In recent years, the concept of mindfulness has become much more mainstream, particularly as a tool for supporting mental health. Whether you’re eating or walking, you focus on what you’re doing. You’re aware of the senses involved and fully keyed in on the process. You are present and noticing what is happening around you.
The role of mindfulness is becoming more important than ever before. Both personally and professionally, we have a lot of distractions that take our attention away from what we’re doing at the moment. Especially as leaders, it can be very easy to be preoccupied, we have so many demands on our time and a growing number of people who want a piece of us. It’s commonplace to end up overstretched.
However, you shouldn’t ignore this challenge. This situation has a directly negative impact on relationships in the workplace. When team members or employees approach us, we’re not actively listening, we’re distracted by emails or we’re late for a meeting. We aren’t being mindful about our relationships with other members of our team, and we aren’t listening or focusing on creating a positive impact as a leader. Without doing that, it’s impossible to be truly authentic, and build trust in our ability to lead.
The impact of coaching on mindful leadership
Today, there is more recognition than ever before that the way that leadership has been done in the past is no longer working. Traditional leadership styles use a ‘command and control hierarchy.’ The way that the younger workforce wants and expects to work and be treated, means that the old-school approaches don’t work. People are more connected to their feelings and relationships both at work and at home.
Mindfulness is a big part of bridging that gap. If you’ve experienced leaders that are active in listening and building positive relationships, then you’ve seen the powerful effect. You inevitably build a better connection and trust them more, and in turn, you’re more likely to want to deliver well for them and see them succeed.
A big part of mindfulness is self-reflection in leadership. If you aren’t aware of your stress levels, what’s working and not working in your own life, then you aren’t able to lead your teams effectively. Self-reflection allows you to think about what’s gone well, the impact of certain conversations, and what you would change if given the same situation again in the future. Getting into the habit of self-reflection allows you to be more present with your team. You start connecting to them with intuition and compassion, not only for the team but compassion for yourself. Reflecting allows you to understand how you’re doing as a leader.
Coaching offers a mindful approach that encourages the individual to reflect.
Practical tips for self-reflection and mindfulness in leadership
The truth is, these skills don’t have to take up a lot of your time. Mindfulness is noticing what’s happening, allowing yourself to stop and think, ‘how am I feeling right now?’ Being present for active conversations and really listen.
If you feel like you could benefit from more self-reflection, here are some practical tips to make it happen:
Make it a habit: Carve out a small amount of time, once a week for half an hour, or daily for five minutes on your way home. Reflect on the time that’s passed and how it’s gone. What are you proud of? What could you have done better? Remember to focus on the positives.
Encourage a mindful moment: Establish ways to jog your memory. This could be by association with an activity or even a post-it note on your computer screen that says “How am I doing? What am I feeling?”
Deep breathing or meditation: Meditation is not about silencing your thoughts but noticing these thoughts and how they are serving you and establishing better connections with your intuition. This can help you when you’re feeling overwhelmed by the demands of the day.
Coaching can be a fantastic way to make mindful leadership commonplace and habitual. This can help you to enjoy every moment, to stop fretting about the past or being anxious about the future, and instead – to truly live in the moment to support both you and your teams.
If you’d like to find out more about self-reflection and mindful leadership and how I work with my clients, get in touch on 07980 838945 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll be in touch with you thereafter.