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You can lead a horse to water...

Jude Jennison has discovered that a horse can certainly teach us all a thing or two and she shares her experience in her new book ‘Leadership Beyond Measure’, which delves into how horses can help those in business better communicate.

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Jude helps those in the corporate world identify not only their own strengths and weaknesses but also helps them to communicate in a positive and honest way with colleagues.

She explains: “I’m on a mission to remove the masks and peel back the layers. I believe in order to live and work in harmony with each other, and to make our world a better place, we need leadership skills. At the very least, business requires us to work through our differences. At its best, we can do this with love and compassion in a way that allows us to speak our deepest truth from our hearts with mutual acceptance and appreciation. We’re mostly not trained to do that.”

We were lucky enough to pop along and see a demonstration of Jude’s work in practice. It was great to meet the horses and see them in action. We watched with interest as people from the audience were asked to come and give their leadership skills a test.

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Some confidently approached the horses, others were more apprehensive, but what was fascinating was how the participants learnt to adapt their approach in order for the horse to walk with them. In overcoming the uncertainty of how the horse will react, participants learnt about themselves – if the horse doesn’t move, try a different direction.

Jude explains: “Some people find this work challenging because it is honest and transparent. It’s like being under a magnifying glass and examining the consequences of your actions in minute detail. The beauty of that is, as you find out how you ‘show up’ for others, you can practise using your strengths and experiment with how to adjust behaviour that blocks your effectiveness.”

So what let Jude to carry out these workshops and share her experiences in a book? After many years working in the corporate world, Jude decided it was time to confront one of her personal demons- a fear of horses. At the time she had no idea that they would teach her so much about the business world.

She found that the horse’s non-judgemental feedback – yet feedback all the same (!) made her learn to adapt her behaviour and she learnt more than any other techniques she had been told throughout her career.

It was this realisation that convinced her to dedicate her career to teaching ‘Leadership with Horses’ and helping those in business to learn through equine workshops.

“I’ve been all around the world to teach, work and debate with some of the biggest leaders in industry – but nothing could have prepared me mentally for the work required to lead and influence horses” explains Jude. “They challenge you each and every day. They question every single decision you make, minute by minute, and their actions provide direct feedback on whether or not you’re up to the task at hand. I quickly became aware that, from the ground, business leaders all over the world can learn from this philosophy.”

To find out more about Jude and her techniques, why not pick up a copy of her book, available here.

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