Nature-Connected Coaching

Written by Michael Jospe Posted in Nature-Connected Coaching

In my previous posts, I’ve written about what professional coaching is, as well as explored the role of the professional coach. In this article, I will discuss what Nature-Connected Coaching is.
It is important to say that Nature, in the context of Nature-Connected Coaching (NCC), is not just “outside". Nature, rather, is everywhere - it is you, in you, and all around you. It is physical, neurological, energetic, emotional, spiritual, and mysterious. Even your thoughts, beliefs and behaviors are nature! Separation from nature is a myth - it is impossible.
In order to maintain health and vitality, we need direct contact with the natural world. The research on not just the qualitative benefits of interaction with the natural world, but also on the deeper, chemical and neurological benefits is only beginning to emerge, yet it is profound.
In the modern era, we tend to insulate ourselves from the the natural world of which we are irrevocably a part. Certainly, a portion of NCC is about allowing the environment around you in, but an even bigger part of the training is remembering how profoundly you are already connected. Connection to the natural world (the elements, animals, etc.) is a part of the unique and dynamic concept that we refer to as “nature-connected”.
IMG 1536What Does it Mean to be Nature-Connected? 
To be nature-connected means to be connected to your Self: your body, mind, soul and spirit. It also means to be connected to the natural world, your environment and the people around you.
When I say “connected”, I am referring to the quality of your relationship to something. So, Nature-Connection, in the context of NCC, implies developing a strong and healthy relationship with Nature (which again encompasses more than just the natural world, but also the body, mind, soul, spirit, your environment and the people around you).
There is a wonderful book that we use in our NCC training called “The Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature”, written by Jon Young, Ellen Haas, and Even McGown. In it, the authors describe the Eight Indicators of Awareness. The “indicators” are signs, clues, or attributes that can be objectively witnessed in yourself and in others as one becomes more connected to nature. These indicators can be used almost diagnostically, if you will, encouraging greater self-reflection and inspiring action in ways that promote profound connection.   
Awareness: The Doorway to Connection
To become more "connected", therefore, is irrevocably linked to a growing and more profound awareness - an awareness of Self, nature, and other. Awareness, then, is the doorway to deeper and more connected relationships. Self-awareness, through healthy, productive self-reflection and observation, allows us to understand how we can improve our life experience, and connect to what feels most natural and right within us. This opens the window for us to be in a conscious and intentional relationship with a core part of us that is wise, grounded and responsive, rather than reactive and impulsive.   
In turn, nature-awareness opens our being to the natural world and the environment around us. As we reach out and connect with the external world through our senses, a shift occurs deep within. It’s as though reaching out externally in awareness creates equally profound internal awareness. Likewise, as one turns inward in intentional self-reflection, an increased and brilliant awareness of the external world begins to occur. 
A Nature-Connected Coach
This is where Professional Coaching comes into the picture! As coaches, we believe that our clients have access to everything they need in order to achieve their goals and improve their lives in the ways in which they desire. We also believe that the goals our clients strive to attain are motivated by something much greater than self-gain surface-level improvements - we see these motivations as the first step towards a more connected and healthy relationship with Nature - the nature of self, other, and the natural world.
IMG 1959Nature-Connected Coaching, then, is really about coaching in collaboration with Nature, in all its forms. NCCs understand and recognize that Nature is playing an active and supportive role in the developmental process of our clients. So, instead of holding the belief that as coaches, we have all the answers, we look to Nature within our clients, ourselves and the environment around us for guidance, clarity and direction. 
What does it mean to "look to nature?" Look for the next installment!

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