Bernie’s Background

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, the IFP and Radio 702.

Bernie returned to university as a mature student. Here she studied 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, under the auspices of the Professional Communications Unit. 

Most of Bernie’s tertiary education has taken place at the University of Cape Town. She has a BA in English, Drama, Geography and Mathematics, a Post Graduate Diploma in Education, and a three year Performers Diploma in Speech and Drama (Bilingual). She also returned to university as a mature student to study Psychology to Honours level, while also qualifying as a LifeLine counselor.  At the Centre for Coaching at the Graduate School of Business (UCT), she has completed the CTE, ACC and the PCC. She has also attended the Martha Beck “Weight Loss for Smart Women” Coaching Course in Arizona, USA, and has an International qualification in Style and Image from the Colour Me Beautiful Academy.

Bernie’s Philosophy of Coaching

Bernie has always had a deep interest in how people interact and grow. As a little girl Bernie was fascinated by literature – in character, and personality and in relationships between people, and in how people and relationships change and develop. This has carried over into her love of theatre, and also 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 the penny drops and they suddenly see things in a whole new way. Then a whole new vista of opportunity opens up to them.

In this way Bernie helps them shine a light on their lives and shows them how to get there themselves. People can then step out of their own way and into the solution by shifting their awareness or the angle of their awareness. She sees her role as a fascilitator in helping people to sort themselves out. Through this Bernie empowers people and options widen 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 that she is eternally grateful for and which gives her a unique understanding when it comes to Coaching.

When interpreting a drama script, one has to ask the question, “What is happening through the words, what do they mean by that, what are their motivations, inter-relationships, people dynamics, how people are changed and affected by 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 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.