Executive leaders today face an insurmountable amount of stress and anxiety. When I first started coaching executives, I was nervous. I felt very stressed by my client’s stress and I could feel their pressure as if it were my own. As soon as we’d start a session, my mind would start whirling, my breath became shallow and I would start to feel a sense of unreasonable compression.
Suddenly, I would feel the need to perform and carry on in a fast and constricted way. Essentially, I was matching the energy of my client instead of holding my own center of calm and peace. Taking on their stress didn’t help. Firstly, I needed to develop the vital skill of maintaining my own center of calm. I focused on developing this skill for myself as a Coach. Secondly, I needed to teach my clients how to effectively release their own stress.
The best way I’ve discovered to guide my clients in managing their own stress is through mindfulness meditation. I design a specific meditation program that suits their work-life schedule. My clients also learn tools to help them manage their energy. This includes visualization and relaxation techniques.
Sharing mindfulness meditation is highly effective in leadership coaching. When we start our sessions with breathing and body awareness, consciously releasing stress and tension, it changes the quality of our time together. In this way, we let relaxation and ease lead our meeting. It is more connected, more authentic and I know I am offering more than just a coaching session. They are benefitting from receiving life skills they can take with them for the rest of their lives.
It is deeply empowering to teach clients how to create calm on their own. This allows each session together to deepen further because they knew how to cultivate a quieter, more reflective state on their own. Clients come away feeling more peaceful and “together,” as well as in command of their own mental energy. The last thing a client needs a head full of chaotic thoughts! One of the most important aspects I support my clients in developing is mental clarity.
Leadership Coaching Session Demonstration
Michelle is a successful executive leader who experiences anxiety because of her work schedule and the dynamics at work. My session with her is a universal example of what most leaders face today. Michelle is talented and intelligent, yet like many executive leaders, she experiences intense constant pressure. They are always on the go, and can never fully turn off. They know they need relaxation, but they don’t know how to get there on their own.
The session with Michelle includes energy tools for grounding, meditation practice, and healing. On an intellectual level, she knows exactly what she needs to do to move forward, but there are emotions and past experiences that keep her from taking powerful action for herself.
It’s common that leaders struggle with chronic stress. They are dealing with constant responsibility, from their company revenue to day-to-day management. Too much stress limits your power and energy. Stress can accumulate from intense situations, even traumatic experiences, and can weigh heavily on the nervous system. It’s important to discharge these seemingly “invisible” experiences to clear the space for new pursuits.
As you’ll see from the session, Michelle is unusually tired. This is from discharging old stored experiences from her nervous system. Essentially, she is releasing old energy that is holding her back and stressing her out. She even asks, “is this normal?”
It is normal. While she’ll probably need some deep sleep after her session, afterward, she’ll feel likely feel rejuvenated. Clients often report feeling lighter, more easeful and focused, as well as more connected to their center of power.
Leadership Coaching sessions are intended to be relaxing, impactful and long-lasting. It is more than just the sessions together, it’s about cultivating the lifelong positive habits that you develop as a leader. Through mindfulness meditation, you develop your potential and become the best version of yourself. You become more present, focused and balanced.
For a deep dive into Leadership Coaching, check out Leading Edge, our flagship course for executive leaders.