When some people hear the word mindfulness, they immediately dismiss it as some esoteric Eastern meditation practice or New Age mumbo jumbo. However, mindfulness is an important ability to work on for coaches – or anyone else.
First, let me clarify what I mean by “mindfulness.” There are multiple views of what mindfulness is and is not, but in the most general sense, we can think of several levels of mindfulness, ranging from a basic level of awareness up through the sharp internal mental focus of a longtime meditator or yoga practitioner. For our purposes here, I am referring to a more open-minded awareness of others and of the environment itself, rather than awareness of one’s own internal processes and thoughts. Internal mindfulness is certainly a great topic, but it’s one for another day.
The following is a guest post from Tom Maher “the Musician’s Coach” who we met at the recent ICF conference. No more introduction needed, this blog post will give you a great sense of the man behind the “heels”!
If you haven’t met me before, let me introduce myself. My name is Tom Maher and I am a professionally trained and certified life coach. I also professionally impersonate Paul Stanley of KISS in KISS Tribute Bands. Some would think this is an unusual combination, but for me, it works.
I was recently asked how I can be authentic as a coach when I spend so much time being someone else, or “inauthentic”. I told them that no matter how much of Paul or Paul’s mannerisms I try to emulate, I always make sure that I am shining through that trademark star.
When managers take the 5/5/5 Coaching Skills Training Program from Coaching Out of the Box® there is often a lively discussion about where the line is between managing and coaching. So I’d like to take a minute here to give you my take on this.
Professional coaches are trained to step away from their own agendas and assumptions in order to coach most effectively. They hold an open space for the people they are coaching to discover their own resourcefulness by supporting and encouraging them to reach deep into their own wisdom and creativity to discover answers and solutions for themselves. Managers usually don’t have this luxury. They have deliverables that must be met and must manage performance to meet them. This almost always means there is an agenda for the manager when they enter into performance conversations. So if this is the case, why should managers even go to the trouble to learn coaching skills?
Recently our core team met in Toronto and sat down to define our overarching vision. We had an amazing time and this exercise reconnected us to the power of coaching and to what we’re most passionate about. Together we agreed on our vision: Every human spirit ignited. Igniting spirits is what got me into coaching so many years ago. Our team is absolutely passionate about mobilizing people and getting them focused on moving forward and making progress.
Life is a wonderful game to be played and not watched from the sidelines. That means we have to be willing to take chances and get in the game or we’ll never know what it feels like to score a goal, sink a three-pointer, or make a touchdown.
OK, enough with the bad sports analogy. Think about it though, as coaches in order to challenge our clients to play a bigger game, we have to be willing to challenge ourselves. So, when was the last time you took a chance? When was the last time you threw caution to the wind and just went for something?