About Coaching in Nature

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My Coaching in Nature practice is an extension of my well established NJ Change Management Consultancy and Coaching business where I specialise in helping you make sense of and embrace the changes in your world.

When working with you I take a holistic approach to coaching where I help you gain a deeper understanding of yourself and your impact on others. I invite you to heighten your awareness of how your mind, body and emotions can influence your behaviour and wellbeing. I also encourage you to get curious about the dynamic relationships and environments which are part of your everyday life and see what you can learn from them.

I design solutions to help you reflect, refocus, develop and thrive in your professional and personal life with the added benefit of working with you in nature.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a Coaching in Nature programme look like?

My programmes are tailored to meet the needs of my clients and that starts with a free consultation to see if coaching, and specifically coaching in nature, is for you. I can do this by telephone, Skype, Face Time or in person if that is convenient to us both.

Following on from our conversation I will prepare a proposal for you which will outline how I feel I can help you along with a suggestion of how we can best work together. There will also be an outline of what you can expect from me as your coach, some suggestions as to how you as coachee can get the very best out of your investment in the programme, and a few words about confidentiality and data protection.

The length of coaching programmes depends on what it is you wish to gain from coaching, but typically I will work with you for a minimum of 4 sessions and anything up to 6 to 8 sessions depending on what we are working on. As a rough guide most sessions last a maximum of 2 hours but again depending on what you wish to achieve and your personal learning style and preferences, this will vary.

To get the very best out of your investment in coaching our experience shows that clients benefit from undertaking ‘experiments’ or reading, reflecting and recording thoughts and observations in between sessions. It helps to keep your learning focussed on what goes on in your world, thus more relevant to your situation.

My coaching sessions involve discussion and reflection and from time to time I may offer other techniques to help raise your self-awareness and your relations with others including art, journaling, movement and spatial exercises. I also have a range of tools and techniques to help with managing stress and building resilience.

Crucially, it is your programme, you lead in designing your goals and planning what your programme looks like and how you wish to work in our first formal session. I also offer telephone and email support in between sessions, as well as providing additional learning resources as required.

At the end of every session we check in to see how it was for you, and we agree on any work you are going to undertake in between sessions. I also conduct mid point and end of programme reviews to ensure your expectations and needs are met.

Where do you work with clients?

I work in rural settings in northern England which include woodlands, riverside walks, meadows, nature reserves and mountains in the Lake District, Cumbria, Cheshire, Lancashire, Northumbria and Yorkshire. I also deliver coaching in or around urban areas including canal walks and green spaces.

I am not a fair weather coach but I do recognise that at times the weather can be challenging. In consultation with you, we choose a location where we can get outside if we choose whilst also having the option to work indoors if needed but crucially with a great view of our natural surroundings.

Who will benefit from undertaking a coaching programme in nature?

My experience tells me that anyone at any time can find inspiration from choosing to take their personal development into nature.  For example:

  • Those whose energy is low when in a typical office setting and who appreciate a different space to work on their development;
  • People who have a preference for activity and find the movement and rhythm of walking helps them think more clearly;
  • Those who want to focus on their wellbeing as well as their development by being close to nature;
  • People who might be distracted by the pressures of their daily job and the impact of technology;
  • People who draw energy and inspiration from simply being outside and experiencing the seasons.

What lessons can we learn from nature and take into our own lives?

During our coaching sessions we often draw inspiration from the surroundings we find ourselves in and recognise that we are part of something much bigger and wonderful. My approach to coaching brings our awareness back to nature and helps us to be more mindful in everyday life.

You will often find that being in nature increases your sensory awareness and will help you feel more grounded. Clients often describe the following sensory experiences:

  • Connecting with the ground upon which they walk;
  • Feeling the breeze in their hair;
  • Noticing as if for the first time the many different shades of green in a woodland;
  • Enjoying the fresh smell of rain on the earth;
  • Listening to the ebb and flow of waves on the beach;
  • Noticing and discussing the passage of the seasons;
  • Taking pleasure in watching lambs play in the fields;
  • Tuning into birdsong;
  • Bathing in the beauty of silence.

By connecting with nature through our senses it also enables us to consider what lessons we as humans can observe and apply to our lives. Past clients have been motivated to discuss qualities such as balance, collaboration, communication, adaptability, flow, energy, presence and persistence as a direct result of coaching in nature.

How do we know working in nature helps us?

Everything I do in Coaching in Nature is backed by scientific research as well as my experiences both personally and from working with clients.

Most recently a concept from Japan called shinrin yoku or ‘forest bathing’ has been highlighted in the wellbeing and popular press. This is a common practice where people ‘bathe’ in the atmosphere in the woods to benefit body and mind, and there is strong supporting medical evidence that walking in green space has a direct effect on several systems in our bodies.

Many Western and Eastern university studies highlight the benefits of spending time outdoors and conclude that overall people feel happier, less tired and more positive about themselves.

One NHS Trust in Scotland launched Nature Prescriptions in October 2018 in recognition of the benefits of nature on increasing happiness and reducing anxiety and blood pressure. GP’s in the Shetland Isles can prescribe time spent in nature as part of their patients treatment, and it is hoped that the pilot can be rolled out across the UK.

Key benefits identified by recent research include:

  • Reduction in pulse rate and blood pressure;
  • Drop in cortisol (stress hormone) levels;
  • Exposure to sunlight which increases vitamin D levels in the body which is essential for optimal health;
  • More efficient breathing which is helpful to our body and mind;
  • Decreased activity in the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight response);
  • Increase in endorphins (feel good and pain reduction hormones);
  • Exposure to the powerful compounds and oils from plants and trees helps fight infection;
  • Boost immunity;
  • Feel inspired to be more creative through art, crafting and photography;
  • Boost energy through movement;
  • Decrease exposure to artificial and blue light from spending so much time indoors and using electronic devices.

 

It really does change your perspective when undertaking your coaching outdoors as I somehow felt as if I had created a better environment for my development, where I could explore in detail the issues I was struggling with. Just being away from my desk and my phone helped to minimise any distractions and enabled me to gain so much from my sessions with Nicola.

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