According to the Mayo clinic, COVID-19 has created increased stress levels in how you live your life, different daily routines, financial pressure, and social isolation. Even before the COVID-19 outbreak, The American Institute of Stress reported in 2017 that 77% of the U.S. population reported regularly experiencing physical symptoms caused by stress. In order to minimize stress and anxiety, mindfulness is being taught and practiced in organizations worldwide to increase productivity and overall effectiveness. Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founding director of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Centre for Mindfulness in Medicine, defines mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” Organizational Development specialists conclude from the research with leaders worldwide that mindfulness can improve mental awareness and focus, increase attention span, assist in keeping organized, managing time and setting priorities, improve mood and emotional stability, and toughen the immune system. Since there are many benefits to practicing mindfulness, how could the practice of mindful coaching benefit both the leader and the client?
Studies show that mindful leaders bring greater understanding for change, are resilient, and bring wisdom into their work. When leaders are not on “autopilot,” they can reduce stress, unlock creativity, and boost performance. Leaders bringing mindfulness into their coaching are fully present, engage with their clients at an intimate level, and find the interactions “energy-boosting.” The more encouragement that leaders can offer when coaching, to foster curiosity in the client, the greater the ability of teams and organizations to create possibilities and vision for the future.
With COVID-19, businesses are plagued with decisions on how to compete and address ways to stay in business or adapt to a new way of doing business. How can leaders seize opportunities? How can they know that they are making the right decisions? How can leaders choose when to lead and when to follow industry trends? Now is the time to focus on building human centric organizations that deliberately develop their workers. Through coaching, leaders can cultivate the capabilities of their teams and build a culture that realizes both human and organizational potential.
In order to be prepared for work that will require a new set of skills, Passmore and Marianetti (2007) in the article The Role of Mindfulness in Coaching, concluded that leaders trained in mindfulness are better prepared to coach. Through the practice of mindful coaching, clients can be taught mindfulness. Thus, mindful coaching can build a resilient workforce and organization prepared to deal with change in this volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) environment.