Nature is the ultimate system. It’s the context for all other systems in a nested hierarchy. So when we step into it for the coaching conversation, the opportunities are rich. It’s so more than a place where it’s nice to walk and talk. It’s even more than feeling better and thinking clearly.
Taking the coaching conversation into nature gives us three gifts.
Stepping across the threshold into nature switches on our somatic, spiritual and systemic intelligence. Having evolved over many millennia, our genetic programme have made sure of that. That coding significantly pre-dates our iPhones. Our senses awaken our bodies, memories and the far reaches of our mind. We become alive to ourselves and the world around us.
With awareness of our place as participants in nature, we also experience the interconnectedness of this ultimate system.
Coaches can model this participation in nature as we walk by quietening, observing and sensing. The aliveness in us meets the life all around. We are both in the system and observing it. A perfect perceptual positioning from which coach and coachee can both inquire.
A place to play
Complexity has taken form in nature. It is here that we can play. What draws our attention and how does that reflect the coaching conversation? Maybe a texture, image or sensation. The coachee can be invited to notice a constellation of forms that parallels the inquiry they are making. The junction of paths that represents choice points. The dead limbs that sit by a beautiful old tree. The overbearing pylon that sits in the field. From all of these can spring an embodied enactment of the emerging conversation.
And these three gifts work together. It is only with the embodied sensitivity that we can experience our interconnectedness, and play from that place. Coaching is adventure and discovery. As coaches, we work with clients to discover new paths, step onto them and turn over stones along the way. We find out what we need to know to take the next steps. Being in nature resources us to have that conversation in a bigger context.
If you thought that ‘lockdown’ meant that systemic coaching in nature would have to wait, there’s a way to bring this to clients in the new ‘coaching outdoors’.
With appropriate contracting, we can work with coachees to use the outdoors as a reflective space between sessions. Carefully holding the role of ‘guide’, we can invite them into the systemic coaching in nature that we’d like to be doing in person.
In the world of Systemic Coaching, it’s called a ‘resourcing move’!