Would you trust a horse to train your leadership team?

On a sunny Sunday in the Wairarapa, a crazy idea was born

Would you trust a horse to train your leadership team?

“It’s a hard sell,” said Andrew Froggatt, Horse Whisperer. “How is getting on a horse going to make me a better leader? But as soon as people get here and do it, they are blown away.”

Froggatt started working with horses when he was 10 years old. Uninspired by the traditional horsemanship approach, which was quite brutal, Froggatt started to search for a different approach to horse training which he found in Australia.

“I saw this new ‘horse whispering’ kind of style and as soon as I saw it, I just said wow, this is what I’ve been looking for my entire life,” said Froggatt.

So, he spent time in Australia training in horse whispering before bringing his newfound skills back to New Zealand.

On a sunny Sunday in the Wairarapa, Unbeknownst to Froggatt, Mike Bebb from leadership training company Vision and Leadership, was watching Froggatt train a horse. Fascinated by the process, Bebb declared to Froggatt that what he was doing with horses, was what Bebb was trying to teach people.

A simple google search led to companies in America that were already trading in equine leadership training, so Froggatt decided to launch the idea in New Zealand.

“I realised that what I could share with people was not something that they were ever going to get with traditional training…horse whispering is not a mystical art form for dealing with horses, it is a method that equally applies to communicating with people,” said Froggatt.

Froggatt said it didn’t take long for people who were looking for leadership training that was a little bit different, a little bit out of the box and out of the classroom to sign up to the program. Lead the Way has since worked with some of New Zealand’s biggest companies and elite sports coaches. So back to Froggatt’s question, how is getting on a horse going to make me a better leader?

“Horses are an emotional mirror of what’s going on in front of them,” said Froggatt. If you’re high-energy, aggressive, and loud then they get very uptight. So, you’ve got to be calm, cruisy, relaxed and project confidence and they’ll be quite happy to follow you. If you’re not asking them to do something in an effective way, they’ll stand up to you just like people do,” said Froggatt. 

The Leader Within is the companies trademark leadership training experience. A two-day course designed to make participants step out of their comfort zone and into a zone of experiential learning and facilitated discussion.

The course teaches leadership self-awareness. Horses clearly can’t talk back but they’ll let you know how much pressure you can put on them and how much you can’t and the idea of that is then related back to how you lead your staff.

Key outcomes of the course are

  • Improved self-awareness.
  • Become a clearer communicator.
  • Build better and longer lasting relationships with your clients.
  • Learn the effect of your behaviour on others.
  • Learn to project confidence and ‘walk your talk’.
  • Explore the use of praise in the workplace.

Understand the importance of personal ‘energy’, the effect it has on others and how to use it to advantage.

Learn how to stay calm in high pressure situations.

Return to work motivated and itching to make changes.

What businesses who have done the course say

Ex All Black coach Steve Hansen has done the Coach Accelerator program through Lead the Way. Hansen said it was the best course he’s ever been on for ‘teaching yourself about yourself’.

Grant Burney, HR Services Manager at KiwiRail said, “It’s got the highest memory recall of any course we have done and these are senior managers who have been to some pretty fine institutions.”

Ross Barber, CYAF, said “The whole day was fantastic, enjoyable and with well described takeaway lessons. An important management leadership lesson delivered with innovation that can be immediately identified and implemented within our workplace.”

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