Helena Clayton | Are you sitting comfortably?



Are you sitting comfortably?

01 Aug 2022, Posted by Helena Clayton in Monthly Blog

What could you do now that would make you even 2% more comfortable?

I often ask this at the start of an online workshop, or a coaching session.

My husband, Dom, is an ex Royal Marine (although ‘no such things as an ex-Marine, he laughs).  He’s full of phrases from his time there.  One is that ‘any fool can be uncomfortable in the field’.  Sounds a bit harsh, but there’s something in it. Something about the ways that we put up with discomforts without thinking.   Apparently, the basic act of shaving or cleaning your teeth while in the middle of battle conditions makes a huge difference to moral.

And so there are a few things that I increasingly do with clients, even when not in battle conditions 🙂 and I really notice the positive impact on a session. And on me too.


At the start of workshop or coaching session, it’s not uncommon for me to invite people to just sit in silence together for a few minutes, to let ourselves ‘arrive’ together. ‘Let’s take a few minutes to sit together in silence’.

Sometimes, we do exactly that.  Sit in silence.  Other times, I might guide a simple body scan, or connect to the breath.

People often say it’s the first time all day they have stopped.  And that those few minutes have provided a (very) rare pause, a reset, a space to just be.

When we so often ricochet from one meeting to the next, there’s something so essential about taking a moment to be still, to breathe, to check in with ourselves, to ‘arrive’ to ourselves, to becoming present to what’s happening right now.

And then we both begin our work, from a very different place from a few minutes previously.


Similarly, as we begin an action learning set or a workshop, say, I offer: ‘take a look at how things are for you at the moment – where and how you’re sitting, what you’re wearing etc’.  Now what could you do to make yourself even 2% more comfortable for the duration of our time together?

What is that thing?  Do it now, I say.

People do a range of things.  Take off a tie.  Move to a sofa.  Shift their chair so they can see out of a window.  Top up their tea. Pop to the loo.  Put their slippers on.

The energy of the session almost always shifts – it settles, become more relaxed.

Easy moves, but easily overlooked.

Sit back

I now also say something I heard Judith Hemming say at the start of workshop of hers I watched the other day.

‘Sit right back in your chair.  Let your back feel the chair and let it really take your weight.  Sit back into it.  Lean back.  Feel the connection between your back – and the back of your thighs, your bum and hips – and whatever you’re sitting in’.

Online, she said (and now I say) demands a hug amount of ‘forward’ energy – all of our attention is leaning in, and we are drawn intensively into the screen, into wat’s in front of us.  We end up perched at the front of our chair. We forget about other dimensions – including what’s behind and underneath us.

I also try and do this for myself.  Just notice how much I am sitting forward on the edge of my chair.  I sit back.  And it really helps me feel more evenly balanced.

  • What do you do to get the basics right before a session or a meeting?  
  • What could you do – that costs nothing – that might increase your comfort and ease by just 2%
  • What are the ways that we get in our own way, in making ourselves more uncomfortable than we need to be?


I have a monthly Newsletter exploring what inspires me in my coaching and leadership development work, and exploring love in leadership.  You might like it.  You can sign up here as well as see all the previous editions. 





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