I am an executive coach and registered psychologist, with a Bachelor of Business Science (UCT) and a Masters in Counselling Psychology (Stellenbosch). Combined with my own hands-on management background, I have acquired the experience and qualifications to provide an integrated coaching service across executive, life and personal arenas. As an activist I have been involved in a number of NGO initiatives and start-ups, and currently serve as a director on the board of Yabonga (Children and HIV Project).
“I am now able to see the dramas and power plays in conflictual meetings – yet remain calm and un-hooked, sure of what my abilities and focus areas are” A.B.
“You have developed a reputation for being able to put your finger on the core issues.” A.D.
“Your support and solid solid skill were very important in the big changes I have made.” D.O.
“You were the near-perfect coach for the precise situation I have been in, and walked the line delicately between challenging and supporting me.” L.B.
“You have great and usefull models at hand, but what I have really valued is who you are, and what you have brought as a person.” D.T.
“You were inspiring, tough when needing to be, pushed me out of the victim zone really quickly, and set me firmly on a path of self-discovery… reminding me in many ways of the person I can and should be, and giving me the tools to do so” L.I.
Leaders are only trusted and followed over time if they are emotionally and intellectually integrated and authentic. They will eventually be exposed and disregarded if they merely adopt the “tricks of the trade”, perhaps having learned lots of “leadership theory” on the way. It takes courage, patience and guidance to face ourselves clearly, to evolve internally and achieve clear self-leadership. Executives anticipating promotion are also well served by a time of focused leadership development and coaching to prepare themselves for their expanded future roles.
We are not paid to just “be ourselves”, but to fulfil very specific roles. The paradox of fulfilling a role authentically merits close attention and care to avoid the hidden pitfalls. How we manage ourselves and the complexities of work relationships and dynamics will also greatly impact our task effectiveness, regardless of whether we see ourselves as “people orientated” or not. Executives often need assistance to avoid the “reputational drag” that can accompany either over- or under- focusing on tasks. Many very technically skilled people find the challenge of getting things done with or through people tremendously frustrating, and not something they were taught in their technical or “hard skill” professional training.
As pressures to increase leverage and hold costs down continue to rise, the risks and strains of high individual workloads pose a threat to executives and their organisations. Being able to prioritise, manage workflow and reduce the personal impact of high stress roles requires key philosophical anchoring and practical tools that can be used every day. Akin to regular gym visits, a growing number of executives are also making use of regular sessions for de-briefing, ongoing learning and support across time. Monthly or bi-monthly sessions are proving to be an effective way of maintaining health and optimal cognitive and creative functioning.
Very often the internal obstacles to high performance are harder to grasp and to move out of the way than those in the working environment. These can include a range of self-limiting factors such as biased self knowledge, anger and frustrationn issues, self-doubt, anxiety, mid-life issues, depression and conflict avoidance. Being a qualified psychologist allows the depth coaching process to go to any and all levels required to bring about insight and personal transformation.
Growing numbers of executives are realising that business success alone does not constitute a full life, so any comprehensive coaching approach should include coaching for Purpose and Meaning. This has special importance in an age where individuals increasingly look to their work to supply not only material needs, but opportunities for deeper meaning and fullfilment as well.
Times of crises in the personal or professional life of the individual call for additional support to either limit damage, or support optimal functioning through the crises period. Personal crises periods that can benefit from Executive Support can be serious illness, divorce, trauma, addiction and the like. Professional crises include once–off work stress peaks such as external audits, incident or ongoing work conflict, company restructuring and major shifts in market forces.
Coaching, with its focus on latent potential and co-creation is fast becoming the management style and corporate culture of the future (rather than just an individual intervention). Every manager is potentially a coach, and equipping and empowering managers to be effective staff and team coaches can yield real value. Studies show that on average, people are utilizing only 40% of their potential in every-day work. Coaching as a management practice and style can do much to tap into this resource. Not only can managers-as-coaches increase performance in staff, but it can further provide sources of meaning and purpose for those who are charged with leadership and responsibility.