Chrystèle, a good friend of mine, told me about her recent coaching experience with a horse. She was amazed… and she can be.
In a circular box, her coach Diane asked her to make move the horse. She started to use her whip on the horse’s bottoms but the beast didn’t move. She started again, stronger. Nothing happened. During the debriefing, she realized she was making some kindness stuff to the horse… who didn’t ask for. She was just too closed. She was inside the personal horse’s bubble. During the third try, she took the right distance and used her authority, and then the horse walked around the box.

At the end of the practice, the coach asked her to kneel, in a humility position, to allow the horse to get closer. “Will he come? Will it work with me?” Doubts were increasing in Chrystèle mind. The horse doesn’t move. The coach Diane invites her to relax, to kneel sincerely, like a service position. Connecting to this state of mind, Chrystèle starts to hear one step, then another. The horse just comes, putting his nose against her shoulder. Emotions and rewards!!

Horses have sensors much more developed than ours. For example they can see a variation in our heart rhythm when they are a few meters away. They can decide if they trust or not their interlocutor according what they feel about him. Moreover they have a high sense of hierarchy and authority. They obey only if they trust in the interlocutor, and if they feel that the interlocutor trust them. Their behaviors depend on that: to move or not for example. They can be compared to a mirror which doesn’t lie but which brings back our own fears.

What we learnt: We share, as human beings, a relationship’s bubble with our mammal cousins. We call this proxemy. Last week, a journalist from a cosmetic magazine asked me about good advices to sell to foreign clients. We spoke about this “Retail bubble”, in which 2 persons meet each other, and which can be more or less smaller according to their culture. A Sales person will let more distance between him and a Japanese or a Scandinavian, and get closer from a Latin.

The horse tells us, as a mammal, he is looking for trust and humility in order to enter in his bubble, and no aggression. As a manager, if we want the other to do like we wish, are we able to arouse his intelligence, to connect with, to match our heart beat, to relax in order to let him surprise us.

The 9 meters’ bubble is a sacred space in which the energy circulates, even the thoughts not putted into words. The power of a manager on his employees, or the power of a Sales person on his clients could start by catching up with the heart rate.

You will understands why our Capkelenn trainees, leaders of distribution, Area managers, store managers… will have to go through this horse experience to obtain the level 2 of Retail Coaching Certification from October 2015.


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