or what you might want to know


ICF (International Coaching Foundation) defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential, which is particularly important in today’s uncertain and complex environment. Coaches honor the client as the expert in his or her life and work and believe every client is creative, resourceful and whole. Standing on this foundation, the coach’s responsibility is to:

  • Discover, clarify, and align with what the client wants to achieve
  • Encourage client self-discovery
  • Elicit client-generated solutions and strategies
  • Hold the client responsible and accountable

This process helps clients dramatically improve their outlook on work and life, while improving their leadership skills and unlocking their potential.”

This is the official definition of coaching through the International Coaching Federation that ensures quality in training and practice from qualified coaches all over the world. As many people call themselves coaches, I am glad to say that there is one official organization that certifies Coaches only after a controlled education and examination process.


Someone new to coaching might hear the word “coach” and think football, but sports coaches generally are in charge, setting the goals and the path to victory. Teaching, correcting, and managing are all skills a sports coach would use. Professional life, business or executive coaching is the opposite; it’s you who sets the goals and gets you to where you want to be.


Unlike therapists and counselors, coaches don’t focus on the childhood or past experiences that might be the root of the way a person lives or feels. Instead they help you get clear on what you want in the future, why you want it, and how you are going to achieve it.

That is of course a bit simplified, but it is only supposed to explain the core difference. If I feel that a client would be better suited with a therapy, I will always discuss that with you openly. We might decide to stop Coaching for a while and I might suggest a therapist for you in the meantime.


It’s a tricky question, but that’s why it should be answered…

You won’t find out you need Coaching because your doctor prescribes it.

Coaching is something you need to do for yourself! In some cases, a person close to you might have said something like “Have you thought about talking to someone about that?”. But most of the time, you just feel that something isn’t right, that you are stuck or just that something needs to be different in your life. You might also just feel that there should be more to life, to your job or to your relationships, that you haven’t really reached your potential. Or you know that there are some serious changes ahead and you want to prepare for them. You might have to make some big decisions yourself and want to make sure you get a good look at it from every possible perspective. Or you feel like you just need a safe place for you to think, feel, plan and someone to listen.

So, you need Coaching in the same way as you need general maintenance in a lot of other areas of your life. You go to a hair salon every now and then? You visit a Fitness Center? You bring your car in for a check-up? You get your teeth done? You could just do all these things by yourself at home, but you trust that at a place of expertise, you will get it done better and with longer lasting effects. Where do you go to get maintenance for your mind?


Coaching is simple:

  • You tell me what you want to work on.
  • You decide the goals you are going for.
  • I make sure you have a good plan and we both know what you want to explore.
  • I ask questions to get you thinking, brainstorming, feeling, imagining.
  • You figure it out! Because you are the expert on your life, you know best which way to go –  I just make sure you stay on the path and keep going.
  • Sounds easy? It is and it really works!

For a more detailed understanding, there are a few terms that can explain a bit more about the specifics of Coaching.

Coaching is

  • Solution-Focused

which means that we are working with your desired future outcome in mind, instead of concentrating on your past experiences or reasons for some of your present dissatisfaction.

  • Systematic

Meaning that I am always taking the whole person into the Coaching process when I am working with you. We will always ensure that everything we do and decide fits in with your bigger picture of yourself, the people around you and your circumstances.

  • Client-Centered

which means that I am very much trusting your inner resources and skills, respecting your agenda goals (As long as they don’t intervene with current laws and regulations or do not endanger you or me. You can read more about that in the ICF’s Code of Ethics that I adhere to.) Coaching is an advice free zone.

  • Action Oriented

which means that I believe very much that change always includes action. We work together on breaking down the necessary change into specific, inspired steps that lead to fundamental shifts in your attitude, behavior and habit formation.

Within the partnership, what does the coach do? The individual?

The coach:

  • Provides objective assessment and observations that foster the individual’s or team’s self-awareness and awareness of others
  • Listens closely to fully understand the individual’s circumstances
  • Acts as a sounding board in exploring possibilities and implementing thoughtful planning and decision making
  • Champions opportunities and potential, encouraging stretch and challenge commensurate with personal strengths and aspirations
  • Fosters shifts in thinking that reveal fresh perspectives
  • Challenges blind spots to illuminate new possibilities and support the creation of alternative scenario
  • Maintains professional boundaries in the coaching relationship, including confidentiality, and adheres to the coaching profession’s code of ethics

The individual:

  • Creates the coaching agenda based on personally meaningful coaching goals
  • Uses assessment and observations to enhance self-awareness and awareness of others
  • Envisions personal success
  • Assumes full responsibility for personal decisions and actions
  • Utilizes the coaching process to promote possibility thinking and fresh perspectives
  • Takes courageous action in alignment with personal goals and aspirations
  • Engages big-picture thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Takes the tools, concepts, models and principles provided by the coach and engages in effective forward actions


As Coaching is relatively new, there is always a fair bit of scepticism against it as well as a lot of enthusiasm. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing as doubting always forces us to look deeper and ensure continuously good results. The ICF has done its homework and come up with some research that shows the overall results of Coaching. More information on benefits of coaching can be found in the ICF Research Portal, including case studies and industry reports.


So basically, what you are asking is: what can horses do that Annika can’t 🙂
And I am happy to answer that!
I would say what makes Coaching with horses so special is that they can be:
– a mirror
– a loyal companion
– getting you to be fully present
– not people

This is the very short version of it. If you would like to know more about my thoughts and experiences, you can read on here.