Coaching: Walk and talk
To celebrate Coaching Week (3-9 June), Senior Consultant and coach Jo Rix shares her experiences of ‘walking coaching’.
I love to be outside in the fresh air. I always feel better once I’ve been outside. As a mum of two small children, I always notice a difference in their behaviour once they’ve played outside. We live in a small village, in a house that backs on to the countryside, so access to the great outdoors is easy for us.
As I’ve become older, I’ve realised that being outdoors in the elements is therapeutically good for you and that’s why I’ve started to run coaching sessions outside. It doesn’t suit everyone but, for those who feel constrained by being indoors, it’s a great option.
I have found walking and talking has been effective on many levels. Here are some of the benefits I’ve witnessed:
- Declutter. Life can be hectic; sorting out meetings, dealing with reminders, hitting targets and, unfortunately, that results in suppressing our creativity! Taking just a brisk walk can help open our minds
- Boosts focus. According to Psychological Science, interacting with nature gives your brain a break from overstimulation and has a restorative effect on your attention levels. In turn, this helps you solve problems, finish assignments and brain-storm how you’re going to take over the world!
- Less stress. Whether it’s getting outside to burn off some energy, or just going to pause, breathe, listen and think, the outdoors helps to reduce stress levels. In fact, just the smell of trees and plants helps slow down your breathing and reduces anxiety!
- You feel good about yourself. Simply exercising can help increase your self-worth enormously. Being in control of your body, without having the pressures of racing or timing yourself, helps increase confidence levels, body image issues, and self-esteem!
- It makes you happy! People with active lifestyles report better moods and have more of a positive outlook than those who don’t get out and about as much. When you begin to exercise outdoors, your body releases endorphins that boost your happiness. Also, a Scottish study showed that those exercising outdoors have a lower risk of poor mental health than those who choose indoor facilities.
I believe nature is intrinsically good for the soul, whether we are troubled or not, but especially so when we are struggling with problems and challenges.
Outdoors is my go-to when I need time to reflect. If you’re a coach or coachee, consider the great outdoors for talking over your problems.
Jo has also recorded a short video about the benefits of coaching.