Coaching and walking might not sound like a natural pair, but when it comes to generating your best thinking, it might just be the couple of the century: what could be more conducive to your thought process than mother nature, getting your blood pumping and the physical act of moving forward?
It isn’t a particularly new approach to coaching, although it can take people by surprise initially - particularly if they are expecting to sit in a boardroom or…well, sit at all. It doesn’t really matter where you walk: big open fields, a park, the mountains, the streets of a sprawling (or not so sprawling) metropolis…Regardless, there is sure to be an endless supply of inspiration and stimuli all around.
It is also no secret that being outdoors is beneficial to well-being: the fresh air, vitamin d and some small – scale research studies suggest even the colours in nature, can all have a positive impact on our wellness. Physical exercise helps promote new connections between brain cells, thereby generating not only more thought, but also, potentially, more creative thought.
Here are some other reasons why a walk might benefit the coaching process:
· Endorphins: good for the soul, a more positive mindset and stress reduction
· aids concentration
· change of scenery, change of perspective
· being outside, in a larger, open space, generating a sense of something ‘bigger’ than you
· link between the speed at which we walk and the pace of our thoughts
· aids sleep, which also optimises brain function
· great for mental health in general, including depression, self-esteem and mood
· your bum and thighs will thank you: slightly less coaching-related, granted, but if one of your goals is to do more exercise then you are really killing two birds with one stone here…
A coaching walk can often feel less intrusive: walking side by side reflects the equality of the coaching relationship, in a more informal setting but also means that there is less direct eye contact, a plus for those who are not big fans.
And last but by no means least, most of us in our working worlds are stuck at desks for the majority of the day: this is a brilliant excuse to get away from the computer (and I personally would not only jump, but probably throw a cartwheel in there too) at the prospect of this….
What about fertility coaching outside?
Aside from the above, which are relevant in a fertility context also, there are other reasons why coaching on the move might benefit.
For starters, when you’re going through fertility treatment, there’s endless waiting (test results, the next stage, the dreaded 2 week wait): literally walking from point A to B, immediately provides a sense of purpose, direction and achievement.
· Exercise, good - blood circulation to your uterus, good (if you don’t have one (a uterus, that is), the blood circulation is good for sperm health also
· the opportunity to reconnect with nature in the midst of a very clinical and ‘artificial’ process
· looking after yourself: not only from an exercise point of view, but also allowing yourself some space and time to be listened to – not only by your coach but also yourself - you might be surprised by what you uncover
· did I mention the vitamin D? well, it’s really important for healthy reproductive function as well.
Seeing as one of the key aims of coaching is to help someone do their best thinking, getting outside and moving is simply another way to create a stimulating environment to support that. The benefit works both ways and on two levels also: not only does this mean the person being coached can do their best thinking - but also the coach can potentially do their best coaching.
So the next time you hit a cross roads in life or treatment – or just need some head space and someone to help facilitate that, why not consider a coaching walk? Be bold and go off piste: your thinking may just follow suit…