirms these benefits, combining mindfulness with executive coaching’s strategic skill set development focus – to better manage direct reports, communicate more effectively, develop sound tactical plans and implement action plans for success – could vigorously bolster the development of vibrant leaders. Ultimately, the two processes can powerfully reinforce each other and promote enhanced quality of life, work performance and leadership capacity. To be effective, the executive coach must be grounded in mindfulness training or partner with a mindfulness specialist. In the latter situation, both coach and specialist must be willing to collaborate and maintain a healthy, on-going dialogue about the client’s goals and progress in order to be mutually enforcing.
Here’s an example of the process with one of my clients. I’d been coaching Randy, a successful executive in the architect and design industry, who had recently started his own company. After some initial success, he lost several large bids that he felt would parlay him to longer-term recognition and profitability, which caused a spike in stress, anxiety and an obsession with failure. I worked with him to reframe his mindset from one of focusing on problems and roadblocks to a focus on other exciting opportunities and evolving the business model proactively. During meditation and yoga, Randy discovered that he had concerns about his team structure and their work schedule. This helped to inform and deepen the executive coaching and we were able to clarify expectations and ultimately improve work flow with his team, helping prepare the entire group for greater future success. He also implemented the “three things” exercise nightly, which over time, promoted a sense of confidence and self-control, teaching him to look for “good” (opportunities to grow and succeed) verses “bad” (fear around derailing problems and deficiencies). This collective approach, which integrated mindfulness, positive psychology and executive coaching led Randy to a renewed focus and energized approach to business. Today, he has a thriving business with a maturing business model.
As we see with other executives and professionals, meditation helped Randy achieve a state of being where he could think clearly about work related stressors and goals. Then coaching helped him leverage the positive mindset into action. Combined, strategic mindfulness and executive coaching help clients become more self-aware, grounded and effective leaders. Can mindfulness based executive coaching help you achieve results? Our experience along with mounting research suggests that this coordinated approach is both rewarding and powerful. Contact The Workplace Coach to discuss how we can fast track your leadership development.
Brendel, D., and E. R. Stammel (2016). How Mindfulness Improves Executive Coaching In Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2016/01/how-mindfulness-improves-executive-coaching
Parsons, M. (2016). “Positive Psychology Coaching and Its Impact on Midlife Executives.” International Journal of Education and Social Science, Vol 3., No. 5.