It's taken some trials (and some errors, of course) and I'm now ready to offer coaching walks. Here, writer Rebecca Ann Smith explains what she got from being coached in nature...
"Something about walking and talking at the same time is very freeing – I’ve often found I think better when I’m walking anyway. The landscape around us seemed to enrich and deepen the experience, the changing scene constantly suggesting ideas and metaphors which fed into our conversation. Being out in nature is necessarily ‘multi-sensory’ – I could hear the birds, smell the soil.
"At one point Charlotte suggested an exercise where we used the landscape to perform a shift in my thinking, taking me from where I was to where I wanted to be. This was the most powerful part of the session for me. I enjoyed physically moving from one state to another, embodying the shift, rather than just talking about it. It felt incredibly freeing, even magical, and I came away with a better understanding of what I was trying to achieve in a particular transition in my life, and the ways I could support myself to make that transition easier."
Some people find that being able to look around at nature is more stimulating for their thoughts, and at the same time more relaxing and less intense than just looking at me! I notice that coachees sometimes seem freer, and able to relax into coaching more quickly, when outdoors. As Rebecca observed, nature provides a brilliant source of metaphors for some, while others just love having time to be outside and combining a walk with meaningful talk.
Coaching walks can be a one-off, or part of a series. Some people like to have all their coaching as walks, and in that way we notice the changing seasons as we go. Others prefer to mix and match alongside more traditional, indoor coaching.
Coaching walks start a short distance from Hove Station. There are toilets and free parking at the start point. There is a cafe so that we can take refuge if the weather doesn't suit your mood (or your clothing).