Introducing the ALIVE Blog and Kerstin Weibull Lundberg
During my first year as a Horse Assisted Coach back in 2007, I had a team of C-suit managers coming in from different places in Europe to our venue outside Stockholm for their yearly strategic kick-off. On the agenda for that team was one-day leadership training with horses. The managers had received limited information about the training, and some of them did express themselves very skeptical to the horse part. Horses could be potential dangerous and stupid, so what could they learn from a horse? In the beginning of the training we were observing a team of managers, that where very skeptical cynical and apprehensive. They showed up with stiff body postures and movements and their facial expressions were kind of tight. They spoke with strained voices and they were all, controlled and in their minds. By the end of the day the same group of mangers had changed. They were playful and at the same time they shared deep authentic insights. They listened to each other and they could not believe, THEY CONNECTED WITH A HORSE.
These experiences from the transformation of people from different organizations to become alive leaders, happened over and over again. That is the reson we named the methodology ALIVE leadership and team education. Now we are allowing the letters in ALIVE to express the 5 important leadership skills, we are practicing as leaders.
I just turned 60 years old, so in reality I am closer to being a “dead leader” than “being alive”. However, I feel more alive than ever, passionately educating more and more ALIVE leaders. If the opposite of being an “alive leader” is being a “dead leader”, that” is where I found myself years ago.
After earning my Masters degree in Engineering, spiced with a Master in Business Administration my career road took me to many different industries in different leadership positions. I didn´t fail on the hard parts of leadership, like visioning the big picture, leading myself, communicating well and perform with extraordinary results.
I failed my team and myself when I was not being intentional and focused in the right way. This drained us on energy. I did not thoroughly understand the concept of “service above self”. I did not always engender the trust and loyalty of those I lead. I loved my work, but love was not always present and practiced in my team. I failed on the soft parts, and that is when I was a “dead leader”.
The biggest failure was my lack of awareness of how I was perceived as a leader until my own horse told me. What really happened is a story I will tell you another time.
It took me a long time to understand how great horses are as teachers. Even though I have had my own horses for 30 years, and lived with them on a farm together with my three children and my husband for the last 20 years.
As a prey animal the horse depend on the herd, and on the leader for survival. This is instincts horses cultivated over thousands of years, and that also helped them to better adapt to changes in the environment. What is interesting with horses is that they communicate not only within their own species, but over the boarders to other species as well. This is the reason the horse is one of eight animal species that the human have succeeded to domesticate.
When you separate a horse from the herd, the horse will ask you, ”Were is my herd? “Who is leading?”. Right in that moment the horse does not ask you how much you know, but how much you care. If you are not connected to your inner self, it really does not matter how smart and intelligent you are, unless you want to dominate, be a “pushy leader” or use violence. Pretending that you are strong or not afraid, when you really are, will send out scary signals to a horse (to sensitive humans well as). The horse requests that you are authentic, true to your self in all situations in order to be accepted as the leader.
With the wakeup call my horse gave me, I received awareness of what a “pushy leader” I was, and how rarely I was present and connected to others, the situation and myself. I was not at all authentic. The best part was that I realized, that I DID NOT FAIL, I WAS LEARNING.
I started my own journey of being an ALIVE leader 2005, and I realized that I had to look inside of myself for the right answers. With a new authentic attitude I developed new behaviors, ways of doing and creating new and greater results. I joined organizations in the US and Germany that offered educations and certifications in Coaching and Horse Assisted Education
I transformed myself from being a Management Consultant, always having the answers, to being an Executive Coach, assisting people in finding the answers. This transformation was really awarding. In this period of time I developed “The path of being more authentic”, a concept for personal leadership development and culture change navigation that has been successfully implemented in organizations.
The way ahead with ALIVE leadership education is disruptive in the sense that we are now taking the next step from Real Time Leadership education with horses to online leadership education with web seminars and circles. The strength with the horses is, that you can practice over and over again until you get was is missing. The horse is your mirror and gives you direct feedback, without judgment. The horse connects with you on an emotional level. In the online ALIVE leadership education you will practice in your real life, which is not quite as effective. The coach and other participants are your mirror and we use a virtual circle without feedback to connect on an emotional level. This creates another safe environment for experiential learning.
Do you know how to find out if you succeed in transforming to an ALIVE leader? Look in to your eyes and your facial features. If your eye are shining and your face has an soft expression, you know your are an ALIVE Leader. TO CONNECT WITH AHORSE IS A PROOF OF YOUR AUTHENTICITY. I have learned in my work as an Executive coach that connecting as a result of authenticity is speed of learning, change and development. I strongly believe that the world needs more ALIVE Leaders and I really hope to find you being one of them. Welcome to join us in the Alive Leadership and Team Education
In this blog I will share my knowledge of ALIVE leadership. During the next 12 weeks I will give away bonuses supporting you in a quick start of your leadership development.