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What is nature-based coaching?

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What is nature-based coaching? (aka slow coaching)


Nature-based coaching draws on my observations of how nature grows plants (and other beings), rather than how the modern world assumes that people grow.


Any gardener knows that in order to thrive plants need good conditions: the right soil, nutrients, water and sunlight. We can draw on these principles, perfectly designed by nature, to grow our own thriving life, beginning from the ground by building our ‘soil’. 


As well as countless living nutrients and organisms, soil is built from dead and decaying matter, which adds to its richness and life-giving properties. In nature-based coaching, we begin by looking at what you most need to ‘compost’, or let go of: which habits, behaviour patterns, situations, roles, or relationships need to go, so that you can start planting new seeds of change? 


This ‘letting go’ and building compost is essential for any of us who would like our lives to flourish in a way that’s more sustainable, satisfying and successful.  


Applying this to your own personal growth some questions to consider are:


  • What are you ready, or willing, to let go of in your life?    

  • What do you need to leave behind?     

  • What needs to be allowed to die, to create the best 'soil' conditions for your new seeds of opportunity to germinate and grow?    


This might include:


  • old habits, or behaviour patterns, that no longer serve you    

  • a relationship, or friendship, that's draining, toxic, or has simply run its course    

  • a job that's unfulfilling, or dead-end    

  • habitual ways of thinking that cause anxiety, misery, or dis-ease    

  • a home, or location that you’re ready to move on from    

  • a feeling of emptiness, lostness, or confusion about your direction, or purpose in life

​When we’ve built our ‘soil’ by ‘composting’ what no longer serves us, we’ll need strong roots to ground us, keeping us steady as we nurture the seeds of our new hopes, dreams, and intentions. So, next we look at the ‘mycelial networks’ that provide information and support to the roots, exploring questions like: who and what is there around you that might support you in your journey? 


We’re each an integral element of the natural world, as well as being part of a human community or society, so this support may come from the more-than-human world, as well as the human realm.  

Next, we spend some time observing and listening to our situation, sensing into what’s blowing on the wind, what wants to be grown here at this time? This is quite different from using your mind to decide on a goal, then choosing the steps needed to get there.


After some time observing and sensing, we can begin to choose what we want to achieve, or harvest: which seeds may do well in this soil, in these conditions, with this support network? 


Now, we’re ready to explore how best to water and tend the young shoots of our vision, intention or dream, so that it may grow organically and sustainably (without chemicals!). Here, we consider what skills, qualities, knowledge and experience you already have that you can draw on to support your growth, as well as any new ones you need to acquire or practice.


Finally, we can harvest and celebrate the fruits of our love and labour. This last stage of marking and celebrating your achievements and successes is essential to continuing the positive cycle of growth. It has echoes of ancient pagan traditions of ‘harvest festivals’ and the ceremonies of giving thanks and reciprocity that are found across the world, in indigenous cultures.

This nature-based coaching process isn’t linear, but follows a spiral path. As we review and celebrate what we’re harvesting, we can give back to earth and compost any elements that are no longer needed or beneficial.

Who is nature-based coaching for?


I’ve coached people of different backgrounds, ages and nationalities, and something I hear again and again is that they’re at a crossroads, or transition point, with what they want to offer in the world. They tell me they want to live more authentically, in closer alignment with what they love in life, which includes caring for the natural world. 


Some clients have told me they want to find their calling, or purpose, which may be their own way of helping people connect with nature more deeply. But, although they have a strong feeling about what they’d love to do, they’re not sure how best to go about it. They don’t know exactly what it might look like, or how they’ll sustain themselves as they make the transition from their current situation. This is true of people across the generations, from young people to those already in retirement, who feel they have much more yet to give.


I really know this. I wrestled with this dilemma myself for about seven years before  finally stepping away from my worthy job in the voluntary sector, to create something even more meaningful and aligned with my values and sense of purpose.


Two things I hear frequently from people who come to me is that they’re looking for more clarity about their next steps, and more confidence, or belief, in their ability to do what their heart is longing for.


They’re fed up with feeling dissatisfied. Even if they’re already doing good work, something feels out of kilter, some part of them feels unfulfilled and life feels monotonous, or wearing, or worse. 


It’s as though there’s a constant background niggle to do something differently, something more meaningful that contributes to a kinder, ecologically flourishing world. Of course change can feel risky and there are often internal barriers, like lack of trust, confidence, clarity, or self-belief that can keep us stuck in an unfulfilling situation.


This is where nature-based coaching comes in. It supports us to overcome our real or imagined barriers, align with a deeper sense of purpose, and find a clear pathway to a more meaningful life.


  • Nature-based coaching may be for for you if you want to make changes in your life by sensing into and leading from your heart and body, rather than leading with your ever busy thinking mind, or being led or pushed by someone else’s agenda..


  • It's for you if you love the natural world and would enjoy exploring your own life in a way that’s in harmony with nature, honouring its wisdom.


  • It’s for you if you have had enough of the language and frameworks of the corporate machine that dominates so many of our mainstream institutions, including our education systems and workplaces.


  • This is for you if you’re looking for support and encouragement from a compassionate, intuitive coach who’ll walk alongside you, holding a strong safe space in which you can explore.


If this sounds good and you’d like to explore whether I’m the right coach for you, please get in touch.

I offer initial complimentary coaching sessions to people who want to experience nature-based coaching, with no sales pitch or expectation to continue. Only then, if you feel that my approach is a good fit for you, we can arrange another call to explore walking on together for as long as you choose.





“I've just had my first nature-based coaching session with Karen and it was a truly wonderful experience for me. During the session, I explored some areas where I seek improvement in my life, and thanks to Karen's guidance I found fresh perspectives on things that I've felt stuck on for a while. After the session I felt lighter, and also energised to take steps to make the improvements I would like to. I really loved Karen's warm and gentle approach and would encourage anyone to try a session." ~ Eliza Christopherson
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