Introducing Coach Walks©

22 Jun

Coaching With Body Movement

Innovation in Coaching

World renowned dancer Martha Graham once said, “The body never lies.” Her influence on dance and movement has been compared to that of Picasso’s in the modern visual arts. As a coach, I know that body language and micro expressions give insight into a client’s process during coaching sessions. But what if there was a way to utilize movement not only to reveal a client’s deeper responses, but to also tap emotional and physical states needed for powerful, tipping point changes?

Martha Graham

“The body never lies” Martha Graham

This is exactly what I’ve been practicing of late with my own clients, during what I call Coach Walks©. This week’s post highlights the trait of our ability to innovate, a spiritual quality that we all possess. It’s about making gentle changes to our daily lives in everything we do as well as in the way we engage kinesthetics in the coaching process.

Moving Bodies Are Open to Change

The physical, the emotional, and the possible are interconnected. This is fairly obvious if you consider how many systems are working in tandem throughout our body. Even on a personal level, don’t we all feel better when we are living well? It’s long been known that a healthy mind needs a healthy body. But think about this – how many hours a day are we stationary in front of computers, or commuting from one place to another? For how many hours of our lives are we not engaging our body’s potential?

Short answer: Too many.

I began thinking about this, and was struck with a new idea for that hour spent with my coaching clients: We need to get moving. In NLP, we use a technique called ‘Walking with Grace’ that engages the body’s position, response and physiology by tapping ‘power positions’ that train the mind to feel powerful through movement. And so, I decided to innovate using this technique. Innovation, to me, is also about transforming creative ideas into something new or different which can make a positive change for others, and that further fulfills our purpose in life.

What resulted from that creative process are Coach Walks©. A coaching session might start with a cup of tea, after which we go for a short walk through the nearby field, then we return to the office and recap the takeaways from the walking conversation.

Through movement, we can tap different

I’ve observed these client responses and accomplishments since we’ve started our Coach Walks©:

  • enthusiasm for booking the next appointments;
  • encoding resource states into body movements;
  • movement helping to anchor and build upon takeaways from one coaching session to another;
  • the creation of both a relaxing and engaging mindset for coaching exercises;
  • the unconscious mind guiding clients’ movement, direction and solutions in our environment, tapping into the Reticular Activation System;
  • the open body movements in moving one leg after the other encourage the body and mind to think forward;
  • disassociation by ‘leaving the problems’ at a certain landmark and walking away.

And for myself I’ve realized:

  • a better experience for myself as a coach in getting out of the office;
  • a deeper engagement between myself and my clients.

How is this innovative? It takes the traditional culture of a static coaching meeting and shakes up the idea. Through movement, we can tap different types of responses that go beyond the conversation – from visual space, movement and rhythm, and more. These resourceful emotions are encoded in the body through motion. It’s incredible!

Why are Coach Walks© having such meaningful results? I’ve asked myself this and have been studying the impact of kinetics in coaching. Here are three elements of the kinesthetic that can be triggered when I invite my clients to move.

Tactile Response: We have nerves all along our skin, which are receptive to touch. These nerves ‘know’ what it is to be comforted with a hand held, a shoulder stroked, or a touch of breeze against the cheek. So many of these sensations can bring back very clear experiences in the body and in our minds. This sets the stage for the client to relax as the coaching begins.

Proprioceptive responses: Let’s go deeper. Did you know we have nerves everywhere in our body, including our muscles, which shoot messages throughout our tissues? So when my clients and I take Coach Walks©, our muscles move, nerves are stimulated, and with each step we are building/imprinting possibility into our bodies in a new way.

Visceral pathways: These are associated with instincts and emotions as the nerves are also connected to the organs and are associated with ‘gut’ responses. Imagine how at times you have trouble distinguishing between things like a stomach ache and deep anxiety.

To develop new ideas while moving isn’t new. Masters like Da Vinci were known for their walks, and Steve Jobs was known for his walking meetings. I’ve personally taken inspiration from Mark Waldman’s work on mindfulness and physiology.

Still aren’t convinced? Don’t miss this fantastic article from Stanford News on how Creativity is sparked while walking.





One Response to “Introducing Coach Walks©”


  1. Self-Improvement and Body Movement | Women's Business Network of Ottawa - June 26, 2015

    […] This is exactly what I’ve been practicing of late with my own clients, during what I call Coach Walks©. . . read on here. […]

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