Leadership development with Cherry

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June 20th, 2014

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Learning about leadership with Cherry

I spent an afternoon with Cherry experiencing how he does leadership development. Cherry is a horse. He is big. Very big.

That sound strange to you? I knew before joining Roffey Park that my colleague, Sue Binks, worked with horses to develop individuals as leaders. This is the field of equine assisted leadership development, and is one of a number of ways in which horses are increasingly used to support learning, both professionally and personally. Aside from the fact I leap at the chance to be around horses (I grew up in North London, they are not native to the Noth Circular), my curiosity professionally lay in how Sue would make the connection between our interactions with cherry and our leadership.

In a nutshell, I experienced at an embodied level what happens when I am not sure how to lead (horse doesn’t move or goes off on own), the difference between leading from In front, next to and behind, and how all of that can only be done without coercion, brute force and disconnection from who you are attempting to lead.

It was a wonderful afternoon, and I hope to go back again. It leaves me more curious than ever about how we view leadership culturally and socially, and whether what is experienced in May organisations is true leadership, or an ersatz version. Without a horse. Did I mention he was big?…