Updated: Sep 20, 2020
I often get asked the question about coaching in nature…Why Nature?
I usually respond by asking something along the lines of “what do you feel like when you spend time in nature” often met with a nod of appreciation or someone recalling the great feelings they had on their walk. Sometimes I hear the dramatic retelling of an adventurous episode in nature. The retelling, although perhaps a treacherous situation at the time, leads to a sense of excitement & wide-eyed-aliveness (like being chased by cows or losing a boot in mud or “almost” picking that mushroom but thinking better of it!).
Nature tends to give us enough reason’s through our very experience in it.
So instead I invite people to look more at the “why coaching?”
If just being in nature is enough, where does coaching feature in this experience?
Coaching is a skill enhancing approach to personal development & well-being. You can continue to do what you’re doing finding yourself in problems, challenges and emotional struggles and eventually finding some-way out. That’s life, that’s what we do.
Needing something usually means you are in a state of desperation, or inspiration, or desire. It is the catalyst of motivation and transforms you into action. It is reactive & not responsive.
For many people personal well-being is much the same. It’s not until things get “bad” or “challenging” or “overwhelming” that you are led to change strategy or take a step to do something, anything to change the situation.
We are in an interesting situation in society. We continue to make headway with mental health stigma, with more people and organisations seeking out support & resources. But this really is due to the matter of prevalence of well-being concerns like stress, anxiety and low mood ( to name a few).
A historical culture of stigma and avoidance has left our emotional eco-systems un-resourced and unresolved , meaning it’s easy to feel unequipped to handle the evident challenges of life, work and beyond.
At some point our minds have been led to believe that we only need to react. That well-being does not need to be part of our fabric , woven into the every-day core of what we do.
Choosing to make solutions for wellbeing a natural part of your or a teams habit & interest you help enable action more quickly. Growing a greater resilience and flexibility in times of change.
The outcome better resources, happier, healthier people.
Disconnecting with nature means we may have disconnected with the idea of being part of a natural world.
What happens to nature when it doesn’t resource itself as a regular routine?
It gets thirsty, it wilts, it struggles to connect, it loses its nutrients, it’s left vulnerable to healthier, wiser, species. In some parts of nature the ecosystem in which it lives rejects it.
At where the mind grows we believe coaching is an integral part of thriving in life; taking time out to grow your ability to respond to lives challenges. Nurture your wants, needs and figure out how to do wellbeing simply, effectively & sustainably. Understanding and changing aspects of life to make living easy, survival easier and self-care integral. Coaching is very much a “plant the seed & watching it grow” concept of self-development.
Coaching in Nature offers additional ways to help you figure stuff out. Here are just some of the ways we work alongside nature to enhance the well-being for our clients.
Simply getting out and into nature has benefits straight a way. Have you ever heard yourself or someone say “what I need is a change of scene”. That’s quite simply what this setting gives you. A change of environment is a great catalyst for other change. Getting outside your box, Exploring a new landscape, escaping the office or home to help your mind to gain new perspective.
The space nature offers is great for body or mind. If you have an indoor job you will know how good getting out into fresh air feels, if you have an outdoor job you are probably just taking this for granted. If you stare at a wall or screen for much of the day. Imagine the visual stimulation your mind is offered in the colours, sounds and senses of surrounding flora & fauna of a woodland environment, the blossom in spring or a deer peaking it’s head to nosy at you.
The neuroscience of nature
We are a strong believer in doing things that are evidence based. This is not just nature for nature’s sake. A continued effort goes into reviewing & integrating the emerging research nature offers for health & well-being. Celebrating the benefits on the brain (neuroscience) and sharing these findings with you in our team sessions & coaching programmes to help you understand too.
Did you know that 20 minutes in nature will help your body to reduce stress hormones enabling you feel calmer, this can help with a range of other health conditions too which are often linked to high stress lifestyles. Did you know that people with views of nature from their window recover better when ill, or report higher levels of motivation or focus in work, all thanks how nature helps our brain to shift into effective modes to help us restore & replenish.
Nature can also help us ignite creativity, concentration and problem solving skills.
The delight created in the visual experience of a nature filled environment can help you forge ideal mindsets for the work you do, or a goal you set yourself cultivating everything from intrigue, relaxation, precision or being energised!
Nature also has some amazing metaphors which help you to create your own understanding of the challenge, problem or goal you are seeking to resolve. Can’t see the wood for the trees? Aspiring to be a shining star or yearning to branch out? Struggling with a mountain of paper work? Through coaching we can help you to evoke or understand your metaphorical landscape, using nature’s own offerings help articulate our own circumstances from a new angle.
Working with natural principles in coaching is all about learning from nature’s behaviours and habits. Applying these to our own experience of the world and ways of thinking and doing. Natural principles in coaching provide a framework or set of guiding ideas to help reset and remould our thoughts, feelings & behaviours. Creating a design for life or work (whatever you choose) to help you plan, develop & take action.
In teams natural principals can help better communicate, enhance team relationships. They help resolve problems or create plans & vision for your teams objectives.
From “never stop growing” to “Bend with the wind” these principles (based on Sarah Spencer’s Think Like A Tree) help you to see issues through a new lens. This element of coaching in nature can also be described as Nature Relatedness; discovering and learning from nature and applying these concepts to benefit our own health and well-being. After all when we really thinking about natures ability to evolve, thrive and survive there is certainly a wealth of wisdom you may be currently over-looking.
Nature connectedness is an organic part of any coaching in nature session/programme. When we connect with nature we are simply taking time to pause & take stock of our situation. It helps us to broaden our perspective on the world, from exploring the mass of sky above or noticing the tiny details that remained over-looked. Nature connection links to Biophilia the innate affinity we have with the natural world. You may already have a conscious relationship with the desire for nature connections. For other people this may be something you are less consciously aware of. I often refer to there being a difference between our connection With & our connection In nature. The concept of connecting with nature might seem a little bit woowoo for you, fearing that it’s all tree hugging or chanting. Coaching in nature with us offers a more subtle exploration of connecting to/with nature. The process of “just being in” is often enough to reap the body/mind benefits. Using your senses naturally or in a guided way is just one of the ways to experience connection. Using nature as the backdrop for team and individual activities is another more gentle approach. Sharing stories about nature also draws on the benefits of nature connection.
People who connect in this way show increased pro-environmental behaviours & people who care for nature are more motivated to care for themselves, creating a beneficial system in your personal life or organisational culture to enhance overall well-being, reduce stress burnout and increase resilience.
As you can see there are multiple ways that nature inspires the coaching experience. From its natural space to the principles that create change for yourself or your team.
In essence the two come together hand in hand, branch to branch. Assisting with growth, nurturing and transformation. Making well-being an effortless & enjoyable experience.
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