Interview with Karen Liebenguth from Green Space Coaching
Find out how her own creative experience of the countryside led Karen Liebenguth to launch Green Space Coaching.
What’s your career background?
I did a master’s degree in linguistics and translation in Germany and worked in the corporate world for ten years in Strasbourg, France, and London, specializing in film translation and subtitling.
In 2004 I quit my corporate job in London to take a year out to do some voluntary work in Africa. On my return I finished my coaching and mindfulness training, found a part-time job in organisational development within an environmental charity and started my private coaching practice.
Since 2014 I have been running my business Green Space Coaching and Mindfulness full time, offering 1:1 and team coaching in green space as well as mindfulness programmes for the workplace.
When did you get the idea for Green Space Coaching?
The idea to take my coaching work outdoors and into nature came while I was on my own, walking in the countryside. It’s outside, in beautiful natural settings where I have my best ideas and where I feel most creative.
How did you move from idea to actual business?
I faced my fears and did it anyway. My main fear was that I felt I was doing something radically different and that people would judge me for it.
Initially, I rented a consultation room at a Health Centre to see my clients. The idea of taking clients on a walk and talk in green space and actually doing it took a few months.
First, I discussed this at length with my own coach and did a few pilot coaching sessions outdoors with friends of friends. Then I went public. My clients instantly liked the idea but, more so, loved the experience of walking and talking things through in beautiful natural settings.
What’s your USP?
Coaching in green spaces. Coaching individuals and teams in natural settings: London’s parks, city gardens, the countryside. My most popular programmes are my Coaching Immersion Days in Nature either in Kew Gardens, Hampstead Heath or on the South Downs overlooking the sea.
Who’s your target audience?
Men and women who are ready to feel the fear and are committed to changing their lives.
How do you spread the word about what you do?
Face-to-face conversations and word of mouth has been my best PR to date and, no doubt, will continue to be the most effective way to spread the word about my business.
What’s been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?
My fear of being rejected when I tell my clients how much I charge. And my disbelief that I deserve to run a successful business.
And your proudest moment so far?
Kew Gardens in London asking me to run a six-week mindfulness course in their Gardens as part of their adult learning programme – and asking me back again!
Why is work so important to you?
Because it allows me to help others.
Who inspires you?
Rich Litvin – one of the top coaches in the world. From him I learned to become a fearless coach.
Vidyamala Burch – founder of Breathworks, my mindfulness training body. From her I learned about integrity and the impact it has on others and the world.
What are your three top pieces of advice for someone wanting to do something similar?
- Believe that it’s possible for you.
- Trust that you can do it.
- Persevere no matter what.
You can find out more about Green Space Coaching on their website.