Coaching and Meditation
Daniel Goleman post on the importance of presence and awareness at work, in order not to be carried away by distractions (http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20131006135154-117825785-mindfulness-when-focus-means-single-tasking) inspired me to write and share a few considerations about the relationship between Coaching and Eastern philosophies, those who promote the search for inner balance, increased awareness, self discovery.
Today I want to talk about Coaching and Meditation. Since the day I started practicing Coaching tools and competencies, I have noted many similarities with what I have studied and experienced in over thirty years of different meditation practices. The first thing that one is taught when starting to meditate is not to follow your thoughts and remain focused on your breath or an outside object. It sounds an easy task until you try to do it, actually “not” do it. At that point you discover how your mind is a non-stop “thoughts creator”, just like a mountain stream which lets its water flow in a never ending joyful play of sounds, colors, reflections.
Progressing through meditation we realize that not only there is a continuous production of thoughts, but that our mind, while creating them tries to hold them, judging, getting attached or rejecting them. More thoughts are then created on top of those, thus generating different emotions, ranging from desire to rage, refusal, jealousy and so on.
Many years ago, after having heard for the first time the teachings of a famous Tibetan master, I had that same night a very lively dream of an unidentified person who was trying to strangle me. That sensation was so strong that I woke up scared and worried. The next day I asked an audience to the Lama to tell him about my dream, my fears and how to deal with them. The Lama then just told me these words: “Don’t accept, don’t reject, just be aware”, moving me away from the worry to analyze the content of my dream or the terror that it had generated. There was nothing to accept, therefore getting attached to, elaborate, complicate, nor there was anything to reject, therefore negate, dismiss, fight. I only needed to remain aware, conscious of what was happening without judging it. Years later I realized how those simple words were the basis of the correct attitude needed to evolve along the path of awareness.
With Coaching, the Coach attitude when he listens to the words of his partner should be exactly the same: non judgmental, not developing positive (acceptance) or negative (rejection) attachment to what the partner is saying or the Coach mind is trying to suggest. The Coach should listen, without following nor dismissing, his own thoughts and the partner’s reasoning with presence and awareness to help him discover what lies inside his words.