Here at The Leadership Coaches, we know the benefits that exercise and the great outdoors have on our mental well-being. As a result, we frequently incorporate walk and talk coaching into our leadership coaching services.
To give you a flavour of the benefits of walk and talk coaching, we have shared several associated benefits with you here.
Leadership Coaching Types
Prior to sharing the benefits of walk and talk coaching with you, it is important to gain an understanding of the different types of leadership coaching currently employed. Below, you will find just a few examples.
Traditional Leadership Coaching
Traditionally corporate coaching was an office-based activity, where coach and coachee would sit in a four-walled office to talk confidentially about the goals that the coachee aimed to achieve.
Coaching began to evolve into a hybrid of both face-to-face and virtual through the early 2000s.
During the period 2010-2020, more organisations were embracing virtual coaching, and this opened the doors for many people to source their leadership coaching across the globe. In 2020, gripped by the pandemic, the only option for many was to embrace virtual coaching via Zoom, MS Teams, etc. or over the telephone.
Walk and Talk Coaching
Although some still consider the idea of walk and talk coaching a relatively new concept, many of our coaches have worked this way for years, bestowing the many benefits of walk and talk coaching. Let’s explore this growing demand in this blog.
Pause, breathe and imagine.
Wherever you are reading this blog, we invite you to pause, take a deep refreshing breath and imagine your favourite walking spot. For a moment, try closing your eyes and picture the views. How does it make you feel when you walk there?
Simply doing the above exercise will likely have released a little serotonin (the feel-good hormone) into the system.
What Are The Benefits of Walk and Talk Coaching?
Exercise and Optimism
We know the benefits of exercise on our physical health, and being sat in an office is a very different experience to strolling through the countryside, by the sea or your local park.
Exercise improves your physical health and naturally releases endorphins, which the body produces to relieve stress and pain. They also promote optimism which assists coaching by strengthening a solutions-focused mindset.
Being in Nature
Numerous studies demonstrate the benefits of being in nature, such as;
• Reduces anger, fear and stress
• Increases Vitamin D, a natural mood booster
• Assists restorative sleep through the regulation of melatonin from natural daylight
• Lowers stress hormones and improves blood pressure
Look on any respectable mental health and well-being website. The number one tip for mental health and well-being is to get outdoors, as this is a natural mood booster and when we consider the Mental Health pandemic that is predicted as we evolve from the Covid-19 pandemic, what better way to support one of the number one challenges of the executive world: stress.
Prevention is better than cure when it comes to Mental Health and well-being. Combining the great outdoors with helping leaders solve challenges and identify ways forward seems to be a win/win option!
Blue Sky Thinking
According to Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), when we think, our eyes move in a variety of directions, looking up signals creative thinking, which can open up new and varied options. In a typical office-based coaching room, there is a limit. The ceiling and walls, for example.
Whereas outdoors, we can access ‘blue sky thinking’ where we are more likely to be open to new concepts, access new ideas and be less restricted in our thinking.
Take Your Coach With You
If you and your coach are located nearby each other, you can meet and walk and talk together. Alternatively, you can choose where to walk and talk, and your coach can be located anywhere across the globe and will usually be walking and talking too!
The Environment As A Communication Tool: Metaphors and Analogies
Being out in nature gives rise to some great coaching techniques that can bring coaching to life in the coachees surroundings. Some methods such as metaphors and analogies help the coachee to tap into new options, discuss challenges or identify how to overcome challenges.
A few that we’ve heard include;
- “It’s like climbing this mountain without stopping for a rest!”
- “Stepping back today and seeing the view reminds me that I sometimes forget to see the big picture.”
- Whilst walking past an ice cream van – “If I could choose my perfect director, I’d opt for something other than vanilla. We’ve a bit too much vanilla already!”.
Points To Consider When Setting Up Walk and Talk Coaching
Having shared the benefits of walk and talk coaching with you, we have outlined a few posts to consider when setting up walk and talk coaching below.
Location, Location, Location
Depending on your location, you may choose to meet your coach for a walk and talk coaching session. This removes any technology challenges.
Before coaching over the telephone, it is essential to check that you will both have good mobile reception on the route you plan to walk.
We suggest using a headset with a built-in microphone to save holding the handset for a long time, which is not suitable for the posture.
Health and Safety
Coach and coachee are responsible for their own health and safety. Share with one other person the area in which you will be walking. Choose a route that’s not too physically challenging or distracting, e.g. a cliff edge!
Depending on the season, consider the impact of harsh wind whistling through your microphone and choose a suitable location.
As coaching is designed to move someone forward to progress, their objectives, notes and action plans are a normal part of the coaching session. The coach and coachee will agree on how to do this as part of their contracting or pre-coaching preparation.
It can be helpful to have a bumbag or something similar to hold some A6 blank postcards and a pen. Alternatively, the phone can be handy to make notes. We advise stopping to make notes before continuing your walk.
For example, for some coaching activities, a debrief of a leadership 360° profile is not suitable for walk and talk coaching, so we recommend that you consider the context and decide when walk and talk coaching suits your needs.
Give Walk and Talk Coaching A Try
As the saying goes, “you don’t know until you try” if this is a new concept to you, why not give it a try?
Get Started Today
We work with medium to large corporate organisations worldwide to service their leadership and management development needs.
For a complimentary consultation with Director of Coaching Zoe Lewis, give us a call on 0800 345 7727 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.