Do mindfulness facilitators pay for their own training?
Updated: Sep 8, 2020
If you've been thinking of becoming a mindfulness meditation facilitator at your place of employment, and are wondering if you should expect your employer to pay for your training, here's your answer . . .
But, the answer isn't a simple Yes or No.
About half of the facilitators I've trained over the years are employees working for an organization (the other half are service providers who provide mindfulness services as a business - usually adding mindfulness to their menu of services or integrating mindfulness into existing services). Most facilitate sessions on a volunteer basis, and some have wellness or mindfulness as part of their jobs.
There are three scenarios that answer this question:
1. The facilitator pays out of their own pocket.
Generally this is because the facilitator sees their training more as a personal mission or passion, so they can 'give back' and help their co-workers. They are doing this from the heart, from a place of kindness, and do not expect their employer to pay for their training so do not even make the request.
When the facilitator pays themselves, they feel no pressure to 'perform'. It removes any perceived expectation on the facilitator's part to produce results.
Occasionally it is because they did ask their employer to pay for training, but the request was declined, because the decision-maker wasn't convinced to make mindfulness a priority (perhaps they haven't yet seen the plethora of evidence for mindfulness), the funds weren't available, or they want to see some 'proof' that it's worthwhile for them to pay (wait for #3 below.)
2. The employer pays for the facilitator's training.
Some employers are aware of the benefits of mindfulness and are ready to dip their toe in to give it a try. It's hard to deny all the research and articles that are everywhere now.
Most employers do not have a big strategic plan for mindfulness implementation, and love the idea of employees being the volunteer catalysts to grow mindfulness in a grassroots way.
Facilitator training doesn't need to cost much and most employees lead on a volunteer basis, so the risk and financial outlay to the organization is relatively small.
3. The facilitator pays first, shows the benefit, then gets funding later.
After the facilitator has been running sessions for awhile, it's smart to evaluate the program by running skillful surveys. There is no doubt that the results will show positive benefits for the employees, but you have to know what questions to ask so the employer will pay attention. The facilitator then shows these results to their employer. This is usually the turning point of the employer agreeing to provide funding to support the facilitator's continued growth, train more facilitators, buy props or support mindfulness community events.
So now you know that if you pay for the training yourself, you are not alone. In fact, about 50% of employees who voluntarily provide mindfulness facilitation at work do pay out of their own pockets.
~Wendy Quan, Founder, The Calm Monkey