ICF, Dubai: Couple of years ago, I attended a two-day event organized by International Coach Federation (ICF), Dubai chapter. The keynote speaker on day-1, Janet Harvey, MCC, asked the group ‘how many of us were in the habit of practicing some kind of mindfulness technique’. Of course very few hands went up. Too few considering the hall was filled with coaches, and corporate leaders. It was a big aha moment for me! My own journey shifted from becoming a coach to being a coach.
The other keynote speaker, on day-2 was Dr. Marshall Goldsmith, CEO coach and also author of several books. My personal favorite is his ‘What got you here will not get you there’. The book is a must read for all leaders and a recommended reading in our leadership/coaching/mentoring/healing workshops. The title of the book is applicable to everyone, in every aspect of life, worldly or spiritual. What got you ‘here’ does not guarantee at all ‘will take you there’! Sadly, often we find ourselves clueless about where we want to be. That is ‘there’ for us? What is life purpose? He is someone who has made available all his work on his website for others to use, without any cost or inhibition. That is mindfulness coming from a deep empathy.
What is Mindfulness? One of the dictionary meanings of ‘Mindfulness’ is,
‘A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique’.
First it is a state of mind. Second it is achieved. Present, vis-a-vis past or future, is at the core too. This present, hence also means the gift (present), as my Master often reminds.
Leadership: Mindfulness makes a better leader. Empathy, spirituality, learning, ethics, servant leadership, are all buzzwords in management these days.
Mindful Leadership Summit, Delhi: There were several experts in the space who came and shared their knowledge and experience with us.
What do these mindful leaders do differently that makes them both (not either/or) great and good?
- Awareness is at the core of their being. Being self-aware is key to their state of being.
- Their thought, word and action come from that state of awareness. Every moment, whatever they do, comes with the element of awareness. Just focus, nothing else. It is simple, but very powerful.
- Arising out of awareness, they are able to make conscious choice.
- Multitasking is not their preferred style. Mono-tasking is! There is enough research to prove we better off not multitasking.
- Gadget free time is part of their schedule. They may be carrying the gadget with them. But they mentally switch it off, as the need may be.
- They are conscious of what they eat & drink. Not just physically, but through all their senses. That is as important as what we eat & drink. Journey to ‘Anandamaya kosa’ starts with Annamaya Kosa and Manomaya kosa.
- They meditate. The word means different to every one of us. Just as it differs for a Buddhist monk to a blue-collar job.
- They breathe. If there is one takeaway I would invite reader to consider, it would be this. Breathe. Breathe deep, not shallow. Breathe in rhythm. Breathe with gratitude. Breathe with a smile.
Many friends enquired about my experience at the summit. There were several takeaways. Got to meet some great souls there. Also many fellow-coaches. But not many of them trained/certified or ICF credentialed!!
For me the biggest takeaway was the experience of meditation. Many speakers took us through short sessions of meditation. That was a great reminder too, as I continue to move from ‘becoming’ a coach to ‘Being a Coach’.