Human beings are natural organisms, and the natural environment is a source of sensory information for them that is essential for their well-being. We have only lived and interacted in predominantly indoor and urban environments for a relatively short period of our evolution and are potentially still much better adapted to outdoor natural environments than artificial and indoor ones. Different types of sensory experience outdoors can influence human beings in different ways depending on the interplay between the circumstances of the individual and the type of experience. They can have an effect on the natural processes of unconscious and conscious cognition and emotions as well as on relational interactions and general physical health and wellbeing.
Coaching outdoors allows freedom of movement both in direction, pace and type. Participants can choose if they want to walk at a slower pace, perhaps as result of a question or thought requiring higher levels of mental concentration, or a more accelerated pace to reflect a heightened sense of urgency, purpose, or agitation. They are able to choose to sit down or stand still, to seek shelter from the rain or sun - the choice is theirs. This alignment between environment and intent is the component of Attention Restoration Theory that states that the outdoor environment can increase cognitive capacity by supporting, enhancing, and restoring directed attention. This cognitive capacity or ‘directed attention’ is the cognitive processing resource used for voluntarily managing thoughts and is at the heart of successful coaching.
Environmental features such as sun, water, wind, trees and wildlife are highly desirable for many people but the patterns of how individuals interact with and are influenced by them can be difficult to predict and everyone is different. Ultimately, being outdoors offers the opportunity to try new things, including new physical experiences, new ways of perceiving the world, new ways of processing insights and new ways of interacting and collaborating; the outdoors fires the imagination in a way different to a conventional indoor setting and at the same time allows great flexibility for individuals to engage intuitively with their unconscious and feelings and motivations in a way that is best suited to them.
“I really enjoyed it. I found it very valuable.”
“Absolutely fantastic. I'm really happy. It's been a great pleasure and it really has been enjoyable.”
“Wow. It's a pleasure and it's been very helpful for me”
“I guess for me, it isn't necessarily a walk in the park…thank you so much…..”