Building Community Through Better Relationships

You Can Lead a Horse to Water, But You Can’t Make Him Thirsty

Everyone knows that you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. But, people can be stubborn to the point that you can lead them to what they desperately need and they will refuse to even want it! For anyone whose position or passion is guiding people to their individual goals, this refusal has to be engaged and overcome. The implications go beyond the ability to coach an individual toward personal development, but extend to having people fulfill their unique purpose.

Reminding them, “It’s good for you” is not enough. What happens when the person you are charged with shepherding to a higher level stonewalls you? What are the strategies required to successfully develop staunchly reluctant individuals?

1. Be Present
A mentoring or training relationship requires accountability as well as instruction. When the stallion that you are developing shows decreasing desire, maintaining contact is critical. While working toward personal improvement, beware of encroaching discouragement. While soldiers may respond to intense boot camp techniques, the typical person first needs to know that accountability and support is present. Regular reminders of the commitment through encouraging words and leading by example are valid tactics. Emotional and physical presence reinforce the thirst for success that launched the development efforts initially.

2. Be Patient
Remember that change is not instantaneous. Taking your trainee to the gym is not the same as getting them on the treadmill. Similarly, professionals who seek to extend beyond their comfort zone and network may not realize immediate success. They may physically attend the event, but nudging them to interact with new people still presents a challenge. Although our stallion realizes that this step is key to future career or social success, fear of the unknown or rejection can quickly overwhelm their thirst for progress. Adhering to a process that gradually introduces new behaviors and recognizes regular victories promotes personal improvements that sustain. Rome was not built in a day, and neither are better habits!

3. Be Persistent
The advantage of planning personal development is that the long haul is acknowledged upfront. Encouraging, pleading, threatening, attacking are all available tools for progress. To move your stallion, realize that you may need to use one or all of these tools multiple times. Ultimately, the goal is as important as the desire. When the desire wanes, the goal has to be re-introduced. Ironically, when the goal seems beyond reasonable reach, the desire has to be enflamed. As an accountability partner, coach, mentor or trainer, results are a byproduct of repeated behaviors toward a specific outcome. Persistence pays in creating the thirst to achieve results.

4. Be Practical
In building winners, know that your pearls of wisdom and tools for high performance are valuable! Your willingness to share these gifts makes them even more valuable. Giving has power and once applied, it multiplies to the giver, the recipient and the next beneficiary. Realize when it is time to take your talents and apply them to the next beneficiary. You can educate, enlighten and encourage a horse, but you can’t really make him thirsty. Many stallions only need a drink to win great races and accomplish incredible deeds. You cannot save each and every one, but the rewards of saving one are great. Guide the champion steed who will drink from your watering hole!

By Glenn Hunter


August 1, 2013 Posted by | Better Person | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment