Reflective Practice: What is it and why is it essential in coaching and counselling?

Updated: Apr 8

Reflective practice is a learning process and is an important part of facilitating life and leadership coaching and counselling. We can understand something more fully when we reflect upon it. It's a way of thinking about everyday information to examine it and better understand it so we may develop insight or as I always like to say the embodiment of knowledge.

Being reflective provides you with experiential, practice-based learning rather than formal learning or knowledge transfer. It's one of the most important aspects of personal or professional development and brings together theory and practice.

Let's look at mindfulness for example. You can study the theory of mindfulness in books and know it intellectually but without actually practicing it you won't have the same benefits. This is true for teaching mindfulness too. When professors from the UK travelled to UMASS to learn the theory of mindfulness and went back to their research centres in the UK to teach the theory, the found little benefit unlike their friends in the USA. These same professors travelled back to the USA and did the program themselves and established their own mindfulness practice before returning to research and discovering the benefits of mindfulness practice as an embodied practice and going to develop what we now know as Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT).

Here's some life coaching strategies for developing an effective reflective practice:

How to begin reflective practice? 1. Identify an are in your work or personal life you wish you learn more about.

2. Using some of the techniques above to help you describe what happened.

3. How did you behave, feel or think about this situation?

4. What did you learn from this situation if anything?

5. What beliefs do you have about this situation?

6. How did this situation match any pre conceived ideas you had?

7. How does it relate to other things you know about this situation?

8. What behaviours might have changed the outcome?

9. Is there anything you can do now to change things? What reactions could change in the future?

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