Last week as January moved into February, I was cheered by what felt like the first Spring, sun-filled day. Walking through the park, I realised as the daffodils starting to show themselves, that I too wanted to burst into life and stop hiding behind the winter dampness.
During a coaching session later that day, I had an opportunity to do just that – get outside into the fresh air and see what came up.
I actively incorporate movement into my sessions when I feel my client is stuck and unable to look at their challenge from a different perspective. Movement around a room, a building but mainly around indoor spaces. I had integrated talking and walking less often but knew from all the research that our clients open up more as their hearts and minds mirror their physical freedom. Walking side-by-side with someone releases a possible tension and brightens the conversation often leading the client to a lightness and clarity about their topic and what they are trying to achieve.
My client felt she was going around in circles. She is on the verge of making a big change in her life but was pulling back from this because of a guilt of ‘leaving’. She was becoming increasingly entangled in this guilt. Knowing she loves the outdoors, I suggested we walked. I immediately noticed her paying attention to her surroundings, becoming more motivated, more inspired. She began to use the path ahead as a metaphor for the journey she knew she wanted to be on, how she wanted to move forward and keep up the momentum of this and how the ‘inside’, her place of work was a metaphor for the obstacles she was putting in her way. By shifting her place and space, she became more reflective, thoughtful and at times, silent – an easy, contented silence. And the conversations seemed more natural.
There are often restrictions when there is a desire to be outside. We may believe the outside environment is no better than inside; it is built up with seemingly no obvious connection to nature. In those circumstances, I take our attention upwards, to the sky, the trees, birds. We see what we can see. This can have an equally calming, de-stressing effect on our clients.
If your client loves the outdoors or not, give it a try. I’ll certainly be doing more of it as the Spring finally arrives.