Bringing outdoors into online sessions

Coaching outdoors isn’t what it used to be. Two people walking shoulder-to-shoulder isn’t a go-er at the moment. But does that mean we can’t coach working with the same outdoor intelligence as when we were walking with our clients?

I don’t think so. The potential is too great to miss. Working online and people spending more time outdoors means working with the intelligence in Nature is coming into its’ own. Since early humans we’ve experienced a more dynamic intelligence outdoors. Now more than ever we need to be working with our somatic, spiritual and systemic intelligence. Going into Nature switches it on. Coaching in this context deepens that engagement.

We connect with our systemic intelligence in Nature as our bodies engage and the surface noise of daily life drops away. We do the sensing and presencing that we need to find our place with today’s challenges (Scharmer & Kaufer, 2013). In connection with something greater than ourselves, we become more conscious of what’s important to us, and the work that is ours to do in the world.

We also think better outdoors (O’Hara, 2019). We become ‘cognitively mobile’ and brain areas connect diversely creating fresh solutions. Gold dust for the coaching conversation.

I’ve deepened my practice of spending time out early each morning as Spring has unfolded. The value to my work is palpable. Firstly, it takes me resourced and clear-thinking into super vision and coaching calls back at my desk. Secondly, I’ve had creative downloads as I walk that have enabled me to write and reposition my coaching practice to do the work that’s mine to do.

Now I’m inviting clients into their own practice of reflecting outdoors as an extension to the coaching space. I guide them in how they can use their time out to deepen their coaching inquiry. Digging into my experience of adventure and vision quest, I bring them approaches and tools they can use to find insight and fresh solutions.  They work with Nature as co-facilitator in their own daily practice.

So, coaching outdoors looks like something different at that point. Something that builds a more spacious and dynamic coaching space.


  1. In Praise of Walking, Prof Shane O’Mara, 2019
  2. Leading from the Emerging Future, Otto Scharmer & Katrin Kaufer, 2013