Mindfulness in coaching for
educators & pupils
LIZ HALL, MINDFULNESS
PRACTITIONER/TRAINER; COACH
& EDITOR OF COACHING AT
WORK
Confessions of a closet meditator!
• Many years meditating on and off but
turning point when first daughter was born
• Coaching/business/journalism VERSUS
mindfulness: never the twain shall meet
• Until dawned on me….natural bedfellows!
The mindfulness revolution
Mindfulness goes mainstream
Healthcare: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction
programmes for stress reduction, coping with pain etc;
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy programmes for
depression
Workplace: more employers introducing mindfulness
including Google, GlaxoSmithkline and the US Army
Politics: eg Ohio congressman Tim Ryan championing
mindfulness
Education: In the UK- Mindfulness in Schools Project and
in the US- Association for Mindfulness in Education:
mindful programmes in schools in California, Colorado,
Florida, Ohio, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey,
Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont and
Virginia
Barbie’s meditating too!
Rediscovering contemplation
• Dominance in the West of emphasis on logic, speed, efficiency,
productivity (Industrial Revolution etc)
• Too much doing, not enough being or non-doing
• Race to keep with increasing amounts of information
• Contemplation sidelined…..but not just about the sensory and the
rational
• Rising levels of stress & depression
• Seeking a new way of being
• Complexity
Mindfulness is….
• ‘Intentional awareness: paying attention in a particular
way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally’ Jon Kabat-Zinn
• Training our minds to:
attend to the ‘here and now’
be enquiring & curious
focused
less judgemental
compassionate
• Not just about the mind! Mind-body-heart-fullness
A taste of mindfulness
The raisin meditation
What has mindfulness got to do
with coaching?
DISCUSS IN PAIRS
Qualities/values in common
Observer’s mind
Beginner’s mind
Curiosity
Contemplation
Reflection
Non-judgement
Presence
Trust
Respect
Integrity
Empathy
Compassion
Spaciousness
Opening
Co-creation
Creativity
Intuition
Clarity
Focus
Wisdom
Awareness of self/others/world at large
Holistic- working with the body, heart and mind
Person is whole
Self actualisation
Aims/outcomes in common
‘Time out’
Training & transforming the mind
Fostering learning & growth
Helping people fulfil their potential
Self-responsibility
Awareness of self, others and world at large
Empathy
Clarity
Tapping into innate wisdom
Paying more attention/ heightened attentiveness to what and who is around
Self regulation, management and flexibility of responses
Getting in touch with non-knowing
Opening up possibilities and choices
Problem-solving
Creativity
Presence
Attunement
Compassion
Self actualisation
Compassion
• Our species evolved to thrive on kindness and
compassion
• Core underpinning of coaching
• Coaching with compassion arouses positive
emotion system (reassurance, safety, calm,
love) in us and client….more attuned; better
coaching outcomes, more receptive to learning
(Boyatzis et al, 2010)
• Mindfulness helps develop ‘compassion muscle’
(Davidson & Lutz)
Mindfulness in Coaching study:
some preliminary findings
Regular mindfulness practice (3x a week +) 59%
WHY DO COACHES PRACTICE MINDFULNESS?
To help them live more in the moment
74%
To become more self-aware
73%
Manage/prevent stress
67%
To be more present for their client
65%
Source: Mindfulness in Coaching survey
(Hall, 2012)
Benefits for us as coach
• Helps us be more present with our clientmore ‘there’ for them
• Helps us be more emotionally intelligent
and self aware, so we can pick up more
useful data from ourselves and the client
• Helps us be more resilient
• Helps us be more creative, more open to
possibilities
SOME REASONS WHY COACHES
USE MINDFULNESS WITH
CLIENTS: TO HELP THEM…….
become more self-aware
be calmer/less anxious
manage stress
be more centred
manage reactions/responses
improve their wellbeing
live more in the moment
70%
59%
55%
55%
51%
46%
43%
Source: Mindfulness in Coaching survey (Hall,
2012)
Seated Body Scan
Stress
Mindfulness helps us/our clients:
• Strengthen ‘approach’ pathways
• Activates parasympathetic nervous system
• Get away from tunnel vision
• Avoid over-planning/ruminating….depression etc
• Be more choice-ful re when to switch into
fight/flight/freeze mode
‘I have learned to smile again and to laugh about life’
(participant in Transport for London mindfulness-based
stress reduction programme)
Mindfulness, coaching & education
“Mindfulness is a foundation for education; mindfulness
provides the optimal conditions for learning and teaching
and also supports all pedagogical approaches”
Association for Mindfulness in Education
“If we knew that particular and readily available activities
would increase concentration, learning, wellbeing, and
social and emotional growth and catalyze transformative
learning, we would be cheating our students to exclude
it.”
Tobin Hart (2004) , State University of West Georgia,
“Opening the Contemplative Mind in the Classroom”,
Journal of Transformative Education (Vol 2, Issue 1)
Benefits for the teacher client
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Mindfulness helps teachers….
manage stress levels
be more resilient
self manage (emotional intelligence)
manage conflict
be more focused
be more creative
Build relationships
Be more compassionate
enhance their presence
In their words (teachers)
“The coaching has freed me up to have more genuine interactions with
the children. Through doing some of the exercises such as checking
in with myself for three minutes regularly (The three minute
breathing space) and doing regular meditation even if it’s just a few
minutes, I have become much more aware of what sets me off.
I have used the checking in exercise lots before meetings, particularly
with the head, which has probably stopped me having a heart
attack!”
“I have stopped telling myself I am failing and that the kids are making
me fail by being naughty. The weird thing is that although I am
spending more time doing things like the meditation, I actually feel
like I have more time. I feel much calmer generally now and more
able to see the bigger picture. Before I was trying to put out lots of
little fires and ended up having no time to sit and do things with the
pupils. I was being over-vigilant and the idea that I was failing was
very restrictive and anti-productive because my whole focus was on
stopping people, including the children, making me fail.”
“I find I am being much more creative with my lesson plans.”
Benefits for the pupil
• Helps build self belief
• Helps them reduce stress levels/be more resilient
• Helps them focus/improves memory & concentration &
speed of information processing
• More creative
• More effective performance in a broad range of domains
from sports and academic test taking to creativity
Improves sleeping
• Improves communication
• Improved empathy
• Distance between them & emotions..helps them manage
anger etc
e.g., Murphy, Donovan, & Taylor,1997; Arguelles, McCraty,
& Rees, 2003 ; So & Orme-Johnson, 2001
In their words (pupils)
Marcus (13) "Mindfulness has helped me reduce
headaches, concentrate before exams and perform in
football.”
Molly (13) "Beditation really helps me sleep and makes
me calm in everyday life."
James (14) "It helps relieve any anxiety for exams,
auditions etc.“
Maya (6) "Mindfulness has helped me to concentrate
easily.”
Parent: "There is no doubt in my mind that Simon (8) he
has benefited greatly from the sessions. He is beginning
to appreciate for the first time ever the separation
between himself and his emotions and is starting - also
for the first time - to be able to observe himself starting
to react. This is no mean feat for a boy who is typically a
bundle of energy and reaction most of the time!"
.b programme
• Mindfulness in Schools Project
• 8 week programme
• MBSR /MBCT adapted for kids (FOFBOC,
Beditation, chocolate mindful eating)
• Building body of evidence: careful re who
teaches it
1
Direct Attention
4
Be here now
7
2 Turn towards calm
3 Deal with worry
5 Move mindfully
Befriend the
difficult
8
Where now?
6
Step back
Mindful movement
How mindfulness changes the brain
30-40 scientific papers a month, tipping point effectiveness.
we can learn new tricks: we can rewire our brains and form new neural pathways
A little goes a long way: Work by people like Professor Richard J Davidson (2011), laboratory director
at the Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience, University of Wisconsin-Madison. shows meditating
and practising mindfulness shapes our brains QUICKLY!. In one study, people who took part in an
eight week MBSR programme showed increased activity in brain regions including those
associated with learning and memory processes, emotion regulation and perspective-taking
(Hölzel et al, 2011)
Increases grey-matter concentration in brain regions
involved in learning and memory processes, emotion
regulation, self-referential processing and perspectivetaking (Hölzel BK, Carmody J, Vangel M, et al, 2011)
Reduces cortical thinning due to ageing in prefrontal
regions strengthened by meditation (Lazar et al, 2008)
Reduces cortical thinning due to ageing in prefrontal
regions strengthened by meditation (Lazar et al, 2008)
Improves psychological function of attention ( Carter, OL et
al, 2005; Tang, Y et al, 2007)
Enhances psychological function of compassion (Lutz,
Brefczynski-Lewis et al , 2008)
Improves psychological function of empathy (Lazar et al,
2005)
Increases activity in left-frontal regions associated with
lifting mood (Davidson, 2004)
Increases power and reach of fast, gamma-range
brainwaves in long-term meditators (Lutz et al, 2004),
showing increased numbers of neurons firing together
How mindfulness impacts the
body
Decreases cortisol (Tang et al, 2007)
Helps activate the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). The PNS is
designed to work in tandem with the SNS, acting as an antidote and
allowing us to recharge. When our PNS is activated, our
hippocampus is aroused, helping with our memory and learning
capacity. We are more likely to feel joyful, positive and optimistic.
Neurotransmitters including endorphins are produced, which
increase wellbeing.
Boosts the immune system (Davidson et al, 2003, Tang et al, 2007)
Improves medical conditions including type II diabetes; cardiovascular
disease; asthma; premenstrual syndrome and chronic pain (Walsh
and Shapiro, 2006)
Improves psychological conditions such as anxiety; insomnia; phobias
and eating disorders (Walsh and Shapiro, 2006)
Mindfulness boosts resilience,
health & wellbeing by helping us…
Develop our attentional control (linked to resilience) (eg.
Marchant, 2012, cited in Mental Toughness)
Be more attuned to others (linked to resilience) (eg. Siegel, 2010)
Regulate emotions (eg. Boyatzis, 2012)
Generate positive emotions (helps us manage stress etc & may
counter negative affective processes implicated in depression,
anxiety, and schizophrenia (Frederickson et al, 2010)
Reframe/reappraise positively (associated with positive health
outcomes (eg. Carver et al, 1993)
Be less stressed (activates parasympathetic nervous system;
decreases cortisol (Tang et al. 2007) Boosts the immune
system (Davidson et al, 2003)
Improves medical & psychological conditions including type II
diabetes; cardiovascular disea e; asthma; anxiety; insomnia;
phobias and eating disorders (Walsh and Shapiro 2006)
Mindfulness enhances creativity by
helping us…
Be more curious and open to possibility
Suspend judgement/evaluation
Get ourselves out of the way
Be more choice-ful about what and who we listen to
Not see things as mistakes; just enjoying the process in
the present moment
• Be more authentic (more in touch with values)
• Be more relaxed/approach oriented (associated with
creativity) eg. Mice and cheese study, Friedman and
Forster (2001)
• Create spaciousness in our lives for creativity
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PRACTICE
Three Minute Breathing space
Awareness: ‘general weather check’: thoughts, feelings, bodily
sensations
Gathering: focusing on the in- and out-breaths
Expanding: attending to wider bodily experience & environment
How might you use mindfulness in
your work?
DISCUSS IN PAIRS & SHARE IN PLENARY
To be or to do, that’s the question
There is a potential tension between
being/doing; present/future; nonstriving/striving in mindfulness
versus coaching : DISCUSS
Being Vs/and doing
But what if I stop doing things?
What/who will I find if I just stop?
MU SURVEY
• Some of you hadn’t thought about this before
• 5%: potential tension between different foci
• 3%: mindfulness incompatible with future/doing
focus of coaching
• 47%: mindfulness acts as a welcome antidote to an
over-emphasis on doing in our present culture’
• 51% Mindfulness helps us achieve goals anyway
(Mindfulness in Coaching survey, Hall, 2012)
What about goal attainment?
Spence GB, Cavanagh MJ and Grant AM (2008)
study: mindfulness training combined with
coaching helps clients attain their health-related
goals, particularly if clients receive mindfulness
training first, (“The integration of mindfulness
training and health coaching: An exploratory
study”, Coaching: An International Journal of
Theory, Research and Practice, 1 (2), 1-19).
Mindfulness helped clients resist the temptation
to sabotage their progress toward goals.
“Non-doing can arise within action as well as in
stillness…Non-doing simply means letting things
be and allowing them to unfold in their own
way. Enormous effort can be involved, but it is a
graceful, knowledgeable, effortless effort, a
“dooerless doing”, cultivated over a lifetime”
Kabat-Zinn (1994)
THE MINDFUL MINUTE
‘I haven't got time to meditate!’
How many breaths in your minute?
Your reflections
Write down any reflections/key
messages/actions you are taking away
DISCUSSION & QUESTIONS
?
Yesterday is history
Tomorrow is a mystery
But today is a gift
That’s why it’s called the present
Resources
Mindfulness in Schools Project: http://mindfulnessinschools.org/
Association for Mindfulness in Education:
http://www.mindfuleducation.org/
Mindfulness: a practical guide for finding peace in a frantic world by
Mark Williams and Danny Penman
Wherever you go, there you are by Jon Kabat-Zinn
Full catastrophe living by Jon Kabat-Zinn
The Mindful workplace by Michael Chaskalson
The miracle of mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh
The Blissful Brain: Neuroscience and Proof of the Power of Meditation
by Shanida Nataraja
Buddha’s Brain by Rick Hanson
Mindsight by Daniel Siegel
My book! Mindful coaching: how mindfulness can transform coaching
practice (Kogan Page, April 2013)
Liz Hall
Editor/co-owner of Coaching at Work
www.coaching-at-work.com
[email protected]
Author of Mindful Coaching (Kogan Page),
to be published in April 2013
Coach & mindfulness trainer
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Mindfulness - The KU Center for Research on Learning