Bernie has always had a deep interest in how people interact and grow: in character, and personality, in relationships between people, and in how people and relationships change and develop. This has been informed by her involvement with theatre, Psychology – and, of course, Life Coaching.
Communication is very important for Bernie. When people are not heard, they feel alienated, angry and alone. When people are given tools for listening and communicating, quality of life opens up with a ripple affect in the lives of the people concerned, their colleagues and loved ones.
Coaching for Bernie is asking the right questions so that people discover those ‘ah-ha’ moments when they suddenly see things in a whole new way. Then a whole new vista of opportunity opens up to them. They now hold the compass of their lives.
In this way Bernie helps them shine a light on their direction and shows them how to get to their chosen destination themselves. People can then step out of their own way and into the solution by shifting their awareness or the angle of their awareness. Through this Bernie empowers people, widening their options for them to resculpt their lives to their own liking.
Bernie has spent many years studying in the allied fields of literature, drama and psychology and has worked as a LifeLine counselor. In particular, her work in drama and theatre has given her a depth of perception for which she is eternally grateful, and that gives her a unique understanding when it comes to Coaching.
Drama is depth work. When interpreting a drama script, one has to ask the question, “What is happening through these words, what do they mean by that, what are their motivations, inter-relationships, people dynamics, how are people changed and affected by these events? How does that feel?” You step into ‘shoes’ or roles that are not you, which gives you insight and understanding. Inhabiting a role grows Empathy and opens up opportunities to explore people in different facets of life that you would never otherwise have had cause to consider deeply. You can never again face Life from a Unitary perspective.
What a grounding for a Life Coach! Add to this the superb Coaching training offered by the Centre for Coaching at the Graduate School of Business at UCT, and you have a winning combination.
Bernie began her working career teaching English, before returning to university to study drama as a performance art. After moving to Johannesburg from Cape Town, she worked as a freelance actress for PACT, Pieter Toerien, the SABC/TV as well as working as a broadcaster on Radio South Africa. She also presented Psychology of the Air for SATV2. In addition, during this time, she wrote for Professional Management Review, the official journal of the IMM.
She eventually left the acting and journalism professions to open her own business, Vocal Impact CC. Here she researched, designed, marketed and presented Corporate Communications courses, eventually growing the business to include a client base which offered Communications training to companies such as ABSA, Standard Bank, Telkom and Radio 702.
After moving back to Cape Town, Bernie returned to university as a mature student to study Psychology to Honours level, achieving Firsts in all three of her undergraduate years. She then taught Drama part time at Constantia Waldorf School and at Cedar High School in Mitchells Plain, before moving on to the University of Cape Town to lecture under- and postgraduate Commerce students in Corporate Communications, through the Professional Communications Unit. She left UCT in order to concentrate on Coaching as a career, and is now on the faculty of USB-ED at Stellenbosch University as Coach and Executive Trainer. She still assists Abbotts College with their matriculation moderation in Drama and she has also written a screenplay.
To see Bernie’s qualifications, go to FAQs: What Coaching qualifications does Bernie have?
Contact Bernie on 021 460 0426 or 083 632 0429
I am lucky in that my work has recognised the value in sending their employees for coaching sessions to assist with personal development and to ensure their managers develop into strong leaders. I feel like my day is so busy and to fit in a coaching session is so difficult…however whenever I leave my session with Bernie I feel relaxed, energised and enlightened. Her coaching style is effective without feeling invasive. I have made extraordinary progress in just 4 sessions. I feel better equipped to handle both work and personal circumstances. Going into the coaching sessions I wasn’t sure how much I would actually benefit; now I would recommend it to everyone. I want to thank Bernie for creating a safe and patient environment for me to explore my development areas. The fortnightly exercises cement the learning and create positive habits.
Direct Axis SA (Pty) Ltd
Bernie offers coaching in a relaxed and supportive manner, which allowed me to identify personal development challenges. Her knowledge on a wide range of development tools and techniques allowed me the opportunity to successfully address these challenges and become a better leader.
Johanan van der Westhuizen
Graduate School of Business (UCT)