Mindlessness vs Mindfulness

Been hearing a lot about the value of being “mindless” when you’re coaching a client. Makes a heck of a lot of sense — you can’t possibly have a personal agenda or a bunch of pre-determined questions for your client. That’s not a coaching intervention, but pursuing a vendetta against them! (And why the heck would your client pay you for that?)

Now, one of these days I would like to go a little deeper of each of these aspects but this post is a good primer about the two beautiful states of our minds.

In my opinion, being mindless allows you more room to establish a solid connection with your client. When you connect, the person in front of you opens up. The rapport that you have skyrockets allowing you to dig deeper and facilitate a powerful intervention that is not only impactful but quite transformative.

Being mindful, however, has its own place and time. There’s immense value in being mindful of the questions that you ask and being mindful of the energy shifts in your client’s physiology.

I strongly believe mindfulness and mindlessness are complementary. You can’t just have one and communicate better. Being mindful allows you to ask powerful questions that encourage your clients to get closer to a breakthrough while being mindless allows you to build a deeper connection with them.

You have to have both. And like all other skills, they can be developed over time. With more practice.

And yes, these states aren’t just restricted to coaching but to our daily lives as well. Think of the times when you’ve had your partner or a friend looking at their laptop or phones while you’re sharing an important matter with them. How do you feel? What state do you think they’re in?

On the flip side, how would you feel when they actually look right into your eyes while you’re talking, deeply listening to each and every detail that you share? That’s something, right?

No wonder the best coaches out there use these states to achieve breakthroughs for their clients. And you can do. How? Well, start with being silent and observing your thoughts. You don’t have to meditate (though if you can, that’ll be great!) but just be aware of the chatter that goes into your mind.

When you get an opportunity to speak with another person focus on being the “listener” than a vocal contributor. Let your counterpart speak. Don’t prepare your responses, just listen. Respond to them with a question that takes them to go a little deeper. Remember, you don’t have to give them a solution (I’m sure they’re not seeking one anyway and even if they are the answers are right between their two ears).

That’s it! Again, this isn’t a “coach” thing. It’s what the most prolific communicators of our era — from Larry King to Tim Ferriss to Cal Fussman and everyone in between — do. The focus is always on the person in front of you. Not you. And the world calls these folks great communicators. Why? Because they listen.

My thesis is this — mindlessness and mindfulness have a lot to do with what you listen and what you don’t. The best thing is that you get to choose and that it’s a skill that develops over time.

Practice. Are you listening? Or just hearing me out?