This article is a replica of a recent interview published in the COMENSA (Coaches and Mentors of South Africa) Newsletter. And it’s all about Moi!  I’m embarking on an exciting work/life adventure and I invite you, excite you, urge you to come along….

“Michelle Clarke is seldom still… always pushing the boundaries, always exploring new approaches.
Her latest move follows her intention to move into the Global Executive Coaching space. This February Michelle will be moving to Santiago, Chile, from where she will be coaching clients around the globe using Skype and other available technologies.  This forms part of her intention to demonstrate that effective, powerful and quality coaching conversations can continue no matter where in the world she or a client might find themselves.

That Michelle is motivated by travel and exploration is a given. An outcome of this has been that she has developed a coaching practice with clients around the world. She likes to develop a deep knowledge of the cultures and worlds of her clients – so moving around the globe to gain that experience and insight is an obvious conclusion.

Still, it is a challenge to pull up one’s roots and take to constant change……
Michelle shared with me recently that another motivation for her movement was her own experience of being “stuck”.  She took some knocks in her personal life and felt that she had entered what Frederick Hudson calls “The doldrums” – a phase of life characterized by lack of meaning and motivation.  (Michelle and I noted that in so many ways, her life  has been following Frederick Hudson’s stages of change  – Go for it, Doldrums, Cocooning and now Getting Ready!)

What is change??
Michelle recognized that her feelings were similar to those many of her clients experience. She felt she needed to kick-start a new phase in her life.  So she experimented on herself and developed some BHAG’s – Big, Hairy Audacious Goals.
The first was to move – her choice was South America because she has traveled very little on that continent. The next goal was to learn a new language  – so she chose Spanish. Then Santiago, Chile, emerged as the city – due to a chance encounter. This is not a back-packing experience, rather it’s what Michelle calls a serious and fun work/life experience.  In Santiago she has rented a wifi apartment, connected with the local coaching community, made other contacts and will be coaching her clients from there in a few weeks time. She has been invited to talk at the ICF Chile Chapter event in the next months, which she sees as an exciting opportunity to put South African coaches in a strong light amongst our global colleagues.

For the clients with whom Michelle was already using Skype, the transition has been easy. For those clients who Michelle coached  face to face, the transition required a little convincing.  She tells me she is delighted that all of her clients bar one, (and some new ones) have agreed to work with her in this way.  These days, senior leaders must adopt a global mindset and become more comfortable using technology to lead diverse, multi-geographic teams.  This change in the way that Michelle works with her clients will stretch both her and her clients into a broader perspective, impacting their leadership in different ways. And there are many more clients out there….