Adapting your communication, developing your leadership, managing your emotions… Cécile Parquet, an equicoach based near Senlis (Oise), offers training in personal and professional development assisted by horses.
“I don’t whisper in horses’ ears.” A joke launched on the fly in this group of 10 trainees, executives of IECF-Pesier, an industrial electricity company based in Rosny-sous-Bois in Seine-Saint-Denis. For them, equicoaching is a discovery and horses, more or less happy childhood memories.Curiosity and apprehension mingle with the idea of approaching their three partners: Cali, a small horse, Juan, a gray Spaniard and a stallion, Altaïr.
The equicoaching session begins with a presentation of the discipline, born in the 90s in the United States and which continues to develop to such an extent that today, large groups such as Enedis or L’Oréal now call on horse-assisted coaching.
“The horse is hypersensitive. It can detect our heartbeats, our emotions. If we are sad, he feels it, if we are angry, he also feels it. He captures our intentions and everything we release and then he sends it back to us through his attitude. It is a wonderful mirror of our emotions. This is what we use in equine coaching”explains Cécile Parquet, founder of Action Equicoaching.
A rider since childhood, Cécile Parquet is an equicoach at the Balagny stables in Chamant, near Senlis in the Oise. She offers individual or group sessions to companies or individuals. Objective: improve verbal or non-verbal communication within teams, strengthen group cohesion, work on leadership, self-confidence or simply learn to better manage emotions and stress. In business or in his personal life.
No need to know how to ride a horse, the equicoaching sessions are done on foot, in complete safety. The horse evolves freely under the watchful eye of the coach. During a first session, Cécile Parquet proposes to the trainees to put the horse in motion, at a walk, at a trot, at a gallop and to stop it. For the participants, it is a question of adapting their communication, their voice, their body, their positions, to make themselves understood. An exercise that allows you to work on self-confidence and your ability to find the necessary resources when faced with a difficulty. “The horse reacts according to the consistency of our request”, ensures the coach. “If the request is just, the answer will be just“, she continues.
It’s not easy when faced with a 500 kg animal that doesn’t always want to do what it’s asked to do! Among the participants, giggles, dismay, or even nervousness but also a lot of pride when the horse understands and bends to the request. “Normally, I don’t approach horses. Here for once, I went beyond my apprehensions! It’s a pleasure. I’m reassured“, smiles Philippe, Administrative and Financial Manager IECF-Pesier.
“It was super complicated to manage to guide the horse. It’s a bit like managing employees. We try to get in touch. We try to adapt our language, it’s quite similar to what we can experience in our companies”confides Kenza, Business Manager, Assistant to the Works Manager, before adding: “CIt is not easy to be able to impose yourself, especially as a woman. In the building, there are many men.“
Another exercise, but this time as a team. Horse in hand, a trainee evolves blind, blindfolded. He must cover a certain distance based on the directives of his team: “to the right, straight ahead….”.
This exercise addresses the ability to communicate clearly and develop trust in your team, explains the founder of Action Equicoaching. “It is about adopting a common strategy for a mission. This exercise also shows everyone’s place in a team, who is going to lead, who is going to be somewhat in the background, who is going to be there to support the others.”specifies Cécile Parquet.
“You who were blindfolded, you had the impression that the orders were well distributed “, asks the coach. Everything is scrutinized. She studies the movements of the teammates, their positioning in relation to the horse and to others and analyzes each step while making the link with the professional context. “These are relatively fun exercises. There are messages that can come across more easily in play than in professional life“, testifies Karim, maintenance manager.
Third test: collectively evolve a pony in freedom on a course in a minimum time. “This exercise touches on non-verbal communication since the participants are not allowed to talk to each other. It shows the place that we naturally take in a team without realizing it. 90% of our communication is non-verbal“, emphasizes Cécile Parquet. “Our body, the way we move, what we release unconsciously. The horse is very sensitive to it.“, she specifies.
“In this exercise, we started a little head down. It was not the right method, we could have been faster if we had shared the roles well. In business it sometimes happens that we leave headlong. Fortunately, we catch up quickly, we stop right away and we start from scratch to start again on a good basis.“, analyzes Kenza.
The day ends with a debriefing. Cécile Parquet helps participants to express what they felt. “Team spirit, taking initiatives, self-confidence… There are many things we did this afternoon that are consistent with what I experience in the company. And then what I saw today with my colleagues, these are really things that I see on a daily basis“, recognizes Brian, deputy works manager. An enthusiasm nuanced by Julien, more critical with regard to equicoaching: “For me, it’s much more difficult to move a group of humans forward than to move a horse forward.”
This first experience of equicoaching seduced Marc Gerbi, at the head of the company, “I wanted to bring my collaborators here because it allows them to position themselves in relation to each other and to get to know each other better and then it also creates a nice atmosphere that can last throughout the year in the company“, he asserts.
Equicoaching is in full development, attracting the Directors of Human Relations today. “The horse has always been at the service of man, in the fields, for pleasure, for therapy with people with cerebral or motor disabilities”. testifies Cécile Parquet. Why ? “A horse never lies”, she smiled.
More info on the website Actionequicoaching.fr