Facilitating leadership development with horses: underpinnings of practice

Binks, Susan Elizabeth (2019) Facilitating leadership development with horses: underpinnings of practice. DProf thesis, Middlesex University. [Thesis]

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I am an Occupational Psychologist, leadership developer, facilitator and Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) practitioner with 20 years’ experience. Working with horses to give leaders feedback on their presence and impact is one of the most effective methods I have ever used. Equine Assisted Leadership Development (EALD) is a powerful experiential and embodied learning method, but some practitioners are using it with little or no experience of developing leaders, facilitation or experiential learning. As the popularity of this form of development increases, the imperative to ensure that clients are being supported by credible and competent facilitators also increases. The purpose of this research is to understand how EALD is practiced currently, and to get an insight into how experienced practitioners think about facilitating leadership development with horses. By elucidating the underpinnings of the practice of facilitating leadership development with horses this research will contribute to the credibility of the field.

This thesis outlines the practitioner and academic knowledge landscape that gives the context of facilitation with horses, to provide an experiential element to leadership development. In order to get a deeper insight into practitioner’s thought process, but also the lived experience of working in this way with horses, this research uses the methodology of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). The embodied and emergent nature of the phenomenon meant that different ways to access that lived experience were needed. As such the data was gathered by drawing on an innovative combination of interviews and enhanced recall through video with seven experienced EALD practitioners.

This deeper understanding of how these established developers think and practice is then compared with what we already know about facilitating experiential learning with leaders to establish whether this method requires a new approach, or simply an adaption of existing ones. The key findings look at how the three superordinate themes of Theory of Facilitation, Practice of Facilitation and Theory of learning interweave and influence each other. The aspiration is that this research will support the development of practitioners through curriculum development and further increase the credibility of this potent approach to developing leaders.

Item Type: Thesis (DProf)
Research Areas: A. > Work and Learning Research Centre
B. > Theses
Item ID: 26488
Depositing User: Brigitte Joerg
Date Deposited: 25 Apr 2019 09:08
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2021 16:49
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/26488

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