Walking, Coaching and Awakening
The benefits of coaching have long been established. To have someone listen to you with their full attention, question you deeply and help you navigate the roller-coaster of life is invaluable. I have been coaching for some years now and before COVID this was usually in a private venue hired for the session. More recently we all had to adapt and now nearly all my clients are on Zoom and this has worked extremely well. It feels safe and secure, the empathy and understanding is there in abundance, as I read facial expressions and hear the different tones in their voice. Many clients actually prefer the convenience of not having to travel and the coaching sessions have enabled them to move forward in their life.
An awakening of lockdown
Since the first lockdown I have been talking to my mum on FaceTime most days. And, as I walk my dog Pepper, it has brought us even closer together. I walk, mum has her breakfast, we talk, and we discuss what’s going on with each of us. What is special is that I always feel better than I did when I set off. I am very fortunate to have a mum who is the best listener of anyone I know. On reflection, I have had my own coach since I could understand words. It didn’t therefore come as a surprise to me, that coaches were now coaching their clients outside whilst walking together.
The beauty and power of a golden leaf floating from a tree?
I have always loved being outside, walking, cycling, running, gardening and feel drawn to the countryside. Being outside in nature, in the freezing cold or the glorious sunshine that makes me feel alive and energised. And this feeling of being outside and in a different environment is what excites me about coaching a person outside. To take a client out from the four walled room into the refreshing and ever changing outdoors, excites me.
It was during one of my first outdoor sessions with a client that my passion was ignited. My Client described one golden leaf floating down from a Beech tree and this inspired me to write this piece. As I walked along my local canal bank on a sunny yet cold autumnal day, my client walked up a hill two hundred miles from me. We both had earphones on and agreed we would try and keep within a 4G radius. My first question was, after we had said our usual hello’s, “what can you see as you are walking?”. They replied, “there’s a beautiful beech tree with so many colourful leaves. Some of them are floating down without a care in the world, dancing as they meet the ground, not tripping and falling”.
I sensed what they were feeling
As I walked and they talked, I imagined what they were seeing. I also sensed something in their voice, it was light and happy when they talked about the dancing leaf and then almost sad and despondent when they mentioned tripping and falling. I asked them about the words they had used floating and tripping and if that was significant to them? They then began to talk about how they were feeling about a certain part of their life. Lacking confidence, taking steps forward but then tripping up and falling behind. We talked about this situation and then some time later, on the walk, I asked again; “what do you see now”?
They saw several windmills on the horizon, and there was a long thin cloud stretching across the sky. A darkness gripped under the cloud but blue sky shone above it, the sun peeping out. Again, I asked them, “was there anything significant about what they had described?” They said they felt like they were in the darkness under the cloud and desperately wanted to be above it. To float in the blue sky, feeling confident without the shackles of worry. We talked again about what would help them achieve this.
This picture they described has stayed with me for months now and I can still recall the conversation we had. There was something so special about being outside that made the session easy and poignant and the feelings they expressed helped them to think about possible solutions to their situation. When I asked my client how it felt for them, they said it felt very natural and they were surprised at how much they got out of the session, walking and talking outside in the countryside.
Walking and coaching is an awakening of the senses.
This awakening of our senses can stimulate our feelings, our thoughts and help us to look at things from a different perspective. It brings out new ideas and new reflections that we might not have had if we had stayed in the same place.
Next time you are walking why not try it yourself?
What do you see?
What colours are there?
How does it make you feel?
What is significant about what you have chosen to look at?
Is there anything this makes you want for?
What can you smell, hear, feel, taste?
Is there anything in your way?
What can you do more of to achieve what you desire?
How do you want to feel?