What is outdoor coaching ?
Outdoor coaching is a concept where we take our body and mind out of our natural habitats and use the benefits of nature and ‘outdoor sports’ to our advantage and explore and reflect on our personal or professional life.
We all know that sport is good for you, and that nothing beats the fresh nature and mountain air for your health. But why, how and what exactly ? Here are some of the benefits of outdoor coaching ;
Let’s start with sports :
- Sports improve your mood : Physical activity triggers brain chemicals (endorphins) that make you feel happier and more relaxed. It even works as a pain reliever !
- Sports increase social behavior : Team or social sports, allow you to connect with teammates and friends in a recreational setting.
- Sports improve your concentration : Physical activity helps keep your key mental skills sharp. This includes critical thinking, learning, and using good judgment.
- Sports reduce stress and depression : When you are physically active, your mind is distracted from daily stressors. At the same time, it stimulates production of endorphins. These are natural mood lifters that can keep stress and depression at bay.
- Sports improve sleep habits : Physical activities improve the quality of sleep. Sleeping better can improve your mental outlook the next day, as well as improve your mood.
- Sports boost your self-confidence : As your strength, skills, and stamina increase through playing sports, your self-image will improve as well.
- Sports is linked to leadership traits : Because of the opportunity to train, try, win, or lose together, people involved in (team) sports are naturally more inclined to adopt a “team mindset” in the workplace which is a leadership quality.
And how about the outdoors :
- Outdoors increases vitamin D intake and eyesight : Exercising in the outdoors means getting more vitamin D from sunlight, which has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and more. Spending time in natural light can help relieve symptoms of CVS (Computer Vision Syndrome) and nearsightedness.
- Nature is the nemesis of depression : A Stanford University study found walking in a natural environment showed less neural activity in the area of the brain associated with depression than walking in a built-up, urban environment. Getting outdoors, it seems, is a medical and psychological necessity as opposed to just a recreational luxury.
- The outdoors can release your repressed creativity by 50% : Several studies and historical thinkers and artist agree that out in the free, and chaotic harmony of nature, our minds have the opportunity to break free and reach our instinctive, hidden cache of creativity.
- Relaxation; downtime in the nature gives your brain a much needed break : Getting off the grid and leaving those emails and messages behind is an assured way to help you unwind and truly take a breather. Studies also show it significantly reduces cortisol levels and lower heart rates.
- Nature increases productivity : Exercise in a “green” environment has been shown to improve reading, math, concentration, alertness and comprehension.
- Air quality : Fresh air helps increase the immune system, clearing the lungs, creates energy and helps sharpen our mind. Not only the air quality in cities is bad due to pollution but the general indoor air quality is very low due to indoors and city pollutants. (some studies show that oxygen levels which are globally 20.9% are down to 12% – 17% in major polluted cities (Mt Blanc summit: 11.4% oxygen)
But what are the benefits of outdoor sports in coaching ?
Outdoor sports sounds tough, scary and almost as a military training, but keep in mind that nature is open to every single person on earth and the sports we exercise here can be adapted to every ones level and need. So let’s start simple and easy.
For any study, training or coaching session to be effective, the participants need to be motivated to be there. Not only children, but also adults can be eager to ‘go play outside’. Outdoor sports can be exciting, motivational and foremost FUN ! Even with a nicely decorated office or meeting room, nothing beats the beautiful outdoor scenery.
Even though we are not always happy with our situation, professional or otherwise, our daily life is as we can call; our ‘comfort situation’. Stepping out of our comfort zone can be scary and by doing so, we overcome a certain fear which already makes us (feel) stronger and more confident. When stepping out of our comfort zone, our body and mind will take us into a sort of survival mode and our senses become more concentrated and sharp.
When we step out of our comfort zone as a team, it becomes easier. Even if you don’t necessarily know or like the other team mates, you find yourself in a similar situation, which helps you (re-) connect and creates a bond that makes you feel not alone and stronger together. It sort of evokes a camaraderie, which is a start towards trust and respect.
Now, finding yourself in this situation, where we naturally learn to overcome fear and create trust and respect among each other, we use the benefits of outdoor sports and coaching to work on the issues we left back at the office or at home.
Outdoor coaching and Fun and Victory :
No person or situation is the same, therefore at Fun and Victory we propose customized programs where we can adapt to different types of:
- techniques (coaching, collective intelligence, NLP, team-building)
- activities (hike, via ferrata, rafting, pedagogical activities)
- locations (Haute Savoy, Jura mountains, Geneva and Vaud)
- duration (half a day to multiple day)
Here are some of the programs we can provide :
Experiential learning : Using the benefits of outdoor coaching we create situations where we help you evolve personally or as a team : communication, planning, organizing, managing from a distance, teamwork, solutions focus
Team-coaching (not to be confused with team-building) : where we work on specific issues within the team and company.
A leadership journey : During this intensive multiple day journey we use outdoor assignments, indoor workshops, collective intelligence, role-play, coaching and much more to explore leadership worldviews and to identify, understand and experience one’s own leadership model.