In the realm of Executive Leadership Development, unconventional methods often yield the most profound insights. Among these, equine assisted learning stands as a testament to the transformative power of experiential education.
Horses, with their highly astute senses and innate herding instinct, act as living barometers for individual and group behavioural patterns. Their responses to our actions are immediate and unbiased, providing a rare, clear lens through which leaders can observe and analyse their communication and leadership style in real-time.
Participants are placed in small groups and each group is assigned a horse to work with. Horses require clear, confident and authentic leadership and communication. When people work alongside them, they highlight these capabilities in us. They are highly sensitive to the energy, intention, actions and body language of humans. Their honest, immediate and non-biased responses to participants provides feedback on their leadership capabilities and team dynamics.
Qualified, experienced facilitators guide participants in interpreting the horse’s responses. They provide a framework for examining how these responses parallel to the office environment. To close the loop, as participants adjust their actions and intentions, their horses response’s will also shift. The cause and effect is obvious and immediate, and the parallels have a profound and lasting effect. Developing emotional intelligence through increasing self-awareness lays the foundation for truly authentic leadership.
Five important areas where equine assisted programs can complement existing leadership development training are:
2. Emotional Intelligence
5. Presence and Mindfulness
1️. Self-Awareness: Horses respond to what they sense in the moment, providing honest, real-time feedback. When facilitated by a qualified practitioner, this promotes a deeper understanding of one’s emotions, behaviours, and communication style, paving the way for self-discovery and personal growth.
2️. Emotional Intelligence: The non-verbal communication and emotional congruency horses require encourage leaders to become more attuned to their emotional states and those of others, a critical competency in fostering empathetic and effective leadership.
3️. Adaptability: The dynamic nature of human-horse interactions necessitates a level of adaptability and openness to change, mirroring the fluidity of the modern business environment.
4️. Teamwork & Trust: Working alongside these majestic creatures to achieve common goals fosters a sense of trust, collaboration, and mutual respect – the cornerstone of any successful team.
5️. Presence & Mindfulness: The need for being present and mindful in interactions with horses translates seamlessly to a leadership context, enhancing focus, decision-making, and overall effectiveness.
The journey towards robust leadership is a continual process of self-exploration, learning, and adaptation. Integrating horses in this journey not only accelerates personal and professional development but also makes the experience profoundly impactful and enduring.