When I first started working as a business development specialist, there were two primary areas that I focused my efforts on: 1) helping people get clear about what they wanted to create and 2) helping them take the actions necessary to create results. By applying problem-solving facilitation techniques, I quickly realized that I could help most people get clear about what they wanted to do, but when it came to implementation many people simply did not have the body for action.
With this in mind, I began my search for a better way to help people eliminate the friction of inaction that holds them back. I decided to learn about business and personal coaching. At the time, “coaching” was a new term for this type of work, and the ideas were new, too. I studied at The Newfield Network and at the Strozzi Institute. Along the way I became aware of “equine-guided coaching” (EGC), a method of personal coaching that works with the horse to raise an individual’s self-awareness and help them move through the barriers that are holding them back.
It’s a different kind of “horse sense”
Some people feel they have experienced the spirit of a horse because they have ridden horses or grown up around horses. Experiencing horses in this way is not the same as experiencing EGC. A typical paradigm that many have regarding horses often casts the horse in the role of working on a ranch, pulling a wagon, carriage or plow, riding the trails, running at racetracks, and performing in rodeos, but not working in the human improvement realm. We don’t often talk about horses helping people get in touch with and move through their stuck areas. One of the great trainers in centered riding, Mary Fenton, once said the art of centered riding is more about teaching the human than the horse. If the person learns to be calm and centered, they will have a better connection with the horse. EGC is extending this way of thinking to personal coaching and action.
A few examples of the ways people are helped through EGC include:
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) sufferers – EGC methods are applied to the healing of war veterans, victims of violent crimes, and other sufferers of PTSD: Calico Junction New Beginnings Ranch, Inc. and Trinity Equestrian Center.
At-risk youth – EGC methods are now widely known to turn lives around for at-risk youth. Consistent use of the method over time has helped countess adolescents develop the confidence, calm, and focus necessary to avoid a life of gangs, crime, and incarceration. Read one of the many studies on the subject here.
Physicians and their patients – EGC methods developed by Dr. Beverly Kane of Stanford University are used to raise doctors’ awareness and sensitivity to the patient, thereby improving the quality of care and lowering the number of malpractice lawsuits.
Autistic children – EGC methods are employed as therapy for children on the autistic spectrum, helping them develop emotional bonds, develop cognitive and language skills, and overcome sensory disorders.
EGC methods are employed as a way of helping children recognize and appreciate the differences among horses, get in touch with incidents of prejudice among humans, and learn how to choose a life of tolerance and acceptance.
Sara Sherman of Discovery Horse runs some outstanding programs for youth that helps them learn about acceptance and respect.
It’s not just extraordinary people in extraordinary circumstances who benefit from ECG and, in my mind, that is what makes equine-guided coaching so very powerful. I have witnessed EGC methods helping everyday people get through major stuck areas of their lives (including me) and develop key leadership and teamwork skills.
Equine-guided coaching is for everybody.
After becoming aware of the breakthroughs that happened for people with EGC, I began to study various approaches in earnest. I attended workshops in California, South Dakota, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Germany. Along the course of my studies, I came to know EGC pioneer, practitioner, and trainer Melissa Pearce of Touched by a Horse in Elizabeth, CO. Melissa’s approach of Equine Gestalt Coaching truly struck a chord with me, integrating two principles behind my own approach to coaching: helping people step through the gate to take action and living the good life on purpose. If you’re interested in doing this kind of work with horses I highly recommend Melissa’s certification program.
EGC has helped me personally break through things that were holding me back, and without it I would not be doing what I am doing today: living my life on purpose. The beautiful thing about EGC is that I can recall the learning incidents visually and emotionally. The lessons are somatic experiences locked in my mind and body and are available for recollection any time I choose to bring them up.
Now it’s your turn.
Are you feeling stuck or struggling to take the action necessary to live the life you want or build the business you desire?
Could you benefit from the experience of working with an equine-guided coach to develop your leadership and team-building skills to better build your business?
Today there are many highly qualified EGCs throughout the United States, and I would be happy to help you find one that’s right for you. Please contact me if you would like a recommendation or leave a comment.