This podcast episode features a conversation with Meyler Campbell Faculty Member Anna Phillips on Mindfulness.
This podcast episode features a conversation with Meyler Campbell Faculty Member Anna Phillips on Mindfulness
Anna is a mindfulness practitioner, and she helps us to gain a better understanding of mindfulness, its benefits and its potential. She also kindly shares a wide range of tips and advice for how we can become more mindful and build mindfulness into our coaching practice.
About Anna Phillips
This episode features an in-depth discussion with respected Meyler Campbell faculty member, Anna Phillips. Anna is a leadership coach, a resilience practitioner and a mindfulness teacher. Anna aims to help her clients achieve peak performance while achieving a sense of balance in their lives.
What is Mindfulness?
01:20 Anna begins by giving us a definition of mindfulness, simply as the practice of being fully present, in any given moment. She describes how, although it sounds simple, mindfulness can be a difficult practice to adopt.
02:20 Mindfulness can be considered as a form of meta-cognition – we are aware that we a being mindful, it’s a conscious endeavour.
03:49 Mindfulness has been described as a mental workout, or a ‘bicep curl for the brain’ and is considered a skill.
Common myths of mindfulness
04:25 Anna debunks some of the common myths about mindfulness, including that we need to empty our minds. There’s often confusion over the difference between mindfulness and meditation, but it’s possible to be mindful anywhere and at any time. The whole idea of mindfulness is to be mindful on a daily basis.
07:30 Although it’s extremely popular right now, Anna thinks mindfulness is more than a ‘fad’ and that it’s here to stay, because it works. She likens it to coaching and the movement of that skill and practice from sport to the corporate world. Mindfulness is similarly moving into business, government departments and schools.
Emerging research on mindfulness
10:22 Anna walks us through some of the growing body of evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of mindfulness, including its ability to develop pro-social behaviours. Exciting emerging research is indicating positive effects on the brain, including our ability to concentrate, deriving from mindfulness practice.
15:10 A question that’s often asked is, ‘How long should one practice mindfulness in order to see a benefit?’ Anna talks through the results of recent research into this and provides some guidance on how much mindfulness practice can help alter either your state or a trait.
How to become more mindful
19:20 Little and often makes a difference - Anna talks about how we can set ‘micro-goals’ to start to become more mindful, gradually, in the daily round. There are lots of ways in which individuals are adapting mindfulness, including the emergence of ‘kindfulness’, a more compassionate practice that serves as an antidote for the unhealthy inner critic.
Mindfulness in the workplace
24:25 There are three key ways in which mindfulness is being used in the workplace - to assist in wellbeing programmes; to improve focus and attention capabilities and to enhance leadership skills. Anna describes how mindfulness can be helpful at work, particularly at an individual level, to impact positively on performance, relationships and wellbeing. Mindful leadership can help with the development of empathy and heightened EQ.
Mindfulness as a foundational skill
30:00 Admittedly it’s not the answer to all issues, but Anna anticipates that mindfulness will be recognised as a foundational skill and become as important as diet and movement in our wellbeing routines.
31:15 There a few qualities that help us cultivate greater mindfulness, such as cultivating a sense of acceptance; being aware of the present non-judgementally; cultivating curiosity and adopting a sense of wonder in your daily experience.
35:35 Anna refers to the wealth of the learning and support material currently available to help individuals to strengthen their awareness of mindfulness. We’ve included some links to those at the foot of these show notes.
Making space for mindfulness in a hectic day
36:50 Even during a hectic workday, it’s possible to start to build in more moments of mindfulness. Forming a habit of mindfulness will help us to drop into a more mindful state when we really need it. Anna describes how we can create space and a sense of ease during a busy day. She shares examples and scenarios of daily work life and how we can build more mindful moments into our routines.
40:45 The reflect - rest - reset model is helpful, it provides a structured approach to a brief moment of mindfulness. It’s important to become aware of our physical response to stresses and how they can serve as a trigger to drop into a more mindful state.
Mindfulness for your coaching practice
44:10 Anna talks about how to apply mindfulness practice in our coaching practice in how we can best role-model presence. Helpfully, she breaks this advice down to apply it specifically to the different stages of our meetings with clients. Finding opportunities to practice mindful attention can be a powerful addition to a coaching session.
Here are some of the learning resources Anna recommends for anyone wishing to strengthen their knowledge of mindfulness:
Chaskalson, M. (2011) The Mindful Workplace, John Wiley & Sons Ltd., Wiley-Blackwell
Hall, Liz, (2013) Mindful Coaching, Kogan Page
Harvey-Yao, S. (2013) Get Present, Inlet Publishing
Kabat-Zinn, J. (2013) Full Catastrophe Living, rev.edn. Piatkus
Marturano, J. (2014) Finding The Space To Lead, Bloomsbury Press
O’Morain, P. (2014) Mindfulness On The Go, Yellow Kite Books
Williams, M. & Penman, D. (2011) Mindfulness A Practical Guide To Finding Peace In A Frantic World, Piatkus
Pico Iyer: The Art Of Stillness (15:37 minutes) https://www.ted.com/talks/pico_iyer_the_art_of_stillness?language=en
Andy Puddicombe: All It Takes Is 10 Mindful Minutes (9:17 minutes) http://www.ted.com/talks/andy_puddicombe_all_it_takes_is_10_mindful_minutes
Martin Boroson: One-Moment Meditation: “How To Meditate In A Moment” (5 minutes) Published: 2 Mar 2011 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6eFFCi12v8
https://www.headspace.com - Headspace was designed by Andy Puddicombe for the busy professional, the app provides daily 10 minute meditations.
https://www.10percenthappier.com/ - 10% Happier: Meditation For Fidgety Skeptics, created by Dan Harris, news anchor for a major US television network.
https://www.calm.com/ - founded by Alex Tew & Michael Acton Smith with a focus on mental fitness, relaxation and sleep
Websites offering guided mindfulness meditations:
http://franticworld.com/free-meditations-from-mindfulness/ - Professor Mark Williams at Oxford University. In particular the "mindfulness meditation of the body and the breath" and "three minute breathing space"
http://findingthespacetolead.com/meditations-reflections/ - Janice Marturano, author of Finding The Space To Lead has designed mindfulness meditations with leaders in mind, hence desk-chair meditation.
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