Meditation as part of Coaching

There is much research evidence pointing in the direction of meditation and the word on the street at the moment is mindfulness also a form of meditation. The benefits of meditation are many including stress management, anger management, creativity, productivity, calmness, clear thinking, relaxation, lower blood pressure, anxiety relief and reduced risk of heart disease to name a few.

I could go on and on being a convert myself; I have gone from thinking that meditation is a hippy, cult or religious practice to meditating twice a day for twenty minutes. To the extent of gaining such value from this practice that I am now teaching meditation to others as part of my coaching practice. What made this shift for me was working with my coaching clients and uncovering their levels of stress and not knowing how to deal with this.

  • 44% of us suffer from stress.
  • Stress & anxiety are the two major conditions for sick leave in Britain today.
  • The cost to the British economy is in the region of £6 billion on sick leave alone.

Yes you might be thinking that stress is good and that you do your best work when you are under pressure and in stressful situations. However the stress that I have described above is not that short time stress that gives you the short-term adrenaline rush to perform. I am talking about long-term stress that prevents us from thinking straight. This stress leads to irrational thinking, poor decision making, poor judgement, increase in blood pressure etc.

Further facts about stress – our bodies are designed to respond to threating or dangerous situations by having a fight or flight response. In this situation stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline are released as well as glucose and fats for an increase in energy. There are changes in the functioning of the whole body as blood pressure rises and muscles tense up resulting in a heighted emotional response.

How can meditation help?

Research has found that when we meditate we go into a ‘restructuring state’ – deep rest opposite of the fight or flight state (Meditationtrust.com). Furthermore, physiological indices of stress are found to be lower in meditators in comparison to non-meditators (DW Orme-Johnson, 1973). In 2010 a study conducted by Lazar et al in which the researchers scanned the brains of volunteers before and after meditation. The results suggested that changes occurred in two areas of the brain the hippocamus (memory) that had grown and in the amygdala (brains response to stress) that had shrunk.

In my coaching practice 80% of my clients who have come to be coached for professional reasons such as career development, confidence and work performance have had an issue of stress. I have found that by incorporating just 15 minutes of meditation into their daily routine has made a significant difference to them.

For more information log on to www.avidcoaching.co.uk

Men & Work/Life Balance

A recent research study conducted by Shockley, K. 2017 found that men feel work affects their family life and vise versa in a similar way to that felt by women. The difference is that women tend to talk more openly about this issue in comparison to men who do not feel comfortable discussing family and work concerns. They have a fear that if they do talk openly about this issue it may threaten their masculinity, have negative career repercussions and they may be stigmatised. However, when asked anonymously in confidential surveys men are more open, which is how Shockley did her research.

One difference noted by the study was that women tend to feel more guilt about the affect work has on family life in comparison to men. This could be due to traditional gender role expectations of men and women with women being known as caretakers and men as breadwinners. However Shockley points out that more research is needed in this area before any conclusions can be made.

Another study conducted by the Pew Research Center found that fathers were just as likely as mothers to say that parenting is extremely important to their identity. A key finding that has been drawn from the study and expressed by Shockley is the concern for men who are struggling silently with the conflict between work and family.

My question is what happens now as more and more men are becoming primary caregivers and are spending more time doing household chores and taking on parenting responsibilities. Now that we are aware of this issue is anything going to change? Are men going to open up about how work is taking time away from their family or are they going to express how their role within the family is affecting their performance at work?

I suspect that many of you will agree with me when I say that nothing much will change a few men may read this article and be able to relate, this may be a discussion on a dinner table but these findings alone will not generate a change in the way gender roles and stereo types are presented in society. We need to be the change we want to see in society.

In my coaching practice (Avid Coaching) I coach many clients both male and female who struggle with work/life balance. Both genders struggle with stress (www.avidcoaching.co.uk). Women fear that if they talk about this issue outside of our sessions they will be judged especially if they are in a role that is male dominated. Men are relieved to be able to discuss how to manage both work and personal life, to discuss how one is affecting the other in a confidential environment where they are free from being judged. They feel that they can really open up and by doing this they are able to create ways and strategies of coping and juggling both roles with positive outcomes.

We need to start to open up these conversations not just with women but also with men. Both genders male and female need to know that it is okay to speak up and discuss how they feel, how they are juggling family and career, how one is affecting the other.

If you want to know more about how you can overcome these issues in your life email me at roshina@avidcoaching.co.uk

The Importance of Self-Confidence

The definition of self-confidence in the dictionary is ‘a feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities, and judgement’.

The Counselling Centre at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign defined self-confidence as ‘having a positive attitude, but with realistic views’. They note that a self-confident person has a general sense of control of her/his own life, and can do what he/she wishes, plans and expects.

There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance, the key here is to have a positive attitude but with realistic views. We have all read self-development books such as The Secret, which tell you to think positively and you will attract things into your life. However, I am sure that when you mention this to friends and family some have questioned this by saying ‘if you image yourself to be a millionaire without action does this mean you will become a millionaire?’ This is an example of having a positive attitude but with unrealistic views i.e. if you do not take the necessary action you will not get the desired results.

In your career or business a lack of self-confidence will prevent you from seeking out opportunities that are available to you. You will not see yourself as being good enough for that promotion, to take on that project or to secure the next deal. You will be in danger of just accepting the position you hold, the money you earn and the time you have.

However, with an increase in self-confidence you will begin to look outside of the box, you will begin to believe in your abilities and open yourself up by setting higher standards, targets and goals for yourself and your business. This together with a positive attitude will begin to attract more of the right opportunities into your life.

In your personal life you will become a happier person as you begin to fulfil the things that you most desire. You become a nicer person to be around and people enjoy your company more as you learn to be stress free and you begin to have more energy.

Becoming a self-confident person has many benefits to your health and wellbeing such as an increase in energy, passion, motivation and ability to influence others. You are the leader of your life so take control of your journey through it.

Working with an Executive Coach will allow you to overcome your limiting beliefs/barriers enabling you to become a self-confident person, who has a positive attitude, setting and achieving goals at a higher level.

If you would like to know more about how to increase your self-confidence contact me by emailing info@avidcoaching.co.uk

Roshina Khan

www.avidcoaching.co.uk