What Horses can Teach Us About Leading & Coaching
What would happen if we chose leaders who were more like horse leaders? What can the animal kingdom teach us about living together in a healthy system?
In this conversation with coach and equestrian Kelly Wendorf we explore what needs to change in our leadership model, how horses lead, how to attune to horse consciousness and how this can help us help our clients.
A New Form of Leadership
Approaching transformation hinges upon exploring frameworks through which we make meaning and purpose around our existence. Each perspective gives us another piece of insight with which to view our lives, and a potential opening to something different.
Humanity is at a choice point and how we respond will largely determine the future of not only our species but the entire planet. Our pervasive insistence that we are separate from everything and our military-inspired leadership models have led to mass-scale destruction and a simple choice now lies before us.
Leaders (and people who didn’t consider themselves leaders previously) are starting to look towards other ways of leading. Freedom comes with responsibility, and leadership is much more about caring and understanding our right place in the larger order of things.
Learning from Horses
Horses have had a successful system of leadership for more than 50 million years. Rather than the biggest, loudest, strongest individual being the leader, it is usually a small, quiet one who is attuned to the wellbeing and safety of each individual and the collective.
The access point for this consciousness is to be deeply present and to open to all that is, the field within which we are, and to connect to our felt sense. There’s an opening to the imaginal and non-linear sphere of experience and a trustworthiness to what comes through.
This is the place that can inform thinking, which is connected to the expansive, creative potential. In it we are connected to the flow of life, whatever is, is, and there is no contracting to whatever the present moment dishes up, merely responsiveness from that place of expansion.
The Power of Authenticity
Working with horses can create very powerful coaching experiences. The primary stressor for horses is incongruent energy; if people come into a space with horses and are not being authentic about their inner state, this creates tension in the herd.
Horses therefore will not tolerate a mask. They are a powerful invitation to be truthful about who we are, and a skilful coach can effectively piggyback off the herd’s reaction to a client. Coaches can also learn to embody the presence of the horses, fostering a deep space for clients to land in.