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Walking With Purpose - Coaching With a Difference

Here's one of my favourite stories about my dear friend Lita (aka Marguerite) and how we arrived at the same point in our lives, around the same time!

Then one day, when you least expect it, the great adventure finds you. Ewan McGregor.

Lita and I have enjoyed many walks and hikes together. She has always taken the stress out of our walks, puts in the careful planning and always leads. And we have never lost our way, she is so calm and collected. Obviously, in her element! So for me, its a welcome change and I just love that I don't have to think about the finer details but simply show up.

So how did we get started? Back in 2014, Lita signed up for a trekking fundraising challenge, to trek to the summit of Mount Toubkal in Morocco (highest point in North Africa) which got me jumping on the bandwagon. I love travelling, more than hiking but this was too good not to pass up. Unfortunately, she couldn't go and I ended up going a year later, on my own!

But I had no hiking or hill walking experience, my physical training was predominantly running for improved cardio. I was grateful that she was willing to give me my first taster in preparation for my trekking challenge, we went up Pen Y Fan in Brecon Beacons, Wales. And it was our first hike together, thank God, it wasn't our last.

Following my successful summit of Mount Toubkal (4,100m), we went on many hikes and walks later. I began to realise why she loved it so much. We trekked to the summit of Ben Nevis in Scotland (highest point in the UK) which was such an awesome experience in the same year. And then we trekked the Great Wall of China for her 40th birthday the following year. It was a group guided walk, and we had a fantastic adventure. We have done several local walks and long walks in between, since then. Living an hour or so from each other, in Wiltshire with plenty of green space, has helped keep that passion and friendship going.

There's no denying that every walk offers so much more than 'girly' time. We are always rejuvenating our souls, reconnecting with nature and restoring a bit of us we might have lost a long the way. And we get to remind each other of what we are capable of and how blessed we are. I always feel sad towards the end of the walk, not knowing when we will meet up again but always hopeful that its not our last. Our walks are special because its usually by a stroke of luck and an element of spontaneity that makes it a reality.

Lita is so passionate about her walks, and I also respect that it is her 'me' time, therefore, it is sacred. The beauty is that we can talk about anything and not feel judged. Over the years, I've come to know of her struggles and sacrifices for her family, especially her children. She never boasts of their achievement or success, including hers. But I know she is equally proud of them and wants them to be happy. As years passed, there was that daunting realisation that her children would leave the 'nest' at some point. It was really the moment I seized to remind her that perhaps, now was the time to start investing in herself and pursue her own passions, and turn it into an activity that could benefit the wider Fijian community.

In retrospect, I was putting my coaching skills into practice, and it proved to be more effective when the client (Lita) was completely comfortable and she was definitely in her element, so she was open to receive and was even entertained by the idea that she could achieve this. Nothing is impossible. And with the right support, she would get there. If there's one thing I've come to know and love about Lita is that she is incredibly humble, selfless and patient which makes it easier for me to work with her. And she will probably get there quicker than she realises.

The purpose of this story is to encourage potential clients to have an open mind towards coaching. Coaching isn't limited to active listening and knowledge sharing, its 1-1 dedicated and non-judgmental support that will provide a sounding board for improved clarity, help you unlock your potential and celebrate your progress and achievements. In Lita's case, she already possesses qualities that will make her a success, she just needed genuine encouragement and respect to accept that it wasn't a completely 'bonkers' idea! The world is still your oyster.

The person with a narrow vision sees a narrow horizon. The person with a wide vision sees a wide horizon.

For those who have had the pleasure of walking or hiking with her can agree wholeheartedly that its the most stress-free and enjoyable outdoor activity. A friend phrased it perfectly, the Pacific way! Compared to walking with our military or veteran spouses, it sure is! So here we are embarking on our first partnership together - Women Who Walk, with Lita & Nola (Hiking Enthusiasts). The walks will present a perfect opportunity for informal coaching sessions, the natural surroundings have an empowering effect! Here's to more outdoor adventures and 'curb-side' coaching! Watch this space and don't miss out on our next big hike (as lockdown measures ease off)!

Leonora x

Crouching Tiger Mountain, Great Wall of China

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