Mindfulness and Compassion in Leadership

  Mindfulness based leadership
Mindfulness should no longer be considered a “nice-to-have” for executives. It’s a “must-have”
Harvard Business Review

Overview

With increasing awareness of a growing list of personal and organisational wake-up calls, many leaders are beginning to consider how they might cultivate more insightful ways of responding to the challenges and opportunities faced both by themselves as individuals, their organisations’ and wider society.

Our Leadership training packages* include:

  • A selection of introductory workshops - please see below
  • the choice from a selection of 8 week mindfulness courses for those who would like to learn mindfulness and compassion
  • Post-course support to deepen practice and explore professional and organisational integration

* whilst it is beneficial to commit to the whole package, we appreciate that awareness raising is a powerful way to gain buy-in. It is therefore also possible to engage with each stage before deciding whether you would like to commit to the next.

Examples of the Centre’s work and a thought leadership piece on the role of insight in Human Resources are shared as contributory authors in Chapman-Clarke’s ‘Mindfulness in the Workplace: An Evidence-based Approach to Improving Wellbeing and Maximizing Performance.

We offer the following half day introductory workshops

  • Mindfulness for Health and Wellbeing
  • Mindfulness for Personal and Professional Change
  • Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Care
  • Insight-based Human Resources
  • Insight-based Leadership
  • Compassionate Leadership
  • Mindfulness and Leadership (full day)

In addition to exploring misconceptions around mindfulness, workshops generally include the following elements

  • an introduction to what mindfulness meditation is (and is not!)
  • where mindfulness comes from and how it works (including some of the research/neuroscience)
  • exploration of the particular workshop theme
  • the opportunity to experience practical mindfulness exercises and meditations
  • next steps for those wishing to learn mindfulness.
Mindfulness is a skill which takes both time and personal commitment to be learned. Whilst participants may well experience a change in ‘state’ as a result of an introductory session, the researched benefits of mindfulness come from the regular practice of mindfulness meditation and the possibility of changes in ‘trait’*. Organisations interested in mindfulness are therefore encourage to consider in-house mindfulness training or, in the absence of this, how they can support any staff who would like to go on to learn mindfulness.

* ‘From States to Traits: the Latest Science on What Meditation can and Can’t Do’

Course options

We offer a range of mindfulness and compassion courses designed to meet a wide variety of organisational needs. An overview of course types, length, group size and individual commitment to meditation practice is available below.

Expected outcomes

Please see individual course outcomes.

As an upstream intervention, regardless of course choice, through the cultivation of a meditation practice course participants would also be expected to experience the general benefits associated with a meditation practice as detailed below.

Mindfulnet.org, generously developed and maintained by Juliet Adams, brings together research focussing specifically on workplace applications of mindfulness. The site provides the following overview of studies (June 2016) linking mindfulness and desirable workplace outcomes.

  • 58 studies link mindfulness to factors that improve employee wellbeing
  • 46 studies link mindfulness to factors that improve leadership capability
  • 38 studies link mindfulness to factors that improve employee performance
  • 34 studies link mindfulness to factors that impact on change and organisational transformation
  • 33 studies link mindfulness to factors that improve safety in high reliability organisations

We use, and would expect to see improvements in, the following recognised measures of mental well-being, stress and mindfulness:

  • Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-Being Scale (WEMWBS) 14 item scale for assessing positive mental health (mental well-being)(NHS Health Scotland, University of Warwick and University of Edinburgh, 2006).
  • Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) 10 item scale tested and validated to measure perceptions of stressful experiences during the past month (Cohen & Williamson, 1988).
  • Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) 39 item scale tested and validated to assess ability to perform mindful attention (Baer, 2006)

Being the change we seek

"We are what we repeatedly do" Aristotle

Many people would like to live and work differently. Despite genuine commitments to doing so, beginning to actually live and work differently can be difficult, requiring a surprising amount of commitment, sometimes even courage. Our 8 week mindfulness courses encourage both an intellectual understanding of the neurobiological elements at play in this conundrum and importantly the skills through meditation practice to cultivate and develop new ways of being.

Leadership behaviours impact strongly on organisational culture. Leaders are also under a significant amount of pressure - stress is something which in itself activates the circuitry of habit therefore making change even more challenging despite the best of intentions.

If your senior management are willing to participate in a mindfulness course, that is to say, willing to sit down and explore how an understanding of neuroscience and the practice of meditation might be of benefit to themselves as an individual. And through this inner exploration within the laboratory of their own minds how they might begin to create more ‘brain friendly’* organisations then please contact us about our ‘Being the Change We Seek’ Special Offer.

* Hilary Scarlett, Neuroscience for Organisational Change.

FAQs

These questions relate specifically to the commissioning of in-house mindfulness training. For general questions about mindfulness please see our general FAQs.

I would like to put forward a business case for offering mindfulness training, do you have any advice?

Following on from the Mindfulness All-Party Parliamentary Group's 'Mindful Nation UK' report (a great resource for anyone interested in the application of mindfulness interventions in education, health, the workplace and the criminal justice system) 'Building the Case for Mindfulness in the Workplace' offers a wonderful resource for anyone wishing to make the business case for Mindfulness in the Workplace.

You may also find the following articles helpful

How can I be assured of good practice?

In addition to providing details of mindfulness instructors meeting the UK Good Practice Guidance for Mindfulness-Based Teachers the UK Network of Mindfulness-Based Teacher Training Organisations is also a helpful resource for anyone interested in training to teach mindfulness, offering guidance on good practice and pre-requisites for teacher training.

I’m interested in exploring a particular area of research, do you have any advice?

In addition to more mindfulness resources than you can begin to imagine Mindfulnet.org, generously developed and maintained by Juliet Adams, offers an overview of research focussing specifically on workplace applications of mindfulness.

Can you give examples of organisations you have worked with?

We have been offering mindfulness training in organisations since 2010. In addition to the clients section offered on our website several examples of our experiences of working with local organisations are shared, as contributory authors, in Chapman-Clarke’s Mindfulness in the Workplace: An Evidence-based Approach to Improving Wellbeing and Maximizing Performance, alongside a thought leadership piece exploring the potential within the cultivation of skills which are conducive to insight as a means of responding to personal, professional and organisational challenges.

Is my organisation ready for mindfulness training?

Requests for mindfulness training often come from staff themselves, be it through curiosity or a personal interest. In circumstances where this isn’t the case those considering offering mindfulness training sometimes have concerns about how it will be received in their organisation. Whilst understandable we find that these concerns are generally unfounded, with most workshops and course places filling easily.

It is helpful though to try and find a good fit in terms of your choice of instructor. As a team we benefit both from different personal and professional backgrounds so will always do what we can to ensure this, be it through ourselves or another provider.

Given the many misconceptions about mindfulness we strongly recommend that courses are preceded by an introductory workshop. This allows misconceptions to be addressed, hence raising general awareness within the organisation and also allows individuals to understand the level of personal commitment required before choosing to attend a course.

How many people can attend an introductory workshop?

We generally say up to 25 people per workshop.

We would love to offer mindfulness and compassion training but are not in a position to fund a course.

We are happy to work in partnership with local organisations to offer staff discounts allowing staff to benefit from our public programme of 8 week mindfulness courses at a reduced rate. Where organisations wish to cultivate a shared sense of responsibility for health and wellbeing it is also possible to offer staff discounts in conjunction with organisationally funded taster sessions.

We would love to offer mindfulness and compassion training but are not based in your area.

If you are interested in a particular area of our practice such as Mindfulness for Change, Compassionate Care or Insight-based HR/Insight-based leadership please get in touch as we may well still be able to offer training in partnership with other providers.

If you are looking for mindfulness training from a health and wellbeing perspective then please visit UK Network of Mindfulness-Based Teacher Training Organisations where you will find details of mindfulness instructors meeting the UK Good Practice Guidance for Mindfulness-Based Teachers.

Contact us

We welcome your interest in mindfulness and are happy to discuss any particular questions you have.

Please note though, we are a small team who spend much of our time out of the office. If you would like to arrange a time to speak the easiest way to do this is to email us suggesting times when you are available during the following week.

We aim to put our team’s wellbeing and our wish to model alternative ways of working above and beyond commitments to unrealistic response times. We are conscious that this can be counter-cultural and thank you for your patience.