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The Switch

Small Light switch










On the first day of training internal coaches we focus on the cultivation of Mindfulness. The Eastern traditions and teachings of Zen Buddhism are steeped in the ways and practices of Mindfulness that offer coaches a range of ways to prepare for coaching in a way that brings present awareness to the coaching.

One of the early exercises we engage coaches in is to invite coaches to consider the ways in which they empty the mind of clutter and distractions on a daily basis and make what I call the Switch.

The switch is where you make the transition from Busy Mind to Quiet Mind.  It’s the practice of preparing for coaching sessions where the coach consciously reduces as much interference and distractions from the mind which will allow them to be as fully present and available in the session as they can possibly be. For many of the internal coaches we work with this is not an easy task.

Many are working overloaded schedules and timetables. Most never have time for a lunch break to eat properly let alone digest their food and alone slow down. Many wake up and the first thing they do is reach or the mobile or lap tops to check incoming emails before they’ve even had a chance to breathe into the day.

Don’t worry I’ve found myself caught up in this cycle myself and have had to work hard at reprogramming myself constantly to do my meditation first, or to take several deep breaths which I really enjoy doing or going straight to my notebook for a meditative writing practice of Morning pages or free writing.

When I put any of these practices at the front of the day I always enter into the days work differently and in a better frame of mind. I also incorporate the same practices to help me make the switch as I coach individuals throughout the week.

This question of making the switch is an important one for without a conscious cultivation of emptying the mind coaches are in danger of surface level conversations, mediocre use of coaching tools and techniques and poor quality of relationships with coaches.

Making the switch holds many benefits and gains for the coaching process. Switching creates more spaciousness for quality observation. It improves the degrees of attention to non-verbal cues and intuitive intelligence, enables connections to sensory data to be more readily accessible and promotes better quality thinking both creatively and intellectually.

By making the switch an integral part of your own coaching practice you’re best positioned to model this with your coaching clients and share the differences this will make for levels of satisfaction and productivity.

With busy schedules and demands coaches can be creative in finding ways of making that switch that are easy and doable.

One way to begin this practice is by listing what  you could do in a 15 minute period before a coaching session that would help you make the switch from busy mind to quiet mind.

Next write what you will do into your diary. Writing it down does make a difference.

You’re more likely to carry out the switch when you write it down.

Making the Switch practices:

  • Take a walk
  • Write in my journal
  • Take some deep breaths
  • Have lunch
  • Get some fresh air
  • Do some body stretches
  • Read a poem
  • Sit quietly for ten minutes
  • Do some free writing
  • Go for a swim or a run
  • Enjoy a mindful cup of tea
  • Schedule an extra 15 minutes before the start of a coaching session

Use the questions below to start defining your Switch practices:

  • What could you do within a 15-minute window of time that would help you make the switch from Busy Mind to Quiet Mind?
  • What is your experience of your coaching when you make time to consciously switch from busy mind to quiet mind?
  • What are the most common reasons that get in the way of you making the switch?
  • What is the switch practice you most enjoy?
  • What switch practice will you start with?




1 Comment

Categories Coaching | Tags:

1 Comment to The Switch

  1. by Sue Ingram

    On February 16, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    Nice article Jackee!!! Mindfulness is just so valuable – sadly at the times when we most need it (rushed, stressed, overwhelmed) is also the time when it can be most difficult to practice. So to have some practical steps TO DO very useful! Thanks!

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