MEC leaders put through their paces at Hooked on Leadership course

Hooked on Leadership courses challenge organisational leaders by taking them to the countryside and using horses to teach them how to lead better. Sound interesting? Our Principal Mining Engineer David Drew and our Manager of Consulting Services Christofer Catania attended one of the two-day courses recently to find out what they could learn from exercises in horsemanship.

“Hooked on Leadership is a unique leadership training course. Unlike courses that just involve book knowledge or role-playing against other participants, you get to practise in a real situation – with horses,” explains David.

“The horses can’t understand your words, so they can only react to your body language and attitude. You aren’t able to convince them or bully them to follow you; you have to change your leadership style to meet what the horses require.”

According to Hooked on Leadership facilitators Rebecca Livesey and Angela Koning, horses provide a perfect mirror for human behaviour. They can teach us how to lead better because they react in an authentic way – they live in the present, give honest feedback and don’t hold grudges. They can also be unpredictable and challenging at times, just like humans.

David found out firsthand how important it was to have genuine presence and a steady emotional state when interacting with horses. “There’s no faking it in this course; the horses will pick up on it right away. It drives the participants to deliver their leadership style from a place of genuine honesty – hard for some!”

Chris C

Christofer agrees, “The workshop was incredibly well developed to help you grasp the needs and nature of both yourself and others. The horses and trainers have so much to offer and I enjoyed the full experience and growth i felt. Plus the food was fantastic! A highly recommended experience”.

The qualities that a horse demands from an expert trainer can be transposed to corporate leadership scenarios; Hooked on Leadership’s mission is to teach people how to lead “from a place of certainty, presence and service”.

The workshops, which take place at Ocean View Estates on the road to Mount Mee, focus on:

  • giving leaders on-the-spot feedback so they can learn, refine and implement as they go
  • changing leaders’ internal thinking in order to influence their external actions
  • developing leadership presence (how you turn up to your team, not what you do to your team).

David and Chris have returned from Hooked on Leadership with fresh perspectives on guiding their teams at MEC.