In coaching, the notion of love is sometimes touched upon, and rarely frankly addressed in the professional relationship between coach and client. We are going to talk about posture, transfer, countertransference, framework, consciousness and work on oneself or on the other without ever talking about love.
Now love is a theme that underlies all kind of relationship and the person in coaching seems to have an essential lack: to be loved for who he or she is.
This lack can influence a lifetime and cause a veritable brake on the development of being. And do not misunderstand it affects a lot of people and stain the essence of human relations. Particularly in a society where perfection for being loved seems to be a very sought-after standard. This perfection often reflects selfies and … burn-outs!
Show yourself as beautiful as possible to have as much “like” as possible to have the feeling of being (a little) loved. And / or to overcome oneself beyond the reasonable to be recognized, appreciated, in one word to be loved … with the unfortunate consequence of medicated overconsumption as answering to a relational damage. In a society that seeks the solution of its problems in the outside world, the chemical industry is more successful than teaching what is a true love in relationship. This is what says certain doctors, themselves exhausted, whose waiting rooms are overflowing with human misery.
I recently met a renowned photographer who had a burn-out eight years ago and that is not completely over in which she lost hearing of one ear. She is quickly tired, worried often.
Curious to know what had brought me to become an equine coach I explained to her that it was my first horse who put me on this path. I was getting out of a divorce, he had just been fired from the racecourse for lack of performance, and our squashed hearts met. And yet … it was not easy to build a bond on either side because I did not know anything about horses. I made many mistakes. Yet if there is one thing that he taught me is that unconditional love exists. In finishing my sentence I noticed that the photographer’s face lit up with a smile.
Some time later she sent me this little note saying “thank you for explaining how you became an equine facilitator. It helped me deeply and carried the meditation of my day. I could truly understand this sentence: “unconditional love exists” and thanks to you, I believe in it today.
I was equally moved that this woman took the initiative to tell me. The transmission of love takes place in few essential things.
Repair and learn to love, love without fear
Without the specific request to receive love from his coach, the client is only able to grow if the bond is truly close to a relationship build with love. To repair and learn to love, to love without fear, requires a welcome, a listening and a deep compassion that many animals seem to possess naturally.
When I doubt or feel sad if one of my horses lays his nostrils on my neck, the comfort he brings me goes far beyond all speeches in the world. Certainly the support of a benevolent person is irreplaceable however the fact that the animals go spontaneously and silently in touch provides a space of healing and of gentle and precious awareness.
I remember this woman entrepreneur who came with this precise request to relearn love and who had locked herself in a tower of anger, revenge, self-violence, self-unworthyness like metal corset of which she could no longer find the exit door. At the evocation of her husband she began to weep without sobs, her arms crossed and knees tightened like a stone statue. Only tears ran down her cheeks and her clenched jaws. My dog who often attends the one-to-one part of the session in my office gently laid his paws on her lap and put his head against her heart. Forcing her there to open her arms to receive the silent comfort she so badly needed.
The difference between a horse and a coach
Most of the complications I have seen relate to difficulty dating back to early childhood and which hampered normal relational development into adulthood. This is clearly demonstrated by the horses from the first encounters.
The difference between a horse and a human companion is that he is not entangled in the net of his ego, mind and early childhood. The impulse of his heart comes spontaneously and without judgment. That’s what really attracted me to them. One must not match any standard for the horses, they all looking kindly to us.
We are sentient beings weakened by language which essentially lacks the connection to what we feel in the moment. It is our responsibility as a coach to constantly work on ourselves through a therapy and supervision in order to develop this ability to listen to what is said and felt at the present moment.
We are all equal to the notion of love: we need it!
The client never speaks of love, he comes in coaching to be accompanied for a malaise, a change that he can not start, a limit that he feels unable to cross or respect. He fails to formulate, hesitates and that’s right there where the horse goes in seconds.
This tumultuous tsunami I experienced also. This experience of being laid bare in two seconds and feeling very small is stunning. The horse knew exactly what I needed and came silently wrapping its neck around me. To be enveloped, truly loved in the evocation of a memory that my unconscious uncovers brutally and to be understood without there being any necessity to have to speak of this intensity was my own discovery of the power of the horse as “coach” … and this remains a path that I see with all my clients.
The kindly and generous attitude of the horses AND the facilitator that was present gave me the security necessary to dare to discover my uncomfortable awakenings. It is on this condition that coaching can be effective and heals.
We are all equal facing the notion of love: we need it! … and whatever the goal of coaching might be and/or emanate from, companies or individual, if we avoid this almost “taboo” notion – whether it is resolved or not – the horses will go always address this impalpable fuel that we all need to feel alive in a relationship.