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Effective leadership : an explorative study to the active aspects of equine-assisted learning regarding to emotional intelligence

Grootveld, N.N. (2015) Effective leadership : an explorative study to the active aspects of equine-assisted learning regarding to emotional intelligence.

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Abstract:This qualitative study is part of a MSc graduation project with the aim to discover the active aspects of Equine-Assisted Learning (EAL). Furthermore, this study tries to discover to what extend EAL can contribute to the development of emotional intelligence competencies. EAL is a training program with horses as an essential part of the training in order to develop leadership abilities. This study offers a new perspective in leadership development by demonstrating how participating in EAL can contribute to the development of a leaders emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is in this study considered as an important underlying mechanism of leadership effectiveness. Focusing on the experience of coaches from the professional field of EAL this study is one of the first to examine the competencies of EAL regarding the theoretical background of emotional intelligence. Horses seem to be effective partners in the training method by providing a direct emotional experience that enables deeper learning. The specific features of a horse such as communicating exclusively non-verbal and the ability to make contact with the human being on the emotional level, gives the opportunity to obtain honest feedback with regard to the authenticity of a person. The presence of a horse in EAL enables the participant to come into contact with their own emotions. This innovative study illustrates how engaging horses in the training program can increase managers self-awareness and their ability to manage emotions in an active and purposeful way of coaching. In other words; the training offers managers and leaders a possibility to focus on increasing their levels of emotional intelligence in an effective and fast manner. Eight semi structured interviews were conducted with experienced EAL coaches which gave insight in the competencies developed during the training. This study revealed that all coaches are working on improving leadership skills during their training but surprisingly none of them focus on emotional intelligence. The data collected during the interviews is afterwards compared with the theoretical foundations of emotional intelligence. The findings provide support for the conclusion that participating in EAL is beneficial for the development of several emotional intelligence competencies. This findings are promising for future leadership development programs.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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