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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Coaching at Stellenbosch University

What is coaching?


A coach helps you find the most efficient way to achieve your goals faster

The International Coach Federation defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. 

Note that coaching is distinct from mentoring, counselling, therapy, conflict resolution, and mediation, and should not be conflated with these, or used when one of the other forms of supportive intervention is more appropriate. Where we can, we will point you in the direction of alternative resources for yourself or members of your team where there are needs we are not equipped to meet.  Coaching is voluntary and entirely confidential, and the details of your conversations with your coach are shared with no one. 

Why use a coach?

​A coach is someone who will help you articulate your goals, define strategies and plans, hold a vision of you in full expression and success, and challenge you to achieve that vision. You and your coach become allies in a team that is committed to supporting you in progress towards achieving your personal and professional goals.  Your coach's job is to hold you accountable and keep you moving forward.  Your coach will thus simultaneously challenge and champion you to deepen your learning about yourself, improve the quality and range of your thinking about yourself and your life, and forward the action you need to take to get the life you want.  

These are extraordinarily stressful times for all of us, most particularly for leaders who have so many considerations to juggle, and so many people looking to them for calm, clarity, and wisdom.  Many leaders are finding themselves the lightning rod or punching bag for the anxieties and frustrations of their staff, students and colleagues.  Individuals are being expected to provide Olympic level leadership, while simultaneously grappling with the anxieties and concerns of their own lives, and their own responses to the crisis.  All of us are in some way or other feeling de-skilled and overwhelmed. ​

What do clients typically use coaching for?

Because coaching is intensely individual, each client will be working on issues that are particularly, uniquely important to him or her at any given phase in the coaching.  There are some common themes that come up in a University environment, however, and the list below gives you an idea of the range:

  1. ​Overload / volume / multitasking / fragmentation of time, energy, and attention
  2. Dealing with difficult / disruptive / toxic personalities, particularly in open conflict / confrontation
  3. Loneliness, alienation, dissonance
  4. Making hard choices
  5. Balancing family and work, work-life balance
  6. Finding a personal leadership style that is strong and authentic and powerful
  7. Creating a credible and “heard" voice in high level interactions
  8. Managing change – trying to shift individuals, teams or departments to a new level of operations / engagement 
  9. The temptation just to coast vs the desire to be effective and make a lasting impact
  10. Multitasking and fragmentation
  11. Saying No without feeling guilty
  12. Picking one's battles
  13. Exhaustion and burnout
  14. Assertiveness and boundary patrolling
  15. Delegating effectively
  16. Managing “up" – dealing with my line manager
  17. Managing transitions – out of one role and into another
  18. Managing my own emotional triggers


How coaching works at Stellenbosch University 

Margaret Orr and Almene Potgieter are the University's fulltime leadership coaches, serving as a resource available to leaders and managers (post levels 1 - 7) to support their personal and professional effectiveness and resilience, and their ability to make a powerful and engaged contribution to the wellbeing of their teams and departments. 

Individuals can access the supportive space of a coaching conversation via Skype, Microsoft Teams, telephone call, or email.  Sessions are customised to the client's needs in terms of length and frequency – they may range from a 15-minute check-in to a quick exploration of strategy via email, to a 30-minute venting space, or a 60-minute in-depth coaching conversation.   Coaching sessions are typically scheduled two to three weeks apart, but the frequency is designed and negotiated individually with each client and adapted as circumstances change.

​For more information or to set up an initial conversation, contact:

For senior and executive leadership levels 1-4, as well as Vice-Deans and Heads of Department / Department Chairs​

​ Margaret Orr​

For support staff managers / supervisors and other individual employees at levels 5-7​

​​ ​ Almene Potgieter​

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  Contact details