What is a Mindfulness Coach?
What does a good mindfulness coach do?
A good mindfulness coach is going to show you how to practise mindfulness in a way that will sustain you throughout your life, during times of challenge and in moments of joy.
It can be fairly easy finding out what mindfulness is and the basic steps to get you started. You can google ‘mindfulness’, watch YouTube clips, read a book or even a magazine article.
Mindfulness is widely popular and there are tips everywhere on how and why to practise it.
However to get great results that will really make a difference in your life you need to take it further than just knowing what mindfulness is and how to do it.
What isn’t so widely known is how to take the basic steps that can sometimes seem a little like relaxation techniques and develop them into a sustained and satisfying insight practice of wisdom, perspective, kindness and self-compassion.
Regular on-going mindfulness lays down new neural pathways in the brain to do with calm and clarity. When this happens old patterns of stress and reactivity begin to fade. This takes some perseverance just like back when we were kids and someone taught us how to tie shoelaces, clean our teeth, eat with a spoon, knife and fork.
The biggest challenge in mindfulness training is to make a habit like eating and breathing
With so much going on in our lives it can be easy to get distracted or side-tracked. A mindfulness coach helps you to stay focused on your desire to not only learn mindfulness meditation but to add it into your life.
When trying to turn a new skill into a lifelong habit it’s so important having someone supporting you on the sidelines. Someone who understands the challenges because they’ve been there themselves, someone who can help you to stay on track.
No matter what the popular media will tell you mindfulness is not going to happen overnight!
A mindfulness coach will guide and support you even when you feel that you’re on the right way because chances are, when you’re working with the mind and its chatter, you can still tend to feel a bit wobbly from time to time.
A mindfulness coach also won’t just send you away to practise some fancy mindfulness ‘app’. She’ll guide and encourage you even when you may want to give up.
When we really get into mindfulness we start to feel steady enough to work more deeply on our thoughts, feelings and reactions – the ones that make stress feel worse. An experienced mindfulness coach will make you feel motivated and inspired, rather than discouraged or confused.
What to Look for in a Mindfulness Coach
- First, you need a mindfulness coach who regularly practises mindfulness, ideally every day. This might be sitting meditation, movement practices like yoga or tai chi or mindful walking. How can someone understand what you are going through if she hasn’t travelled that same journey? And having learnt and practised mindfulness himself, he can point out some of the things to watch out for, and encouraging tips.
- Mindfulness works with consciousness and brain functioning. This is why it is essential that your mindfulness coach has a solid background in both psychology and teaching.
- Choose someone who’s had experience with guiding and supporting people with mindfulness meditation for several years. If they’ve been around that long maybe they know what they’re doing!
- Use your intuition or gut instinct when trying to decide whether you want to work with them. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about their own journey with mindfulness and also their understanding of the scientific explanation for how mindfulness works.
Why choosing a mindfulness coach may work better for you than doing a group course
Sometimes, working privately with a mindfulness coach can help you to focus on what is most important for you right now. You’ll also find that sessions can unfold more organically or flexibly to meet your changing needs compared to a more structured group programme which has to suit many participants and a course time frame.
Doing private mindfulness training can be great when you can’t get to a group course because of the timetable, you’re a shift worker or regularly travel out of town.
It can also be helpful to get in touch with a mindfulness coach after having done a group programme, as a way of staying committed to the practice.
Why the right mindfulness coach will save you time and effort
Mindfulness training whether in a group or in private tuition can be a deeply personal experience. It can be unsettling having to change a teacher because you don’t feel supported or safe, or you don’t trust that he or she has the personal mindfulness experience to guide you through. Choosing the right coach straight away will get you on your mindfulness journey without delay, and ensure that you stay there.