When I first started my internship with CIELARKO six weeks ago, I was unsure what to expect. I was very excited and curious as to what my tasks would be and who the people were that I’d spend the next one and a half months with. On my first day, I was pretty nervous, so sitting down with Layo and starting to get to know each other face-to-face helped me to relax, but also to clarify for myself what I expected to get out of this experience. Namely to acquire an inside look at what being a consultant really means and perhaps also to find out if I want to further pursue this profession in the future.
Since I did not know much about the specific work of CIELARKO, apart from what Layo told me and what their website revealed beforehand, I spent a lot of my time during the first few days of my internship reading through websites and manuals. Having attained more detailed knowledge on the topics and clients CIELARKO is working with, I began feeling more comfortable and confident with the subjects at hand. This is a pattern that would repeat itself quite a few times during my stay. For instance, when first meeting the different clients CIELARKO works with, I often found it difficult to follow for different reasons. One of which definitely is that English is not my first language, but another one was also that I had not been in contact with the topics they discussed so far. Here it was very helpful that my questions were always welcomed and additionally, Layo explained to me that my questions were also a good opportunity for herself to organise her thoughts and sometimes also to question things herself.
During the following weeks, I spent a lot of time at the Muizenberg office with Layo and Sim, who also helped me whenever I had questions. While stationed at Muizenberg, I also accompanied Layo to see various clients, ranging from NGOs to large corporate businesses. Like so often during this great experience, I was astonished at the huge amount of trust they put in me. Of course, I had signed a confidentiality agreement and yet I was amazed that I was allowed to participate in confidential client meetings. This experience offered me an even greater appreciation for the importance of trusting and earning the trust of colleagues.
On top of that, I felt very honoured that Layo always gave me the feeling that my thoughts and opinions are valued. Obviously, Layo did not always agree with me but I felt that my contribution is wanted and valued and I am very grateful for that. This is another aspect that made my internship such a great experience.
Now, at the end of my internship, I look back and realise that I would never have thought that six weeks could fly by so fast. I am so deeply thankful to CIELARKO and especially Layo for granting me the opportunity to attain first-hand insights into her job as a consultant and for doing so much more for me than I could have expected or even hoped for. During the past one and a half months I accompanied Layo to various clients, took lots of notes at meetings, expanded my PowerPoint and LibreOffice skills, got acquainted with the TIFF model, attended a family constellations workshop, received an equine coaching session and much more. Finally, I also want to thank my colleague Sim for answering so many of my questions and for letting me accompany him to his Xhosa lessons at Forres Preparatory School every Wednesday, which made my stay even richer than it already was.
Stefan Graebe was recently interviewed by SA FM to discuss his new book entitled ‘A Doctorate and Beyond: Building a Career in Engineering and the Physical Sciences’. In the Literature Show interview, he talks with Nancy Richards about how he got to start writing the book with fellow author Graham C. Goodwin and shares his journey to getting a Doctorate and moving beyond. To hear the interview, Click the play button, below, to listen to the interview.
Towards the end of last year, Layo had an interview with a German publication company, Business Spotlight, to share her insights on the journey having a business and living in South Africa. She shared a bit about her ethnic background (having a Nigerian father and a German mother) and how she identified South Africa as a country that brought both worlds together hence her move to SA. She also opened up briefly about her observations and experiences having a business in South Africa and how one needs to embrace the different cultures the country has. You can read briefly about the interview here. Otherwise you can order past issues of Business Spotlight at their cover price plus postage and packing. You can call (+49) 89-85681-16 or send an email to email@example.com
At the beginning of September, we had the pleasure of hosting Anette Dielmann, who ran a workshop on “Communication in Organisational Development Processes” and offered individual supervision at our offices in Muizenberg. The workshop was attended by a little group of participants from various professional backgrounds. It was eye opening for us all as we looked at organisational communication through different lenses.
The theoretical backbone for the work we did was Transactional Analysis, especially Günther Mohr’s “Individual and Organisational TA for the 21st Century”. Anette worked with us on real life examples, which made the theory come alive and illustrated possible causes of communication difficulties in organisations.
Looking into the development of solutions was fun, collaborative work, during which we all got some fresh new ideas from others. We could have gone on for a lot longer than the one day we had available. In our daily work with clients, we certainly will continue this train of thought.
August is Women’s month in South Africa! Sometimes all the “girlie” events at this time of year are not really attractive to me. Busy as I’ve been, I may have just ignored all that, had it not been for a speaking opportunity at the “Women in Leadership” Breakfast on 12th August, organised by Symphonia.
This made me really stop and think about my own career as a woman and about female leaders in general. How often do we compare ourselves with men, assuming that we are – or should be – like them? Too often, and it is not useful.
Leadership is about creating a world to which people want to belong. We don’t learn how to do this only from management textbooks and lectures. We don’t only learn how to do this from men, but also and especially from female rolemodels we all have: the mothers, grandmothers, and aunties in our lives. In discussions with employees in different organisations, I have been told repeatedly that their favourite leaders are the female ones. Somehow these women seem to have intuitively worked out how to touch people, so that they want to belong and follow the lead.
Let us remember to cherish and develop our female qualities, like nurturing, building relationships, and listening. Happy women’s month!
From the official inception of CIELARKO in 2008, Layo and Peter have seen cooperation with other organisations and individuals as an important part of our way of working.
It is inspirational to work with others. We have a good network of individuals and organisations that complement our portfolio of competencies. These relationships provide us with the opportunity for professional exchange (of ideas and methods), thus enhancing our creativity as well as our ability to provide clients with excellent service.
This year (2016), encounters with interesting people and their ideas have reminded us of the value that lies in joining forces with “complementary others”.
Layo is working with the Fluent Self organisation to make TIFF (see previous news item) profiling and training accessible to the South African market. See this link for more.
She has also started coordinating a group of practising coaches and therapists interested in expanding their knowledge and experience in the field of Equine Assisted Coaching. The group members learn from and with each other by sharing insights from their own practice, from courses they have participated in and by organising workshops with experts from across the globe. Their aim is to develop this field for the benefit of individuals, organisations and communities in South Africa.
CIELARKO is partnering with Relocation Africa in developing and delivering a one-day workshop to introduce expatriates to the topic of diversity, to prepare them for the difficulties and benefits of an expatriate assignment, and to equip them to deal with diversity-related challenges constructively. To find out more about “The Power of Difference”, follow this link.
Conversations with a few more interesting organisations, whose assets we complement and who complement ours, are underway in South Africa and abroad. We are curious about what lies ahead for us in this regard. If you are, too, keep checking our website for news.
The Temple Index for Functional Fluency (TIFF) is a well-researched tool for personal and professional development. Based on a personal TIFF profile, which results from filling in an online questionnaire, TIFF providers (consultants, trainers, coaches licensed to use this tool) co-create action plans for personal development together with their clients.
I (Layo) was introduced to this tool by my supervisor some years ago, found it incredibly useful for my own development and have been interested in becoming a TIFF provider ever since. Finally, the time has come…
Netherlands-based trainer and consultant, Lieuwe Koopmans, is coming to South Africa in May and June 2016 to train consultants, coaches, trainers and therapists to become TIFF providers for Africa. I will be participating in the training and am excited to be introducing Lieuwe and the Functional Fluency model to the South African environment.