When you are looking for unique way to dive deeper into your coaching experience, Equine Guided Coaching might just be the answer.  In this episode Danna talks with Virginia Rhoads, Co-founder of the Jempe Center, about why horses are uniquely qualified to help individuals reach their leadership or career development goals and what coaching session with horses looks like.

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Virginia Rhoads on Equine Coaching, coaching with horses

Virginia's business career started in the 1980s on Wall Street as an investment banker, followed by brand management at Frito-Lay and General Mills, and an MBA from the Tuck School at Dartmouth. In the early 90s she bought a one-way ticket to the Himalayas and didn’t look back. After a trekking season in Nepal, she returned to the US and became an instructor for the Pacific Crest Outward Bound School, designing and facilitating adventure-based leadership programs for executive teams all over the country. She hung a shingle out as a leadership development coach and was snatched up first by Nike Global to assist in their leadership programs.  She then built a thriving coaching practice with C-level executives of progressive fast-growing Seattle-area companies.  Along the way, Virginia took an MA in Psychology at Antioch University and taught leadership and management courses at two of Seattle’s universities. She reconnected with her passion for horses and received training in the ancient art of dressage, an athletic mounted dance with horses. A few years ago, Virginia combined this equine training with her leadership development practice and now offers Equine-Guided Coaching where her clients are literally learning with and from the horse.  She and her husband John McConnell are business partners and run the Jempe Center at Pegasus Ranch on South Whidbey Island.

Show Notes

What is equine guided coaching?

It is a coaching session where an individual interacts with a horse to gain insights that they cannot gain through other coaching methods. Equine guided coaching is useful in leadership development because of a horse’s ability to reflect congruency back to each individual.  So in other words, horses respond to what they sense in a person and react to how an individual is really feeling and acting. This is not about riding horses – in fact, you don’t ride horses at all, instead you are interacting with the horses on foot.  In this episode, Virginia describes more details about the ins and outs of a session of coaching with horses.   

Horses make a good partner in career development coaching. 

Horses don’t judge. Horses are uniquely qualified to do this type of coaching for many reasons including their herd mentality that keeps the group safe because they are attuned to the group.  For basic physiological reasons like a horse has different vision with their eyes on the side of their head.  Tune into this episode to hear more as Danna and her guest, Virginia, discuss other reasons horses make a good partner in career development coaching and serve as a mirror of our true feelings and true self.

There is no pressure to be skilled with horses to gain the benefits of equine guided coaching.

Approaching a 1,200 pound animal comes with some trepidation, and rightfully so. In this episode our guest, Virginia discusses the transformation that happens when her clients allow themselves to step into the coaching sessions with horses.  There is no pressure to be skilled with horses. All the coaching is done from the ground and no riding is necessary. 

Congruency is a key part of success

There are times when an individual knows what leadership trait they want to portray or be recognized for but other people are not reacting to them in the way they expect.  The problem could be with congruency – meaning something isn’t aligned – the way we act, speak, react may not all be aligned.  In equine guided coaching, the horses act as a mirror to reflect the way we are really showing up.  In this episode, we cover other unique attributes that a horse can teach us. 

Want to give equine guided coaching a try?

To find an equine coaching experience near you, do a keyword search "coaching with horses" or "equine guided coaching" and let us know how your experience is.

Outline of this great episode

  • Horses are able to reflect congruency back to each client
  • In a large herd, one horse pays attention to where the predator lays
  • A human heart field is approx. 10 feet
  • A horse heart field is approx. 60 feet
  • Similar to horses, your clients will pick up on whether you are in congruence
  • Horses do not have an agenda
  • With a breakthrough, the horse pick their head up from grazing and look at you or follow you
  • There is no pressure to be skilled with horses to gain the benefits of equine guided coaching
  • Every interaction is a new interaction
  • When you're in fight or flight, there is limited ability to grow
  • When you see a horse, imagine you're having a coaching session with that horse
  • Still yourself...find your breath, sit symmetrically, tune into your heart and your belly
  • Notice what comes up...thoughts, moods, emotions
  • To find an equine coaching experience near you, do a keyword search "coaching with horses" or "equine guided coaching"