Friday, November 15, 2013

Hike coaching in Königsforst

It was raining the whole time in Cologne.

I was wondering what if the whole thing is cancelled, when five minutes after ten in the morning I was still loitering all by myself in Königsforst at the final stop of tram number 9. In a little while the others arrived as well and we started off.

The one-day long hike coaching was organized by a German coach, Ute Zumkeller with the title "Ideen in Bewegung bringen" (Put our thoughts in motion), and the location was Königsforst situated right next to Cologne. Three of us participated in the hike and as all three of us were coaches, so the hike felt like a small moving workshop.

On the way there I was reading Carl R. Rogers' book entitled 'On becoming a person' in which the author says that therapy (and the supporting trainings in general) is a human and unpredictable journey. Our hiking was also human and unpredictable: we got lost a few times, our shoes got wet, we tried to figure out the map together and all of us were happy when at the end of the day we found a restaurant. As it was raining we bumped into only a very few, determined runners, so under these circumstances we were able to listen only to our thoughts. 

It felt nice to be in the forest again, it felt good to leave the city behind.

We started our collective journey with a warm-up activity, afterwards with the leadership of our coach we used the ILP (Integrierte Lösungsorientierte Psychologie und Persönichkeitsentwicklung) technique to discuss questions which interested us. As the topic of the other participant was also professional growth, challenges and courage, it did not matter that instead of a private conversation we were discussing things in a small group. 

While hiking thoughts take wings easier, we see the situations back home much clearer, it seems sometimes that by the end of the day a few questions find answers spontaneously. 

It was a good experience that the relationship between the coach and the coachee can become really strong during a hike. Things learnt at the proactive coaching courses can be easily applied while being in the nature. Acting out the discussion between fear and courage was an illuminating talk.

I really appreciated that the one-day program did not pretend to be more or less than it actually was: a good hike at a beautiful place, an open and honest discussion with a sympathetic coach. During the day we also had some time for a little professional chit-chat. I learnt for example that a number of German states financially support the participants of coach trainings. I did not know that there are travel agencies which offer 1-week long hike coaching programs in a well-equipped monastery that has wellness facilities and offers bio food.

At the end of our hike we stopped in the drizzling rain, Ute got out his notes from his backpack and read us a tale. It was about two eaglets who were learning to fly. One of them is flapping its wings dauntlessly and strongly, goes at it hard and each time it falls back on the ground. The other one simply outspreads its wings and lets the wind pick it up. The first one is trying over and over again dauntlessly and strongly but always ends up on the ground. Finally, when – swooning from tiredness – it stops flapping and simply outspreads its wings, a sudden breeze elevates it up high.

When I got on the express train in the evening and headed home, I was still thinking about the two eaglets.

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