An Altezza People UK experiential learning session formed part of a wider classroom-based training programme to understand individual strengths and qualities. The goal at Altezza was to deepen the bond as a team, before embarking on a project of organisational change.
A mixed bag of apprehension and curiosity
For the five participants, including the M.D., stepping out of the traditional training comfort zone brought with it a level of apprehension and curiosity, as they wandered across the farm track and through the gate. Some felt apprehensive, while others were excited to embark on an outdoor experiential learning session with horses.
Seeing the horses in the fields, quietly grazing, taking in the spacious countryside setting and panoramic views created a sense of freedom from the constraints of the office environment.
THE LEARNING PATHWAY with Julia Jones
Paying attention and provoking questions about self
At Altezza, we welcome our clients and participants into a world of deeper self-discovery.
The atmosphere is designed as a “learning pathway”, provoking questions about self and helping the participants to find their own answers.
Each workshop is a new adventure with new people. With every new visiting team, the horses quickly gain their attention on arrival. The horses paused to watch as the group walked through the gate at the end of the drive and moved towards the paddocks and the welcome area. Georgie, distinctive in her height, size and white colour was the most attentive. Ella and Joel followed Georgie’s lead and stood up from where they had been lying to observe the guests entering their sphere.
“Look at the horses. They are responding to our arrival,” one participant quietly remarked.
“I wonder if we have the same impact when we arrive on the shop floor unannounced. Could this cause people to be anxious? Perhaps they always associate our arrival with a problem or an issue!”
A very astute observation so early in the session, and to Julia a very encouraging sign for a day of reflection and learning.
As with most groups embarking on this programme, a feeling of uncertainty laced the air.
This is to be expected and a pinch of trepidation is always a brilliant way to kick off any self-awareness learning experience.
The first order of business is the Welcome Briefing, getting to know the participants and gently introduce them to what lies ahead. During the initial activity, the group develops their first sense of awareness by observing the environment from afar and zooming in to reflect on what they noticed. Using a basic comfort zone model, they explore individual thoughts, feelings and emotions and witness subtle shifts in the environments.
From a distance, the horses remained alert while quietly grazing. Watching the group move from the learning barn towards fields, the entire herd stood poised, waiting for what would follow – although the group said they were comfortable, the behaviour of the horses told a different story.
Becoming aware of your vibe and boundaries
As the group entered the field for the first time, the horses created space for the visitors.
Subconsciously, everyone carries energetic vibes – it’s what draws people closer or pushes them away. The horses were responding to the energy, which became obvious to the team.
As the team reflected on their impact in the workplace, Georgie returned to gently welcome them, followed by Ella and Joel. The team then considered the boundaries they needed to feel safe and considered the relevance of this to their positions around trust and relationships and how to manage positive change. It is a subtle but compelling lesson – one to be experienced rather than theoretically learned.
Within the first hour, the group experienced shifts in their comfort zones and tuned into their needs based on the changing environment. They became acutely aware of the boundaries required to stay safe, how to share feedback and concerns, support each other and verbalise how individual behaviours impact on the team.
Vulnerability and honesty lead to discovery
Leaning into vulnerability is hugely powerful and the team achieved a massive breakthrough after admitting trust was their growing edge. The response to each other was nurturing and solution-driven because they felt safe to talk openly, something that is rarely accomplished back at work. Dropping the work mask often results in unexpected shifts in self-awareness for everyone and for the greater good of the team’s goals.
Discovering yourself first and how to lead others second.
The team learnt about individual leadership styles with the horses. Figuratively speaking, the horses reflected what was not being said, causing the participants to pause and problem solve how to improve their desired outcomes.
Expectations, assumptions, and perceptions were challenged as the team dealt with personal internal chatter. It was observed that, as their awareness of self and each other developed, they became more confident about their strengths and capabilities to handle the challenges ahead, together.
The team made promises to act, implement their learning as individuals and as a team, and work on trust and collaboration. Their newfound awareness along with their complementary strengths, combined, was a huge learning outcome all round.
|“Being here has bought out things that we would never have seen, experienced or been able to identify in a traditional classroom. It has been a real game changer.”
Fun, effective, and experiential learning with horses
Equine real-time workshops offer powerful learning outcomes because they are expansive, reflective, and interactive. Self-awareness and realisations embed more deeply than classroom training because learning is profoundly intuitive and personal.
Whether you like horses or not, Altezza People UK offer game-changing performance workshops suitable for all businesses and teams who are serious about improving their results and relationships.
To find out more about Chilli Development, visit https://www.gochilli.co.uk