The Soul of Nature: Nature Self Discovery

Resource from: Jackee Holder

In essence: Stories and practical ideas and questions on how to bring nature into coaching and supervision work.

This seed provides stories of nature, especially trees, being a part of the coaching space and how using nature-inspired questions and metaphors can open new thinking, provide perspectives, spark ideas, and invite new possibilities.

It is supplemented with 49 questions rooted in nature and gathered under the headings of nature, seed, root, storms, bloom, branch, growth, and wisdom. These questions have been gathered and tested with the individual clients and teams, and are ready to be used in the coaching conversations. The articles also provides references to some useful evidence of the benefits of spending time in nature.

The article by encouraged me to experiment with nature-inspired questions in my coaching sessions in a way that was aligned with my coaching philosophy. Since it would have been new for my clients, I initially considered pre-empting this idea and explaining what I was doing with my clients. However, in the end I decided to just go with it, without introducing and explaining my intention.

I first reviewed all the questions in the “Card Deck” to get the idea of possible questions, but never tried to memorise anything specific. I used the questions as inspiration and for guidance only.

Directly before the session I usually take a few moments to ground myself with the aim to bring nature in. During the sessions I allowed the questions to emerge in the moment without “looking for an opportunity”, and therefore there were sessions where it didn’t happen. I’ve noticed that looking through the window was an accessible way to invite nature into coaching space.

Three key learnings:

  • By asking questions related to nature clients look for and find their stories and draw meaning from them. It can be a truly sensory experience with pictures, sounds, smells, touch.
  • The space for nature-inspired questions emerges naturally but holding an intention before the session was a useful reminder if this is a new part of the practice.
  • The clients don’t have to be in nature to connect with it – a view from the window and plant at home/office are great “tools”. Using memories related to nature and imagination can add an important emotional lens.

The nature-related questions have also changed my daily walks in the nearby woods. Anytime I go out on a walk now I pay much more attention to trees along my favourite path, the colour of leaves, the textures, listening to the sounds have become mini meditations. And in the face of a more challenging day, I often ask myself “What question would you like take with you on a walk today?” – and use the time to reflect and draw inspiration from nature.


Jackie Holder, “The Soul of Nature”, Coaching Today, October2020

Jackie Holder, “Inner & Outer – Nature Self-Discovery Deck”, Coaching Today, October2020

Reviewed by: Gosia Hendereson

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