Business Strategies Straight from the Horse’s Mouth
When I became a coach six years ago, I had a dream that took me a while to admit to—even to myself. What I really wanted to do was to combine the two great passions of my life—coaching and working with horses—but I had no idea what that might look like. As I bravely shared my fledgling dream with others, people began to point me to other people who had the same dream. I started exploring and discovered that the field of Equine Guided Education is a lively and growing one, where there’s plenty of space for the coaching process to be incorporated.
You might be surprised to learn that coaching with horses provides a depth and immediacy that brings new information, even about business development. Synchronicity happens in the domain of energy—energy from our thoughts, our emotions, our body, our spirit. Horses, unencumbered by language, read and reflect this energy, providing unbiased feedback. How does coaching with horses work, you ask? To give you an example of how this process works, I want to share my experience of doing my coaching process with horses around my own business questions.
Here’s what happened…
Background: I am deeply committed to bringing Equine Guided Coaching and Education to the world, but unsure of how, exactly, to grow my business. So the question now is “What’s next?”
Equine Guided Coaching Process: One warm, sunny October day when I had a few extra minutes at the barn, I went out into the pasture where the six horses I work with were grazing. As I stood in the middle of the pasture, I posed the question—to myself and so to the horses—“What is next for my business, for this business with horses?”
Very quickly a horse named Digby came up to me. Digby is a thoroughbred horse who takes his rider over those 4- and 5-foot jumps you see in the Olympics. His athleticism and performance are not small potatoes. I said, “Hi Digby, why are YOU here?” As I looked at him, the thought occurred to me (openness to the synchronicity of thoughts is key to this work with horses) that he is large, the second largest horse in the pasture. I said, “Well, you are big. Am I supposed to play BIG with this business?” Just as I finished that thought, Colin came up. Colin is a Clydesdale-quarter horse cross and is the biggest horse in the pasture, with big feet, bones and a tall, strong stature. As I looked at Colin and petted his nose, it came to me that I’m supposed to play REALLY big. Gulp! I immediately noticed the fear that came up for me around this. Then I thought: “What does ‘playing big’ mean for me? How would it look in my business?” As I accepted that this was the message they came to tell me, both horses turned and went back to grazing, leaving me alone to let this idea settle in, confirming that I’d understood what they’d had to say.
Now these messages from the horses come quickly, and the full implication doesn’t always sink in immediately. What happened in the hour after my time with Digby and Colin started to clarify what “playing big” actually meant. My business partner and I had invited our insurance representative to the pasture to experience a sample equine-guided coaching session since she had expressed interest in what we were doing. As is typical, she experienced deep and profound shifts in her thinking about the actions she could take in her life. She became aware of important new options that had simply never occurred to her before. For example, normally a type A personality, she had never thought of the possibility of a more relaxed lifestyle. She saw that she could use space and openness to see what is next for her rather than more busy-ness. As we talked about it over lunch afterwards, our agent expressed such enthusiasm about our work and strongly urged us to incorporate our business to fully professionalize our work. And she asked if she could invite people she knows in the horse world to a workshop so that they could also experience the power of this process!
Synchronously, once I offered my question about how to direct my business to the process of equine-guided coaching, I not only received an inner direction to consider building my business to be really big, but also began to discover what that might entail, actually taking a first step to begin to grow it. Coaching with horses this way grounds the process so that we step out of our minds and invite all of ourselves—body, mind, and spirit—to engage with our intentions and clarified direction. The response is almost always startling and exciting, filled with the lively energy of newness. In these few months since Digby and Colin made the message known to me, we have conducted a workshop with eight influential friends of our insurance representative, incorporated a new business called Wisdom Horse Coaching, which will serve as an umbrella for all of our work with horses, and have presented a demonstration of our work at the first annual Equine-Guided Education Association conference held in California to 70 people from all over the USA and seven other countries in the world who are doing this work with horses.
For more equine coaching information go to www.WisdomHorseCoaching.com.