Current coaching project at Kuhn Special Steel: Mindfulness training
What does mindfulness actually mean and why is it important for everyday working life? To put it briefly, mindfulness describes a form of attentiveness, which pursues the aim of only relating to the present moment in a concentrated and unbiased … Continue reading
What does mindfulness actually mean and why is it important for everyday working life? To put it briefly, mindfulness describes a form of attentiveness, which pursues the aim of only relating to the present moment in a concentrated and unbiased manner. By focusing in this way, stress can be reduced and it is possible to work with more concentration, more effectively and, above all, in a way that is good for one’s mental health over the long term.
“Contrary to popular belief cultivating the capacity for mindfulness is not just a nice-to-have or something to be done for private reasons: it is actually essential for sustaining good leadership. It can be one of the most important things we do, resulting in a stepwise change in our effectiveness as leaders.” (Boyatzis and McKee – Mindfulness/Resonant Leadership – Harvard Business Review according to Kalapa Academy GmbH)
How to correctly deal with the increasing demands posed by the growing level of digitisation and global networking in the business world is becoming increasingly important these days. Around the clock availability, time pressure and simultaneously juggling with numerous projects as well as changing priorities are known to increase stress levels tremendously.
In order to support our managers in dealing with these demands, they were given the opportunity to take part in a mindfulness training course at Kuhn Special Steel in February this year. In the form of the KALAPA Leadership Academy (www.kalapaacademy.co.uk), it was possible to find a partner for this that has been dealing with the topic of mindfulness from a scientific angle for many years and in this respect is particularly focused on applying it in a corporate context.
The aim of the course consisted of getting across the basic principles of mindfulness training as well as ways of transferring it to the daily work routine. Over a period of 20 weeks, coaching modules, which were led by trainers from the KALAPA Leadership Academy, alternated with independent “mindfulness practice”, i.e. meditation and exercises undertaken by the participants themselves. The focus here was always on the question as to how a more mindful attitude towards oneself and one’s fellow human beings can achieve an improvement in the respective areas of the company, so that stress is reduced and people can work in a healthier and more focused way. The ability to focus, as one of the core messages of the mindfulness training, is not always easy. “Multitasking” is the opposite notion, which is a lot more common to us these days and seems to constantly accompany us, yet ultimately leads to longer spells of concentration not being able to emerge at all. The mindfulness practice may not prevent several parallel projects from being carried out, but may reveal that it is possible to work more effectively overall if one’s attention is always only directed at one project in defined time slots, before consciously transferring one’s focus to another project. In order to train this ability to focus, appropriate meditation exercises were demonstrated in the coaching modules. The participants were given the task of integrating these into their daily routine and recorded their meditation and practice times. Together with a questionnaire, which was taken at the start and after the conclusion of the project, the effects of the mindfulness practice were able to be verified. The results from the Kuhn Special Steel group were channelled into a long-term scientific study by the KALAPA Leadership Academy. The results show that very positive results can be achieved by means of regular mindfulness meditation. For example, the stress level felt after the study was rated lower than at the beginning of the study. Longer concentration spans were able to be demonstrated and a more positive attitude overall was able to be determined.
Many participants were able to notice these effects immediately in themselves. The general recommended actions and scientific findings about dealing with stress were received very positively all in all. On the other hand, the meditation exercises were not the right way for all participants to attain more mindfulness and were only partly perceived as useful. Overall, however, the positive experiences from the seminar came out on top among all the participants. For instance, beyond the individual level, a lot of advice was also given on how structures can be created to make it easier to integrate mindfulness in everyday working life for the working environment as a whole. After the conclusion of the project, it was possible to implement the initial findings straight away. We are now interested to see how the results will affect the daily work routine at Kuhn Special Steel over the long term.