Supporting acceptance, creating change!
Being mindful means being aware of what goes on in the here and now. As coaches we work with our clients to look at what stops action, what prevents from making changing and we help to create a positive, action focussed setting. So the client feels supported and inspired to make the changes that needs to made. We are focussed on the action, focussed on the goals, focussed on the future. Which has proven to be extremely helpful.
However, there is a practice that might not have been as much used –yet-, but has proven to be very beneficial: mindfulness. As coaching has a lot of similarities with CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and as there is more research being done on CBT than on coaching, I refer to an article that is based on CBT, but to me, is equally valid for coaching.
Mindfulness! Simply observing what goes on, is a great tool. Especially when it comes to difficult behaviour, or patterns that we find hard to accept. In mindulfness coaching we stay with our client and help them to stop critical thoughts, stop judgment, and just let it be. This has proven to be a very effective way to work with difficulties, rather than pressuring to change or denying their validity.
It makes sense. Once you are accepting, you can relax. When you relax, there is space for movement, healing and change.
Meditation and relaxation are the tools to reach a state of peace within the NOW, an acceptance of what is, which offers a good starting point to work from.
A case study: a lady with an eating disorder was continuously beating herself up: a good day, a bad day, more bad days, more anxiety and anger, and a continuous tense fight to force the good days to happen. She started to work with her personal meditation tapes containing affirmations, such as: ‘It is okay to not be in control today. It is okay to let it go for today. I am loving towards myself, even if today is not a good day.’
Once she was more relaxed about her eating, she was able to be gentle with herself and bit by bit change her habits. As we all know, change is usually 2 steps forward, 1 step back and sometimes even 2 steps back. But with perseverance, love and acceptance this lady managed to change her eating behaviour, and became much more loving of herself.
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