[Day in the Life of a Coach] Interview with ICA Coach, Lisa Eklund
(Equestrian Performance Coach, UNITED STATES)
ICA Coach Lisa Eklund turned her love of horses into a retirement dream – to coach folks working in the equestrian industry.
As a College Professor Lisa has been teaching and preparing students for the equestrian industry for years. After completing her coaching qualifications with ICA she has now blended mindfulness and equestrian coaching to develop her new coaching business “The Mindful Equestrian”
Blending Mindfulness with Equestrian Coaching
Drawing from her 35 years as an equestrian performance coach, hunter/jumper clinician and trainer, and professor of equine science and management, Lisa blends traditional equestrian training techniques with mindfulness training and performance coaching.
Lisa, who lives in the mountains of upstate New York, says her passion for mindfulness and self-awareness lead her to pursue formal coach training at ICA to further develop her skills. And it’s in the groups of different coaching specialties, she found an affinity for career coaching.
Whether it is on they’re journey towards mindful and successful riding or towards finding their authentic career and life paths, Lisa says coaching is a perfect tool for supporting anyone in any goal.
“I really believe coaching can change the world,” says Lisa who graduated from ICA in2015. “Not all at once but it can chip away at the unrest and conflict we’re experiencing everyday. That’s what gives me purpose… to help make this a better world by making positive shifts in the lives of my clients by coaching them in their careers and lives.”
Interview with Merci Miglino
Merci: Hi and welcome to another Day in the Life of a Coach. I am Merci Miglino and with me today is Lisa Eklund, who actually isn’t very far from me in New York. She’s up the road a bit as they say, a couple of hours. So welcome Lisa!
Lisa: Hi Merci, how are you today?
Merci: I’m great! I’m living the life of a coach!
Lisa: That’s a great life!
Merci: Yeah. So Lisa just graduated from ICA but she’s been coaching, in a way, for many years. She’s an equestrian performance coach and she does clinical work and training work with hunters and jumpers this is how she’s blending traditional equestrian training with mindfulness training and coaching. I’d love to hear how you found coaching and how you came to this niche Lisa!
Lisa: Well I’m a college professor right now and will be retiring in May because I want to take up coaching. My specialty is, I teach equitation writing, training, management of horses to prepare students for the industry. And through my eighteen years of doing that, something that has come to my interest is the actual mental aspect of the writing and how that affects the performance and how students, the fears that they have in their day to day life that come up in their writing, whether it’s fear of failure or perfectionism, or whatever, has come to fascinate me and that’s how I got the connection of coaching and writing.
EQUITATION = The art of training, riding, and handling horses. (Wikipedia)
Merci: Yeah, it’s so interesting isn’t it? It’s like these patterns of perspective that we have. Somebody once said that the way you do one thing is the way you do everything. I think when it comes to some of these perfectionism or fear of failure, they really transcends a particular event or occupation as a word would show up on things like, “how to be a good writer?”, “how to have that kind of confidence with this business equine science and management?”. I just find that fascinating.
Lisa: Yeah, it’s become interesting to me, Actually I did one of my papers on just that for ICA, how to connect, not just in writing but whether you play tennis or whatever you’re doing in life, you carry those things from one thing to another. And if you can work on them in one area, it will help you in another area.
Merci: What a way to make a profound change in one’s life.
Lisa: And in working with the students I not only get to work with them on the horses and managing a business and on their career choices but also on where they’re going. So that’s another level of where I’m taking my coaching as well, with the career and life choices and helping them at their age when they feel stuck, but also anybody at any age. So it’s kind of a combination of performance coaching with equestrian but also blending in life and career coaching. That’s all of kind of what’s risen to the top and I realized that’s what my passion and purpose really is.
Merci: Yeah, I can see that when you’re teaching students of that age, I’m imagining, high school or college students that you teach predominantly?
Lisa: College students.
Merci: College students. That’s a whole four years of wondering what the heck you’re supposed to be doing and you have a way of opening up possibilities for people in their career choices, life choices. That’s really what coaching is all about.
Lisa: I just love it.
Merci: So I heard that you wrote your paper on how these things show up in different areas so right now, where is it showing up for you? Tell me a little bit about what your coaching practice is starting to look like. I know that you’re just starting. Tell us what you have in mind for the future.
Lisa: One of the things I’ve learned throughout the years is how to be an open book. And allowing it to kind of happen instead of trying to force things to happen. So I’m trying to do performance coaching and letting others grow organically from it. And right now because I’m a college professor, I have certain times where I have a lot of free time, summers and winter break are coming up so that’s when I focus a lot of time on training. I do equestrian clinics, performance clinics, but I’m also going to do a lot of networking now, like going to a lot of open houses. Last night I went to one, in a wellness center, where they incorporate different aspects of wellness. So trying to get that time, trying to find out where it feels right to take the career and life coaching as well and how I want to blend that. So I’m a coach. I kind of have an idea where I want to go but I’m still kind of on that seeking stage, which is a fun stage I think.
Merci: Yeah, it is fun. It’s like an exploration or a journey where you discover things. Some of them you imagined, some you even don’t. So I always say this to you coaches, get out there and try things, find your spot, find your niche, and let it grow, even if it’s a little bit organic.
Lisa: I think that’s the thing that I realized, that it doesn’t have to stay the same. It can change. And that I need not be caught up on it being the same. And then you mentioned “journey”, I actually have two business names, one “The Mindful Equestrian” and the other one for the life and career coaching is called “Journey Towards a Mindful Life”. So mindfulness is very important. That’s basically how I try to practice my day to day life, becoming more mindful of my choices and what I do. It’s a practice and I fall out of the wagon quite a bit [laughs].
Merci: Well that’s what it is[laughs]. It’s a lifelong process. You never really arrive there. Kinda invites us to just like the ride.
Merci: So you retire soon and you will have a lot more flexibility in your schedule. And that reminds me of the flexibility of coaching. You have a process that you can coach anybody. The process, if you pass it, transcends content, or event or situation. And it’s very flexible. I think people who are looking for a flexible lifestyle are drawn to it as well.
Lisa: Yes I agree. And I’ve enjoyed my career up to this point. But I realized that what I very much want is that flexibility and also giving back. I’m already giving back in what I do but giving but in a different way. And that flexibility as a change, let’s try this, let’s try that. It all has the coaching connection. There’s a lot of opportunity out there and it makes life exciting instead of feeling “I’m done, I’m retiring, What do I do”?
Merci: Right! That’s retired TO something rather than AWAY something.”
Lisa: It makes it very very exciting about having that something new to go to.
Merci: I’m going to share with the listeners that you and I have the affinity for the word “grit”. We share an understanding for that word. Tell us more about why you are passionate about the word “grit”.
Lisa: You know it’s funny, that’s another thing I’ve done. That’s what’s my coaching model is based on and my power tool is titled “Finding Your Grit”. It’s a word that has come up. I don’t know when I started using it but I just started using it a lot in teaching. I’m talking to my students and I’m like “You just have to find a little grit” and just keep on moving forward. Not be afraid, if things get a little tough, that’s ok. You have to dig in and find that stuff within you that helped you get through tough times before because we all have that but sometimes we forget that. It’s just a great word. I think it was Angela Duckworth on Ted Talk on it and she researched on it. And researching the actual quality of grit and how people would react, trying to get students aware of it, so they’d have more success of it. So it’s just a very simple word, the way it sounds is what it is I think.
Merci: I think on your bio, you described it as passion with perseverance.
Lisa: Yes, and that was a quote from Angelina Duckworth. And another one who talks about it. He talks about the special Olympian and the grit they have. And it’s funny as I started to use the word and think about it as something I wanted to be part of my coaching, it showed up in all sorts of things. In fact as I was doing this, it’s actually “grit” on network tv too now.
Merci: Oh my goodness! So we’re on to something, that’s for sure.
Lisa: Yeah, that’s my other thing. I feel like when you’re looking for something, you’re open to it, it shows up too.
Merci: It does, doesn’t it? Your brain goes in a direction of your thoughts.
Lisa: Yap, so it’s a great word.
Merci: So that kind of segways into our final question. If you could tell the world, Lisa, one thing about coaching, what would it be?
Lisa: I think coaching is something that a lot of people don’t understand. And it’s probably because, like we’re talking about having the opportunity with so many changes in direction where you can go, but I think a coach really helps a person find their purpose in life. I think many of us are stuck living, or maybe not living, our purpose. So I think it’s such an opportunity for people to find their purpose in life. And I really feel like in my coaching, It’s not only helping people as a career and making a living, but also because I feel like the world is not a great place necessarily all the time right now. If we can just keep on coaching, shifting a little bit, helping people find their purpose, things will be become a better place. So I don’t know if I answered that.
Merci: I definitely liked the image of giving back and using the coaching process as a tool for shifting change. If we may chip away and hopefully spread it out as you said, we can change somewhat the events that are happening because people are caught up is perspective that serves them more than others. It’s really taking a toll on our well-being and peace of mind.
Lisa: And maybe just the idea of maybe we can’t control all that is going out there but maybe we can control what’s going on with us and maybe just the world around us instead of getting caught up on all the turmoil. I just think coaching has a wonderful purpose in the world.
Merci: Right. Well thank you Lisa for spending a couple minutes and describing what life is like, or soon to be like, as a coach. And we wish you all the best!
Lisa: Thanks for inviting me, it was a lot of fun!
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