Recognising female leadership qualities

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!

Posted on 23 August 2016.

Cooperation: Our Topic of the Year 2016

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.


Posted on 22 April 2016.

Layo Organising TIFF Training for South Africa

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.

The training is being run through the South African Transactional Analysis Association (SATAA). Anyone who is interested in joining us, please send me an email or give me a call on +27 21 788 8254.

For more information on Functional Fluency and TIFF, see


Posted on 18 March 2016.

CIELARKO wishes you happy holidays!

We, at CIELARKO, wish you peace and joy during the festive season!
As you go into 2016, may time fo with you as a friend.

Best wishes and happy holidays
from the CIELARKO team.


Posted in December 2015.


“Update your Leadership Skills” started out strong this October

Layo and Ingrid ran an in house training as well as an open workship in October 2015. The main subject was Leadership. The workshops were attended by people from different backgrounds with diverse skills, experiences, and positions within their organisations. Each person contributed their understanding and interpretation of Leadership. Some pre-conceptions were challenged. Everyone gave fresh thought to their own habits and patterns at work. Both participants and facilitators had some “aha-moments”. Participants left feeling enriched and empowered with new tools from Nonviolent Communication and Transactional Analysis.

For more information on the ULS workshop, fee free to contact us via email or by giving us a call on 021 788 8254.

“Update your Leadership skills” – New CIELARKO workshop!

CIELARKO has developed a new workshop targeting those who are in managerial and leadership positions in their organisations. With many things changing and people moving from position to position, leaders need opportunities to practice communicating effectively in new situations. This workshop introduces tried and tested communication tools from Transactional Analysis and Nonviolent Communication. It also looks at positive ways for dealing with criticism and managing conflict in the workplace.

The workshop takes one full day and the cost per person is R 1 350,00. For more details, see workshop description and contact us.

Breakfast Briefing with Professor Dr. Martin Hoegl and Ludwig team – 23 July 2015

CIELARKO is once again working with the Ludwig Maximilian University (Munich, Germany) team on a research project around the subject ‘Successful Local Innovation for Global Change.’ The aim of this research project is to uncover critical success factors of social innovation and entrepreneurship to deliver social impact by utilising innovative and effective inclusive business models to satisfy the needs of low-income customers. This research project is conducted by Helene Koepplin (a Ph.D. student at the Institute for Leadership and Organisation at the University).

At this Breakfast Briefing Professor Hoegl will discuss key drivers for successful strategy implementation in emerging market environments, and thus how local ideas can lead to global impact.

The Briefing is taking place on 23 July 2015 at the Country Club in Johannesburg.

For further details, bookings (please note that you must RSVP by 15th July 2015 for the latest) or enquiries you can follow this link:

23rd – 25th October 2013: Horses as Coaches continues

In April, we ran our first CIELARKO Horses as Coaches workshop with a very special guest facilitator from Germany: Anette Dielmann. Anette has been working with Transactional Analysis, people, organisations, and horses for 20+ years. The CIELARKO Horses as Coaches team benefited immensely from her experience. Thank you, Anette!!!

Most importantly to us, our clients – senior managers from a large multinational – were touched, challenged and inspired by their experiences at Kapteinskloof. For someone who has experienced many workshops around the globe to say this one was the “best ever” is the most positive feedback we could have hoped to receive.

We are happy that our work has a positive impact for people and their organisations – this is what keeps us going. Building on our learnings from April, we are preparing for the next Horses as Coaches workshop in 2013. The experience begins in the evening of 23rd October and will last for 2 full days.

As we work with 3 clients only per workshop, please book your place early to be sure you can participate.

For more information see our Horses as Coaches page or contact us.

SAYLN and Active Citizenship

Since November 2014, CIELARKO has been developing an Active Citizenship Process Manual for the South African Youth Leaders Network (SAYLN), a network of South African youth organisations (see

In mid March 2015 Layo and Stefan facilitated a train-the-trainers workshop for SAYLN to offer new content for the work with youth, to support the development of awareness (of self, diversity, and community) and the ability to take action within SAYLN’s youth leaders, the organisation as a whole and the communities it touches, step by step. Simphiwe attended the training as a participant.

Each one of us was inspired by the process, in different ways…

Layo: “The group created a safe space together, in which difficult topics could be discussed openly. I honour the eagerness with which everyone participated, the passion with which so many people are contributing to their communities and the bravery with which people faced and shared their own challenges. After these days with SAYLN’s youth leaders, I realise that we will never be able to ‘force’ South Africa into the perfect rainbow that we desire and at the same time am positive that the rainbow will develop strength and stability over time, as groups such as this one continue to reflect on the facts of their past and present and, in consequence, to act more and more consciously.”

Stefan: “I was very impressed by the commitment and enthusiasm with which the participants lead and develop the youth organisations they are responsible for all over South Africa. At the workshop it was wonderful to experience the group creating a forum in which difficult issues from very diverse backgrounds were shared. I am confident that this group of youth leadership workers will carry the practical tools, exercises and techniques back into their respective organisations in order to inspire hundreds of young South Africans to be active, each in their own way, in creating the communities we long for.”

Simphiwe: “The process taught me a few things about myself and my desires for South Africa. As an example, I want a country where everyone is tolerant to difference. My highlight of this process was when we had to work on our action plan for how we will roll out the Active Citizenship process manual in our communities. Seeing everyone eager about this work was touching because I believe if we all come together we can do a much better job than individually.”

CIELARKO getting young South African Leaders thinking

I (Simphiwe) was the secretary of the South African Youth Leaders Network – SAYLN (a network which has monthly Skype meetings; annual conferences and bi-annual managing diversity events) last year. CIELARKO was invited to be part of this year’s conference in May 2014. Initially I was concerned that the other participants assumed that I already knew what we would be doing and the exercise would therefore be easier for me. After all I work for CIELARKO and know what they do and how they do things. However, Dr. Layo Seriki took me as well as others by surprise! We spent half a day demonstrating what happens in situations of ‘diversity and change’, with the example of “fake” cultures, in which we felt at home surprisingly quickly! That whole morning I got to experience what generally happens in real life without us even knowing. We get so attached and comfortable within our groups that when a new person joins the group, it is difficult to accept and allow them in. I struggled and somewhat still struggle to accept change when it comes unexpectedly. The morning session was a way to bridge the gap between diversity and change and led to a reflection on how we, as young South Africans, deal with power and power differences. The exercise was fun, the insights interesting and somewhat shocking. We definitely started thinking and I don’t think we’re done yet…