Meet Patrick, CEO of a Service Company
Patrick is everyone’s favorite boss. Since he started his company three years ago, he had yet to have anyone leave his employment, and business is very good. In fact, so good that Patrick wanted an equal partner to take some of the load off his plate.
He realized though that he felt overwhelmed in how to make a decision about who to mentor and how to communicate his needs without upsetting employees whose roles were not going to change. Patrick wanted a solution that would keep everyone happy and allow him to create a little space for himself. He decided to try some Leadership Mojo Equus Coaching because it would get him out of the office and away from everyone to make some sort of plan.
Patrick had taken some riding lessons with horses in his childhood and was excited about getting back into doing some work with horses. He was a bit perplexed by the idea of remaining on the ground, without any bridle or halter, in an arena with a horse. He figured that this must be a preliminary step and that he would quickly move to riding the horse.
Once in the round pen, however, Patrick struggled to keep Chester, a large bay gelding, from constantly barging in on him. It’s not that Chester was aggressive, but he clearly wanted to be close to Patrick, and Patrick was not comfortable setting any limits.
As the session progressed, we began linking what was happening in the arena to some of the challenges at work. It became transparent to Patrick that this dynamic with Chester was one that existed throughout his leadership experience and especially in his organization. Everyone who worked with Patrick loved to get in close. Patrick assumed this was a good thing, but was finding with a 1500-pound animal, it wasn’t going to work!
In the course of a couple of hours, with some constant mirroring by Chester, Patrick had felt a sense of his problem. He recognized that he had a great deal of work to do in getting better at defining what he wanted and expected both with Chester and at the office.
Patrick’s skill-set as a relational leader was without question exceptional; however, Chester helped him discover that unless he got better at becoming more connected to himself, and communicated his true thoughts, feelings and wishes, he was going to be run over and burnt out.
This was the first time Patrick had fully realized how much of his life and work had been about managing relationships rather than fully showing up in them.
After only one Leadership Mojo session, Patrick was confidently able to make significant changes. He had been struggling with this business issue for nine months, yet in the following two weeks, Patrick let go of some employees that frankly were not working out. He set up a mentorship program with three employees he believes will be critical for reaching the next level in his business and is developing a leadership team.
Patrick continues to do Leadership Mojo sessions and Chester continues to remind him when he falters in making his own needs important.
Meet Jo, a Senior Executive in a Technology Company
Jo is intense and opinionated. She is considered brilliant but not the easiest leader to work with. She’s been known to fire or simply discontinue any coaching offered through her company. Her Human Resources specialist had not given up on her and thought maybe a different style of coaching might suit Jo. So she suggested Jo try Leadership Mojo Coaching. Jo, always courageous, jumped right in. She was intrigued by the idea of working with a horse.
It’s not like she or the horse took naturally to each other. Actually, the horse openly demonstrated his discontent with her high-pressure style by creating as much space as possible between the two of them in the arena. Though the distance was a touch disheartening for Jo, she appreciated the integrity of the horse’s feedback. She soon learned that simply trying to do get the task completed - in this case, moving the horse through some obstacles in the arena - wasn’t going to work by simply pushing through.
It wasn’t until Jo finally acknowledged that she was actually quite anxious and nervous, that the horse responded by immediately turning and slowly moving toward her. The moment Jo felt the horse by her side, she markedly relaxed.
Jo was surprised that an act of vulnerability, acknowledging she was anxious, was effective. Vulnerability was not Jo’s strong point. In fact, she had long adopted a tough exterior in order to survive the male dominated corporate world. So she was intrigued that when she did relax and drop into her own truth, she became much more effective and creative in communicating and working with the horse.
Her intention was to bring her entire team out to the ranch. Maybe the horse would help bridge what seemed like an impossible gap between her and her people. However, the team has yet to visit. Jo reports that her team is noticing a distinct difference in how Jo shows up at the office. They find her much more relaxed and curious about their input and easier to connect with. As a result the team is able to work much more effectively and together with her. She has yet to miss, cancel or fire a horse!
These are two examples of Leadership Mojo Coaching, and the impact a horse can have in helping a leader fine tune their skills in developing vulnerability and curiosity. Two keys we think are vital to leadership.
WHO is Leadership Mojo Coaching For?
Anyone who is
Challenged with.... and Wanting to
● Wavering confidence ● Build your confidence
● Lack of presence ● Improve your leadership presence
● Relationship Issues ● Improve your relationships
● Difficulty in conflict ● Improve your communication
● Negative feedback on your style ● Get honest immediate feedback
● Business issues that won't resolve ● Clarity on business issues
● Unclear Boundaries ● Set healthy boundaries
WHAT is Leadership Mojo Coaching?
One way we work with leaders to increase their level of self-awareness and ability to be real is using horses. As an Equus Coach, Susan walks leaders out into a round pen then brings in a horse for you to work with. It is you, a loose rope in your hands, and a horse along with Susan coaching you on the sidelines.
You may be able to boss, bully or persuade people to comply, but a 1500-pound horse is not so malleable. Horses are great mirrors. They are prey animals, meaning they don’t want to hurt you. They want to join up in a herd to be safe. Yet, they interpret someone who is incongruent, as dangerous, which makes horses difficult to lead.
To be effective with a horse, you need to be congruent, calm, clear and embodied. Getting real-time feedback is a powerful way to develop these qualities in yourself. Amazingly enough, these are the same qualities people in your work and in your life respond to and trust. As you increase your effectiveness with the horse, you dramatically increase your effectiveness with people in your life.
About Susan Clarke
Back in 2011 CrisMarie and I both attended a leadership program, Leadership From Within, lead by Koelle Simpson. It was then that I experienced the powerful learning that horses can provide. Since then I have become a Koelle Institute Certified Equus Coach. I continue to develop my own horsemanship and leadership mojo. You can read about my own journey on my personal blog, Finding Your Leadership Mojo
My dream has been to bring our work with leaders and teams right here to Montana, and now I have. We have now found an excellent facility here in Whitefish, Stillwater Horse Whisper Ranch, and are excited to offer our Leadership Mojo Intensives for leaders, as well as team-building opportunities for business teams or couples that will provide great learning and tons of fun with the horses!
CrisMarie Campbell and Susan ClarkeCoaches, Business Consultants, Speakers and Authors of The Beauty of ConflictCrisMarie and Susan work leaders and teams, couples in business, and professional women. They help turnaround dysfunctional teams into high performing, cohesive teams who trust each other, deal with differences directly, and have clarity and alignment on their business strategy so they create great results. Check out their website: www.thriveinc.com. Connect with CrisMarie and Susan on LinkedIn. Watch their TEDx Talk: Conflict – Use It, Don’t Defuse It! Find your copy of The Beauty of Conflict: Harnessing Your Team's Competitive Advantage here.