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Coaching while hiking: 5 good things.

Today was an experiment. My coaching client was looking to make some career changes to be able to do more of what he is passionate about. He is an outdoors kind of guy so it seemed like a good idea to go for a hike while listening to his thoughts on what’s going well (that he’d like to keep doing) and what he would like to be doing with the rest of his life. Bangor City Forest is an ideal location for a not-too-demanding hike, and it was late spring…not too warm. We hoped the blackflies and mosquitoes would not be too distracting (and they weren’t) …

First good thing: my client was able to talk in depth about all the things he likes about his current life and life balance. We were able to brainstorm ideas about future possibilities and ruled out some dead ends that had (at first) sounded like good options. We ended up with a good plan of next steps and things to explore. So…the goals of the coaching session were met. As my client said “I really treasure the time you carved out for the coaching session. There were several lightning bolt moments. I think the confluence of exercise, a beautiful day, your good questions for me, and the free form nature of our talk all added up to a dynamic time” …

Second good thing: I usually take notes when meeting with clients. Because of a printer malfunction I didn’t even have the questions I sent ahead of time, and I didn’t want the distraction of stopping to write things down. This meant the conversation was more unstructured and freer flowing, and more spontaneous. We did a verbal summary of next steps over lunch and that worked just fine. I think some of the questions I asked were stimulated by where we were, and might not have come up in a conference room…

Third good thing. We both got about 8 miles of walking in. I try to get exercise every day and this helped us both towards our exercise goals.

Fourth. I’ve heard the saying “The are no coincidences”. As we were talking about using the outdoors to help “heal” people through exposure to the wilderness and volunteering to cut trails and preserve natural habitats we bumped into a friend of mine (and his dog) on the trail who had spent about 30 years of his working life doing exactly what my client was thinking of doing. A helpful resource showed up when needed!

Fifth. Late spring in Maine has an abundance of spring flowers and new growth…the trees and mosses and ferns. Everything was vibrant and we stopped often to look at the colorful flowers and exotic plants along the trail. Pink and purple were the main colors today. The flowers made the hike even more memorable and enjoyable. I posted some of the pictures on Facebook and will use them in some of my future Blogs.

Today was an experiment. It worked, and I look forward to doing more work out in the woods, on the hiking trails, on the golf course and fishing in Maine’s world-class rivers.

If you want to try coaching in the outdoors…please get in touch. Summer is short!

David Green

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