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Awareness of Self and Other

Just as athletic ability depends on mind as much as body, so coaching ability could be said to depend on body as much as mind. If we are to work not just with our clients' thinking but with their sensations, feelings, emotions and behaviours, we need to take time to deepen our own self-awareness to help us distinguish more clearly what we may be responding to in ourselves and each other. In particular, our somatic awareness - the ability to pick up on and make sense of our own and others' bodily experience - can tell us a great deal about the interplay between us at a non-verbal level.  


One way of developing such awareness is through regular mindfulness meditation (see Fleming, S. (2022) Know Thyself p219). We learn to stay present to the 'sensation of being' as it arises, and the deep compassion that can come with it. Below is the meditation I use in my morning routine and as preparation for meeting clients.     


This practice can also help to ground us by activating the body’s 'rest and restore' mechanisms. Along with sleep, exercise and a wholesome diet, it reduces stress and builds our resilience for times when our work may be particularly challenging.


'A Deeper Meeting'

I awaken to this space

the sights, the sounds

the gift of now

this flow of breath

this beating heart

this skin that tingles

I scan for tensions

release each one

slip back into the flow

I open my heart

to a wider world

where all are one


Sitting before you

the space between us

resonates with being

Touched by humility

I let go of agendas

accept not-knowing

I see you, listen deeply

as you speak your truth:

memories shift

old certainties fray

time-served narratives

lose their grip

At last you’re free

to re-shape your story

find new ways to be

                                                                                                       Henry Campion

Originally published in Coaching Perspectives, Issue 26 (July 2020), p14.

Inspired by Gregory Kramer, author of 'Insight Dialogue' (2007), a form of interpersonal

mindfulness practice; and the work of Daniel Siegel, psychiatrist and neuroscientist.

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