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Taking It Outside

Posted by Zoe Greenwood on Apr 19, 2017 7:00:06 AM

January isn’t the ideal time for resolutions. After all, it’s dark and cold (in the U.K. at least) and really I just want to snuggle down in an armchair with a hot chocolate and forget about my expired gym membership.

Easter time, however, is a different matter — the smell of spring is in the air, tulips add colour to the garden, bluebells carpet woodland floors, and the sun (very often) shines while the birds sing. It’s idyllic. This is the time for dreams, goals and ambitions to appear and settle.

And why not make them outside, given that right now nature is reminding us of its glory? As well as enhancing our mood, reducing stress and improving health, being outside in green and blue spaces helps us to think differently, to see new possibilities and to take inspiration from the natural wonders all around.

A former Earthwatch colleague of mine, Richard Gilmore, recently blogged that a survey conducted in Sydney’s Central Business District revealed 80 percent of people wanted to work outside for part of their day, yet fewer than 10 percent actually did. Technology is no longer the barrier to remote working, but in many office environments it is simply not culturally normal to do so. I wonder if this is the case in other countries across the globe and how committed employers are to changing the status quo.

Gilmore continues that this “mismatch between employees’ workplace aspirations and their lived experience is a missed opportunity to unlock the creativity, productivity and health benefits that nature provides.” As a coach, this concerns me. As someone who designs leadership programs in the outdoors, this also plays on my mind. For even if we stimulate new thoughts and ideas while outside, this benefit will not be sustained if we all return to our four walls.

Balance coaching teaches us about “geography” — how we use space as coaches and the geographic shifts that occur in our clients, i.e., the changes in emotional energy and physicality. I believe that coaching outside and using the natural work as a stimulus can significantly deepen a client’s experience while generating renewed respect for our planet. A simple Google search reveals that many coaches are framing their businesses in this way.

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