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A Walk in the Park

Throughout this year Ian Mackenzie and I have been meeting with coaches and coach supervisors for a monthly lunch time hour of mindfulness in the Park. It has been a blessing that every single month the weather has given us the thumbs up with exceptionally attractive weather. I have really enjoyed coming back to the same place every month. It has enhanced my appreciation of the subtle, and not so subtle, seasonal changes as the year pushed through each month.  Throughout the mindfulness exercises and walking in dialogue, several things stand out most for me:

1)     the quality of attention possibly by going that bit more slowly

2)     being 100% present, really noticing with fascination and deep interest what was  right  in front  of my face and allowing that to speak to what is going on in my mind

3)     Walking through the  work in nature helped the integration of thinking and stimulated insight and ideas

I think I have developed a really intimate relationship with ‘my’ park. I think all our colleagues who joined us regularly might agree they experience Green Park a little differently now.  Nature is a good teacher if we take the time to stop, breathe and connect with it in an active and conscious way. Watching people in determined tides heading from one end of Green Park to the other, intent on the next destination, heads down – they  seemed to be missing so much. The rushing, straining and striving can be managed a little bit better sometimes with a little easing off of the accelerator of life. Might that not also be true for some of our supervisees and clients? The value of this reflective space in the fresh air helps to connect us with to ourselves in a different way than sitting in an office.

Coaching supervision as a walk in the park really interests me. There is something about the notion of being alongside someone in companionable dialogue can really help people do some of their best thinking.  I like the French word ‘accompagnement’ (to accompany someone) and it seems to fit beautifully with the notion of coaching supervision too.

CSA’s Full Spectrum Model supports this idea. It is all about what we as coaching supervisors can do to enable our supervisees to go back to their work with greater resourcefulness as coaches.

With our regular mindful noticing there has been a fascination getting to know the different parts of the park, month after month. It has a cumulative impact. The Park as a container for our experience begins more and more to feel like meeting a familiar and trusted old friend in a known and safe place. Walking slowly a supervisee can review, muse, explore a situation or a piece of work in their practice and re-own it with a different awareness, walking around it, literally, to gain another vista or perspective.

Sometimes just coming outdoors from the constraints of the office energy has a restorative aspect symbolically, energetically and physically. I can’t think how many times someone has said,” I really need to get outside more.” A raft of recent research points to the fact that, in order to stay healthy, we need proper, full spectrum sunlight, rather than just vitamin D in tablet form.

It is too easy to stay indoors. Today I am looking out on the bright blue cloudless sky of the flat lands of Cambridgeshire. The trees have a skeletal bareness, beautiful in their starkness. I am meeting a supervisee for a riverside walk supervision session in the market town 5 miles away.  I am sure we will have an interesting session and nature and this late autumn season will bring the opportunity to tap into the wisdom and insight around. A nice hot chocolate would not go amiss either!

Karyn Prentice December 2011

London EC4 NEW supervision group starts 16  January

Karyn Prentice, Executive accredited Coach, accredited Coach Supervisor (CSA), CSA, Senior Teaching/Tutoring Team.

Join us for a small supervision group meeting lunchtime in the City of London. There will be  an opportunity for individual time as well as plenary discussion to enhance the learning for all. This can also be a space to co-create the topics of greatest interest as well as trying out different  tools and techniques. Please call for more information.  The session will last for 2 hours £50 per person with a group of 4 people.  Call 07721 312 377 (