Fort William

Fort William MTB World Cup Course

I work in what seem to be completely contrary environments.

In one I've got clients that spend much of their lives outside in open, wild and risky environments and in the other it's indoors in typical office space.

With one set of clients I end up spending a lot of time outdoors and in the other, I'm cooped up in their offices with them.

This gives me a unique perspective on coaching in different physical environments and why it's more important than we think...

When I'm outdoors doing my work, I find myself energised, fulfilled, satisfied, and many times awe inspired, simply by the nature of the environment. I feel like I'm filled up with a breath of fresh air and a new lease of life (even when I'm soaked through and freezing cold). The environment itself helps me to think more freely and easily somehow. And interestingly this feeds into the relationship with my clients and the work we do. It changes the nature of their experience in some really interesting and profound ways sometimes.

In the office space, it's always a bit more serious and somber, the quality of mind is a bit thicker and heavier and somehow the process is also a bit more sluggish, almost as if we're working against some invisible restraints. Often the tone of the conversation becomes more abstract and intellectual too - there's less of the immediate felt experience present in the room.

In the executive coaching world, the goals typically associate with the growth & development of the executive/leader, performance, finding new ways of doing things and thinking through the big questions to make sensible decisions (essentially stepping into a more creative/innovative space) etc. Yet to do this the coaching industry defaults to facilitating this in what is usually, and to be honest, a pretty uninspiring space (and I have to say this goes for some of the so called open minded companies and their office spaces too!).

meeting room

Why is it then that we don't apply a bit more consideration to the nature and quality of the physical environment where we do the coaching work?

Naively we end up dismissing the importance of the physical quality of the environment where we're looking to do what is really important personal work. We do this by going straight to an abstract, intellectual space and label that as the learning space - which it isn't and it never will be. This is not the most effective space to be learning and growing by a long shot.

So when you're next in the office and have a moment to reflect; sit back, have a look around you and ask yourself how you're actually responding to that environment. Is it a space that really facilitates what you need?

I am always happy to offer my clients the opportunity to explore work in alternative environments and part of the delight of this is in finding environments that really make you sing. It just takes the courage to physically step out of the box too!

Give it a try....

(Image credits: Meeting room - K2Space (CC BY 2.0) | Title image: Fort William MTB World Cup - my own photo)

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