Change plays an unavoidable role in our personal and professional lives but how change-wise are we as individuals? And how 'brain friendly'* are we when it comes to managing organisational change?
Personally, even the changes we expect can be challenging (studying, new jobs, relationships, parenting, ageing etc) and that’s before considering the unexpected changes which can blindside us on some otherwise normal day (loss of a loved one, loss of a job, illness, to name but a few).
Professionally it can be easy to feel overwhelmed or jaded by what can feel like ceaseless change. Or maybe we are so passionate about bringing about change that we neglect our own well-being or that of others in the process.
Inspired by the well-recognised and researched 8-week MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) and MBCT (Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy) courses our Mindfulness for Personal and Professional Change (MfC) course focuses on our relationship to change as opposed to health. It is designed to facilitate opening towards change and aid in cultivating inner resources to navigate times of change. The course also offers a rare opportunity to consider and actively begin to cultivate skills supportive of bringing about values-based change, both personally and professionally.
Duration: 8 weeks, 1 session per week of 2 - 2.5hr
Group size: min 8 – max 12
Individual commitment to meditation practice: 30 minutes meditation per day.
Each course is backed by a scientific overview and includes guided meditations, group discussions and practical exercises led by an experienced facilitator. Personal workbooks and meditation downloads are provided for all participants, along with inter-class support.
Through an understanding of neuroscience alongside the cultivation of a meditation practice, group discussion and self-reflection individuals will develop
- a deeper, experiential understanding of the nature of change
- an awareness of their personal response to and relationship with change
- practical skills and inner resources to manage periods of change more effectively
- the ability to identify habitual patterns that can inadvertently draw us back into old ways.
- space to consider the importance of values-based personal and professional change.
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
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.
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
- Mindfulness Works but Only if You Work at It by Megan Reitz and Michael Chaskalson for Harvard Business Review
- Here’s What Mindfulness Is (and Isn’t) Good For by Daniel Goleman for Harvard Business Review
- Mindfulness at Work: What do we really know? by Juliet Adams, Mindfulness at Work Facilitator and Author.
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.
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.