“Leadership Coaching with Horses? Tell me more!”
First, it ‘s about getting in touch with a primitive and forgotten part of us, the wisdom of our body, our heart and our senses, thanks to one of the most sensitive and intuitive animals, the horse.
It’s an experiential learning, with all our senses, taking place out of traditional conference rooms, usually in ranches and farms. The next one is going to be in a magical place near Vancouver.
This is a beautiful story of social media networking and serendipity in action.
In January 2016, I received a message on LinkedIn from Evelyn McKelvie. Evelyn is an Executive Coach, the Founder/Principal of Equine Coach, in Vancouver. As Dory speaks whale, Evelyn speaks Horse! And she sensed that I could speak horse as well, with a French accent. She wanted to meet me.
I am an interpreter in a three-way conversation and provide safety, structure, and support in an incredibly rich learning environment. I help clients to experience shifts and modulation in their energy and body language, which fosters clear communication, transparency, and trust with the horse. Clients report that they are able to take this learning into the rest of their lives, and become adept at responding to the requirements of different circumstances, in the moment.
She has integrated horses with executive coaching:
In the pursuit of developing further competencies for this work, I completed the Graduate Certificate in Executive Coaching at Royal Roads University in 2008. The basis of this program is entirely consistent with my values and the approach I have taken throughout my career as a leader, manager, and teacher: the belief that we are whole, complete, fully capable, and do not require fixing. This widely-respected program taught me the skills of pure coaching, with the focus on how to assist people to find their own truth and to create their ideal lives.
While other practitioners use horses in therapeutic and healing work, my goal in coaching with horses is to stimulate an immediate and transformational connection to our deep inner selves. Over the last ten years I have honed the ability to move masterfully between pure coaching, and facilitating my client’s relationship with the horse so that they encounter themselves in an intimate and powerful way. This ultimately opens them to actualizing their ideals and desires.
She was planning to come to Europe in March and wanted us to meet in Paris. We had connected on linkedIn thanks my previous experience of leadership coaching with horses, but never really engaged in any conversations.
That meeting in Paris, at Les Editeurs in Saint Germain, on the first of March proved to be pivotal. We immediately clicked. Exchanged on our own visions and practices of coaching, on women’s empowerment, on horses, on the work with archetypes. Very soon, once Evelyn got back to Canada, we started to explore how we could work together and make something happen. For the fall. October in Vancouver!
Instant Feedback: Horses can show us in an instant if our behavior is aligned with our intention. Horses don’t lie. They offer an immediate mirror to our inconsistent behaviors. They also provide inspiration for a disruptive, distributive model of leadership.
A model of equine leadership described by Carolyn Resnick, a renowned equine trainer, divides horses into 3 groups: leaders, dominants, and followers. Leaders in the herd are often mistaken as omegas or lowest ranking as they do not exhibit competitive behaviours, often spend their time alone, and do not display signs of paying attention to other herd mates – when in fact they are paying keen attention. Followers are easy to confuse with leaders although they may be more likely to be physically closer to herd mates. Most horses fall into the middle group – dominants, displaying competitive behaviours that could be mistaken for leadership. These horses are vying for position; they don’t want to be last to eat and drink and want to be as close to the top of the hierarchy as their fitness permits. This is a survival strategy that has enabled horses to succeed as a species for 400 million years.
Aside from the three groups defined above, we believe that all members of the herd support a distribution of leadership in the herd and hold a place of leadership specific to their abilities and to the needs of the herd over time. The alpha mare or stallion (the leaders) still have overall leadership responsibilities for the herd but some jobs are delegated. Research has shown that some horses will act as pacifiers and assist horses to “kiss and make up” after disputes. Some act as caregivers, looking out for foals, the injured, or elders. Some will enforce discipline even on higher ranking members for the betterment of the herd. In fact, this distributed model of leadership enables the herd to adapt and function under a variety of threats and in a variety of environments.
I cannot wait to share with you the programme of our 3 days workshop, dedicated to women’s empowerment , enabling women to find their voice and their leadership presence, thanks to horse and archetypes coaching.