When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves ~ Viktor E. Frankl
I like to go to the heart of the matter, to find out where lasting change can take place. Over the years, I have experienced that real transformation does not happen in the purely mental domain. It happens when you step out of your comfort zone to have new experiences, to experience the accompanying emotions and to experience things ‘at first hand’.
More and more I realise that it is not only possible to develop as an adult and be more conscious in life and work. Perhaps more important is the realisation that it is so essential to get a good and loving start in childhood. Growing into a balanced and resilient adult depends on many factors, but upbringing and education can play such a crucial role.
How to stand proudly upright as a human being, to feel connected with yourself, your context, your history and the world around you. How to communicate truthfully and respectfully and how to relate to your fellow human beings. Education can play such a powerful role in this. I have enormous appreciation for the thousands of teachers and school leaders who make this happen every day for the “grown-ups-to-be”. When a school is not only a fertile environment for children to learn and develop, but also for everyone who works there at all levels, then it is not just a well-functioning school, but a thriving one. I am happy to contribute to this by supporting the school leaders and teachers.
Knowing that an organisation cannot perform at a higher level than the level of consciousness of its leaders, I like to focus on leadership development. We live in an increasingly complex reality and the microcosm of a school does not escape this. This requires us to increase our own internal complexity. Increasing internal complexity is about our internal structure, about how we make sense of the world, our level of self-awareness, the mental models we use, values, beliefs and assumptions that shape our identity. This is the domain I love to explore and support, which can lead to sustainable change and which leadership development should be about.
Although I have two pedagogical degrees, I did not start out as a teacher. In my first job, I worked as a Training Programme Coordinator at the Post-Graduatre Centre Human Settlements (KULeuven-UN Habitat). During the 9 years I worked there, I travelled around the world and experienced at first hand what education and development can mean for the emancipation of people. After that, I was General Coordinator of the Centre for Experience-based Education (KULeuven-CEGO) for 5 years: entrepreneurship and innovation in the educational context. After that, I started my own company in professional conference organisation. This fitted in very well with a number of my talents and my craving for entrepreneurship. A fascinating world of science and innovation opened up to me. However, after 18 successful years this work could no longer offer me the fulfilment I was looking for and I became acutely aware of other themes that were closer to my heart in this phase of my life and which led me on the fruitful path of coaching.
I choose to become a Co-Active coach with the Coaches Training Institute (CTI). I soon followed the basic training with the certification programme, both at CTI and at the ICF. Gradually, my interest in leadership development was awakened. In 2017, I joined the Co-Active leadership programme. This has been very meaningful both personally and professionally.