April 12, 2024

Coaching while knitting?

Many modern coaching approaches now combine coaching conversations with something else: coaching and hiking, coaching and knitting (yes, it is a think, I saw it on Facebook but lost the link), for example. And why not? Here are some reasons that speak for the practice:

Just sitting there and speaking can be awkward

Our daily conversations usually happen when we are doing something else: while on a walk, while preparing a meal, while cleaning up. Having a “meaningful conversation” while doing something else may feel more natural and provide more safety and ease. I have heard from my therapist friends that psychotherapy with children is often “play therapy” where the therapist and the child are playing something together while talking to make the conversation more natural. You can get a feel for the difference when you compare the following invitations: “Would you like to come to my place and help me with my quilt” to “Would you like to come over, I really need to talk to you about something serious”. Which puts you more at ease?

Pauses and breaks

When you are doing something together, pauses and breaks in the conversation can be filled with the activity. Imagine you are walking and coaching. When the client is thinking, the coach can focus on nature or the walking – pauses in the conversation are not awkward, but natural. This can help create a useful space for the client.


The activity can also inspire the thinking and feeling process of the client. I remember a coaching session that happened while I was walking with the client. We walked through a street with very fancy clothing shops. My client saw a “power suit” for women and was inspired to reflect on how she did not want to come across as a “power woman” but as a collaborative and supportive leader.


When you are engaging something that you love, for example knitting, you can enter a “flow” state. You are experiencing yourself as competent (hopefully) and are enjoying your automatic movements: the power of your legs while walking, the dexterity of your fingers while knitting. The challenge and your abilities match perfectly (or so they should, otherwise you cannot really coach while engaging in this activity). “Flow” is a really cool state to be in when you are trying to figure something out. I quickly put “flow and problem solving” into google scholar and found several studies which found a connection between a flow state and improved problem solving abilities. Now, I haven’t read these studies, so I don’t know anything about the quality. But we can say that it is likely that “flow” improves the ability of the client to find solutions.

Now given that doing things together while coaching might have advantages for the conversation: it feels safer, less awkward and thinking breaks are easier and for the client: they may be more creative and have improved problem solving abilities, why not try this out? What could you experiment with and which client could you invite to an experimentation?

Let us know about your results by joining one of our free meetups and exchanges!

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