Mentoring takes many different approaches. Walking Mentorship is an approach that harnesses the clarity of mind brought by walking in wonderful locations. In this guest blog, João Perre Viana Founder of Walking Mentorship, talks about what brought him to mentor whilst walking. He shows how to channel the resultant high flow of ideas and creative thinking.
The philosophy of Walking Mentorship
Proposes to create habits of personal development as autonomous as possible, always moving forward and in contact with nature.
My route to the present day started in law school, but it was the passion for management and operations that grabbed my attention. At the age of 24, I created my first company in the digital and marketing sphere. Later I completed an MBA in Belgium and started a journey that would take me to destinations like France, Spain, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Angola. During this process, I managed and mentored diverse teams in several companies and taught at different universities.
Walking Mentorship was a project that has been in continual development in my life. Especially so since I passed my last year of high school in the Rocky Mountains in Montana in 1991. An experience that was simultaneously an internal and external journey.
Almost twenty years later, I felt it was the moment to consolidate what I had learned and lived. This is how I created this project of life, the Walking Mentorship. In fact it continues to be born every day.
Acquisition of skills
We know that we can accelerate the acquisition of knowledge or skills if we invest time and other resources. For me, in the case of Walking Mentorship, It was the need to live different experiences and learn challenging lessons that ended up determining the time required to mature the idea and realize the moment to advance.
I believe it was the mentoring and the walk that found me, and not the other way around. I think the first big hikes that I did were the result of being available to follow other people and experience something that I never did before. First with my parents and family. Then in scouting and youth groups and later, following the excellent advice of people who were close to me.
When you establish a relationship of confidence with someone who shares with us experiences, advice and working methods, generally we end up incorporating something positive in our lives, hence the importance of mentoring.
Walking Mentorship: The three pillars
The pillars of the concept of Walking Mentorship are: the walk, the contact with nature and the mentoring.
Allowing each person to meet the conditions necessary to slow down, gain perspective and to define a future action seems to be an obvious path for continuous human development.
The ultimate objective of my service is to facilitate a process of alignment between your present moment, your purpose of life and the way you want to put it into action.
In this way, the end of each process coincides with the beginning of a new life cycle, a likely preview of the current moment and the design of a new action plan, endlessly.
And the choice of walking is not by chance. Because moving in such a way, becomes more comfortable to adjust to the rhythm of each person. It is probably the most natural movement that exists.
It is common after a walk to feel more relaxed physically and mentally. We all know that the last decades have transformed our habits of life, making work and leisure more sedentary. However, the act of walking has always been the core physical activity in human evolution.
We know today, through increasing research from the scientific community that something truly positive happens in the brain while we walk. Our ability to produce a high flow of ideas and creative thinking, increases exponentially. Even after the exercise is completed, the activity extends our capacity to think better and more creatively.
Furthermore, the practice of walking is easily accessible, free of charge and requires no major equipment or logistics. It is easy to implement this habit in our personal life, as well as inside an organisation.
The Walking Mentorship aims to make accessible to the most significant number of individuals and organisations the regular practice of this methodology of work to create self-development habits which are the most autonomous possible.
The materials I have produced are always put to work to the participants so that they can replicate them whenever they feel the need and gain ownership of the process.
One of the best ways to learn occurs when a person needs to teach or share some knowledge. Ideally, each participant of the Walking Mentorship should assume the responsibility of becoming a mentor to other people, whether friends, family members or co-workers.
Together with the benefits of walking, the contact with nature also helps clarify decisions. Being in the outdoors offers conditions and stimuli unique to our brain. We know today that our cognitive functions, namely at the level of selective attention and problem solving, suffer an enormous pressure due to our lifestyle. The challenge is amplified by the overuse of technology that surrounds us permanently. The immersion in nature can restore our attention system.
We can see the role of walking in contact with nature in the methodology work, especially in the way people gain perspective about the reality since the prolonged connection with nature and the limited use of technology allows progressively to clarify our thinking process. Scientific studies carried out in the last decade prove that our mind enters more readily into a state of introspection and reflection after we are exposed to nature. This allows connection to our default mode and hence improvement in our mental health.
The format of the walks
The programs of Walking Mentorship happen in two formats: individual sessions and group programs. In the individual programs (walk and talk), we draw the action plan along eight sessions of 60-90 minutes. These may be weekly or fortnightly but always on the walk and in nature.
For group programs (between 8 and 10 participants), walks happen over a week. They are accompanied by the methodology booklet, named Survival Kit. We use existing routes such as the Camino de Santiago in Spain, The Via Francigena in the Alps, or the Mining Route in Sardinia.
The programs are drawn so that each person can focus on what is truly important in their current moment in life. We tailor each program individually to each person.
The basis of the methodology is sufficiently neutral and flexible to be adapted to both professional and personal matters. The process is cumulative, both at the level of the mental exercises and hiking. Even when it is done within the group, the angle is always personal and individual.
Who can benefit from the walks?
In the same way, it can be adapted to address the challenges of an organisation. Placing the person at the centre of the methodology, we develop connections with the business challenges. We feedback with new streams and ideas to improve what we do and the way we do it.
We also design programs specifically for a given segment. Namely, programs for Parents and Children, Middle-aged Transition or routes with a higher spiritual dimension.
I believe that the process of self-development is, literally, endless work. These, when incorporated into habits of life, become something tangible and highly rewarding.
Although it seems too much evident, when we put our objectives in motion, we create the possibility of assessing its progression and produce learning that leads to thinking about next steps. The end of each “route” always corresponds at the beginning of a new cycle in our life and a new action plan, always towards the best version of ourselves.
I look forward to walking with you one day!
João Perre Viana
Founder of Walking Mentorship
Our thanks to João for sharing his thoughts; contact him to join one of his walks. Here at Coach Mentoring Ltd we have plenty of other mentoring options for you to explore.
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