What is Outdoor LifeCoaching?
During outdoor life coaching we utilize everything around us in the process of coaching.
Nature has a relaxing influence on the body and mind, which strongly contributes to gaining insights and emotions.
The coach and the client use the wide variety of plants, animals, objects, landscapes, and even changes in the weather in various creative ways. Nature is also very useful for serving as a symbol of the client’s mental and emotional processes. The combination of the riches of the environment and all sorts of physical activities makes outdoor life coaching provide the coach and client great strength, depth, and resources.
The symbolism of nature is constantly involved in this coaching process. Nature is actually considered to be a second coach. To get the process going the coach will ask two basic questions: ‘What do you notice in the surroundings?’ and ‘What does that symbolise for you?’
Walking is one of the most important activities of outdoor life coaching. This form of coaching literally gets the coach and client going and therefore the mental and emotional processes are set in motion and the brain is stimulated. The paths in nature the coach and client take symbolise the actual paths the client takes in life. The environment changes with every step the coach and client take just like the vision on the path of life. By walking and talking simultaneously the head and body or rather mind and emotions are connected. Creativity, intuition, and intellectual clarity are also strongly stimulated by walking.
Integration of the weather and climate
One can always use the method of outdoor life coaching in every climate and weather. We integrate the condition and the changes in the weather during the coaching sessions. The sun, for example, may symbolise enlightening insights or warm feelings. Clouds also have a language of their own. It often happens that the sun suddenly comes out when a client gets a clear insight while he or she is talking. Rain can stir up feelings of grief that have not been properly dealt with or it can wash away issues that are resolved . The wind may send the message that things have to get going. No wind could symbolise inner peace. When it’s cold, this may reflect inner coldness and encourage the client to seek inner warmth. Lightning is a fantastic natural phenomenon; it may symbolise working out a conflict or ambivalences in life, but it could also mean cheerful fireworks. We emphasize during life coaching outdoors that no interpretation is fixed – the client gives personal meaning to each natural phenomenon.
A life coach helps people to shape their lives based on their deepest desires and talents.
Life coaching investigates three fundamental life questions: who am I, what am I capable of, and what do I want?
Someone who is happy and successful constantly experiences life as a challenge: life is exciting, adventurous, and inspiring. Yet being happy is not so simple. In the first place it requires a lot of self-knowledge and inner freedom. Furthermore our happiness can be disrupted by doing the “wrong” job, leading an unhealthy life, associating with the “wrong” people, not standing up for ourselves, or carrying unresolved issues.
Life coaching focuses on recognizing these constricting factors and setting up and restyling life in a way that complete happiness ensues. In order to be happy we have to find proper balance in life. Life coaching focuses on: creating balance in life and in our personality.
Who am I?
The basis of success and happiness is self-knowledge. That is why we start by asking the question who am I? In life coaching someone’s personality is compared to the shape of a tree. When a tree has sufficient space, nutrition, and sunlight, it will develop in a healthy manner and achieve full maturity. In human beings we also note this urge to achieve full blossom. All important aspects of human nature are symbolised by the various parts and spheres of a tree.
A life coach helps people to shape their lives based on their deepest desires and talents. Life coaching is coaching in which the whole life of a person is scrutinized and the client is stimulated to take charge of designing his or her life. Both the professional and personal aspects of life are dealt with. Special attention is paid to the balance between work and leisure, increasing self-confidence, stress management, communication skills, developing talents, coordinating career planning with life planning, improving relationships, and developing a positive vision of the future. The primary goal of life coaching is deepening happiness and success.
Areas of application
With a life coach clients will focus on the most important aspects of their lives.
A life coach helps people to improve their personal growth and efficiency and \ outline a career best suited to their course of life and specific qualities. A life coach motivates and inspires people to establish better balance among the four fundamental life spheres both at work and in the personal sphere.
A life coach helps people solve individual problems as well as problems that arise within organizations. Problems on all levels can effectively be addressed and solved with short-term interventions. A coach can manage groups and organizations and provide training courses to lower absence sickness, reduce stress and conflicts in the workplace, and teach employers how to provide employees with a healthy work environment and lower stress in doing so.
A life coach searches for deeper and more subconscious causes of problematic situations for individuals and groups. The coach possesses various powerful psychodynamic methods to address open and hidden conflicts, find the underlying motives, and focus on questions related to the meaning of life.
Main areas of application of (outdoor) life coaching
- Stress release
- Prevention of burnout
- Recovering from burnout
- Increasing self-confidence
- Finding the true meaning of life, passion, and insight
- Finding personal balance
- Career and educational decisions
- Improving relationships
- Midlife crisis and menopause
- Team building
The Tree of Life
A metaphor of life coaching
The four spheres of the Tree of Life
There are four main areas in which every human being wants to develop and achieve full happiness. We call them the four spheres of the Tree of Life: top, bottom, left, and right.
At the bottom of the tree we find the intrapersonal sphere – the area of our individual consciousness and subconsciousness. At the top of the tree we find the transpersonal sphere – the area of spirituality, our outlook on life, and our intuition. On the left and right we find the interpersonal sphere – the area of relationships divided into personal and social relationships. Everything that happens in our lives can be assigned to one of these spheres.
Bottom: The intrapersonal sphere
The intrapersonal sphere consists of the lower part of the Tree of Life. Underground lies our subconscious, above the ground our consciousness. The roots of the tree symbolize how grounded we are in the culture in which we grew up. They are full of latent talents and impressions from our past.
The tree trunk represents our physical strength and psychological backbone that shows how strong, flexible, and self-assured we are. The rings of the tree contain all the memories and experiences we have had in life. The branches contain all the skills and abilities related to our daily functioning such as eating, sleeping, relaxing, moving, thinking, dreaming, protecting, controlling, etc. The leaves in this sphere represent our inner senses. We use them to observe the thoughts, feelings, and desires arising in our consciousness and subconsciousness. Through the blossoms we express new insights into ourselves. Finally, the fruits symbolize ripe insights into ourselves that we like to show to the world.
Left: the interpersonal private sphere
The interpersonal private sphere – the left side of the tree – consists of the relationships with our partner, children, friends, family members, acquaintances, and pets. We all need good personal relationships to feel connected, share good and bad times, relax, have fun, and learn how to communicate properly with others.
The branches contain the skills and insights we have built in our personal spheres. The branches also symbolize the personal roles we play as partners, fathers, mothers, friends, or girlfriends.
Through the leaves we communicate with people in the private sphere and enjoy each other’s company. Through the blossoms we give and receive inspiration and love and enjoy intimacy and sexuality with our partners. The ripe fruits in this area symbolize the care and wisdom we have to offer in our private sphere.
Right: the interpersonal social sphere
The interpersonal sphere on the right side of the tree is the area of career, education, politics, society, science, art, and culture. We need this sphere for our income, but also for boosting our self-confidence, expanding our talents, achieving our goals and – just like in the private sphere – learning how to communicate properly.
The branches symbolize the skills and insights we have acquired in the social sphere and the roles we play there.
Through the leaves we communicate with people in the social sphere. Through the blossoms we give and receive inspiration. The ripe fruits in this sphere represent the products, services, and advice we can offer to society.
Top: the transpersonal sphere
In the transpersonal sphere we distance ourselves from our daily activities and step out of the roles we play. From this higher sphere we survey the overall goal of our lives, the meaning of our existence, death, and the afterlife. The branches contain all the insights we have acquired on the philosophical and spiritual levels.
Through the leaves we are in contact with the cosmos and communicate with our intuition. Through the blossoms we exchange inspiration with our fellow men and feel affection for the world we live in. Finally, the ripe fruits symbolize the wisdom and inspiration we have to offer to our fellow men.
The whole tree and its core
The centre of the tree contains the “I”, our deepest self.. This is the ultimate observer of all our sense impressions and interpreter of our life force. It connects all spheres within the tree. The overall form of the tree represents our character, but also the connection between our body and personality.
What do I want?
Our self, or pure essence, is the source of our consciousness and life energy. From the core of our personality it provides us with the energy to develop ourselves. This energy is focused on the development of our talents and creation of a balanced growth of our personality. Someone with powerful desires has a great store of life energy. We are happiest when we acknowledge these desires. They are as powerful as the water in a mighty river. They are very special desires, which keep reappearing in our lives. That is why in life coaching we regularly pose questions such as ‘what is it that I want in life?, what am I passionate about?, what is really meaningful in my life ?, what do I excel at?, what kind of people do I want to surround myself by?’. The desires of the self are in fact the expressions of our deepest goals. They are messages from the heart that tell us what is our best course in life. When we follow these leads, we will create more and more happiness for ourselves and everyone around us and enjoy continuing personal growth.
What am I capable of?
The next question is: what am I capable of?. Each human being is born with various talents. These are latent capabilities emerging from our true nature. In our early childhood – in the roots of the Tree of Life – it is already clear what these talents are.
We know that some children are naturally communicative and will want to develop in that direction. Some children are naturally technical and will master complicated devices at an early age. Some children are naturally artistic, while others are born leaders.
In life coaching we spend a lot of time identifying these talents and how best to develop them. We also look at possible inhibitions hindering the development of these talents.
However, there are areas of life for which we do not have clear-cut talents, but which deserve special attention nonetheless. A child may have a lot of technical talent, but may be socially underdeveloped. The child will tend to focus exclusively on technical skills to the detriment of social skills. It goes without saying that this will result in problems on an intrapersonal level. At a given moment someone like that will want to start developing his social skills despite his apparent lack of talent for them. The stunted growth in this area will make him unhappy and lead to the realization that the personality needs to become more balanced.
Just like the human personality, a healthy tree is an organism which grows, blossoms, and comes to fruition. The tree is constantly processing sunlight, carbon monoxide, water, and minerals into oxygen, leaves, wood, pollen, and fruits. In the same way a healthy human being is constantly engaged in giving and receiving in all areas of life. When this proceeds well, a person will be physically and emotionally healthy.
The balance of life
There is a constant connection among the four spheres. To become happy we have to pay attention to all four spheres and balance them. If we neglect one or more, our happiness will be impaired, which can even result in health problems.
People who are mainly concerned with their careers will neglect their relationships in their private lives, their inner self, and the transpersonal dimension. They are focused exclusively on the social branches of the tree. Then the tree will grow unstable or crooked. Eventually people like this will become overworked and depressed.
People who do not lead a social life are not happy either. Eventually they will start to feel isolated and lack the creativity, power, and insight that result from interaction on a social level.
People who are only focused on the spiritual world will lose contact with their inner self, their private lives, and society. On the other hand people who do not develop spiritually at all will lack faith in a higher guiding force and a vision of meaningful existence.
Finally, there are people who are only concerned with themselves. They do not develop sufficient social skills and will end up feeling lonely. Diametrically opposite are people who do not take enough time for themselves. Eventually they will lose touch with their inner self.
After we have thoroughly investigated the four spheres of life, our talents, and our desires we will start to create our individual life design. The design of our future life. This design is squarely based on our life’s assignments and talents. During the design of our lives we will constantly look at the four life spheres. First of all we have to discover and accept our needs and wishes in the intrapersonal sphere. Then we will check to see if they are in harmony with the intrapersonal and transpersonal spheres.
Next we will look at which steps we will need to take to make our wishes come true. We will create our LifeDesign as a big picture. And we will leave the details to the natural flow of life.
LifeDesigning means that we become the designers or directors of our lives.
During the designing process we have to constantly consider our inner self (the intrapersonal sphere), other people (the interpersonal sphere), and the influence of nature and the cosmos (the transpersonal sphere). When we design our lives in harmony with the four spheres, all our desires will be fulfilled.
Life coaching is for experts in the art of living. They design their lives in such a way as to gain happiness for themselves and everyone around them.