Phetsile Dlamini Ramabulana

Phetsile is committed to finding innovative ways to make coaching accessible in wider contexts. Since 2015 she has been coaching managers and executives across corporate South Africa. Prior to moving into the coaching and consulting space, Phetsile worked for over 19 years in the development finance industry, promoting financial inclusion across Africa. She is a talented facilitator, a devoted coach and parent, and a deeply creative soul. Enjoy getting to know her!

What led you to this work? What were you doing before?

I was actually led to this work—it was not a path I deliberately chose. I was growing restless working in corporate employed in an innovative privately owned insurance company, innovative with a beautiful culture. Before then I had worked within the development finance and enterprise development sector promoting financial inclusion in developing markets. My work in financial services always had a focus on increasing access to financial access and supporting the development of small enterprises, agribusiness and financial institutions. You can read more about that in this article I wrote.

Others have always seen me and experienced me as someone who could connect, listen and guide naturally. As a Manager, I regularly met with peers and staff members that I wasn’t working directly. I would engage them on various topics in a manner I feel was informally mentoring and supporting them through life and work matters.

As I shared my restlessness with a good family friend and sister, I had ushered her through some personal struggles she told me about the Professional Coaching Course and invited me to explore it.

What do you remember about being a student in the PCC? What was the biggest transformation you experienced

I remember being lost and confused, it felt like I was being forced to see the world and myself in a fundamentally different way. It was a shock to my system and simultaneously an invitation to something bigger. I couldn’t articulate it and yet I could resonate so deeply. So, I floated through the first two sessions in an almost dreamlike state.

Session 3 was profound because I tapped into something within me that brought light to my fellow student during a round of peer coaching. The magic of being able to speak into her being and usher into her life something she could take hold of, garner the energy for, and move forward on with direction and purpose. I was able to see beyond the limited view I held of myself. I quietly, with conviction, fell in love with the work, but didn’t have a plan. That magic stayed with me for a long time as I contemplated and debated what was I to do.

When and how did you know that you wanted to be a teacher and leader in this work?

It was not apparent at first, but I was dabbling with some coaching and consulting. I walked around carrying this beacon I didn’t see but was shining onto the world. I was invited to consider the Leader In Training journey, which I stepped in with caution. Honestly, this is the year 2023 that I know without a shadow of a doubt that my work has been cut out for me. I am meant to extend and breathe into this work’s expansive nature. My love, curiosity and respect for the indigenous (particularly not exclusively african) knowledge that lies within my mother continent Africa and the philosophies of integral coaching will coalesce over time. This will enrich this work and expand its application to the way we parent, teach, live in community building relationships, nurture, heal and restore our bodies and world. It’s such an ambitious and yet humble desire I hold quietly in me.

Since starting to teach, what have you been learning from students?

The learning never stops am certain now more than ever that each student that I met is on a greater journey and the pitstop (my interactions with them) allows me to engage with them. It is an opportunity not only to contribute to their journey but to be reassured of how much goodness exists in this world.

It might or might not have been showcased but I see hints of it. I rejoice in the fact that those who come my way are destined to impact the world in ways I sense into or can pinpoint directly. Sometimes I just wonder about what they are meant to do and be and, in the process, get excited about or just be left with a powerful sense of hope that we are going to be okay when it all transpires and reveals itself in the world.

Each student gifts me as I traverse my journey in the world as I can invest in them and their pathfinding. Teaching this work has made me move closer to the truth and the curiosity behind why we exist in this world at this time. There is a reason why every student I encounter is available to me to connect at a particular time over a particular topic.

Am learning how much of our social and cultural teachings and orientations that we were born and raised in didn’t necessarily enlighten us in a manner that enlivens and fulfils us in today’s world. Some of what we hang onto the rules, the meaning, and the complexity we have created are at times the cause of our suffering. The journey is as much about learning as it is about unlearning. Each student offers me a way to see into the lives of people today in a way that unhinges me from rigid identity and knowing I have been tethered or attached. So, each student frees me from judgement, bias and prejudice into a world of wonder full of amazing revelations.

What do you feel you bring uniquely to this work?

s an African and specifically being Swazi, my rich cultural and traditional heritage I consider a gift. I straddle in me (and, because of my upbringing, have an appreciation of) both traditional and modern values and lifestyles. The fact that Swazis even today practise and celebrate numerous traditions is something I value. I feel like I am positioned to broker or usher in varied aspects of this into this work.

From the beginning, I felt an affinity towards integral coaching that resonated with me even before I could draw any parallels. I found it to be all-encompassing and potentially embracing of the diverse nature of human beings. This made it potentially open and accessible even though in the beginning it felt a bit esoteric and required lengthy and in-depth prior understanding. I was still drawn to it.

The above is coupled with my interest and curiosity about human beings. I enjoy what can be created when diverse minds and souls connect and engage heartily with topics and issues. I know I am not still crystal clear about how this all comes together and to what end. I know am slowly chipping away and getting to the core of what my role and contribution are.

What are you most looking forward to?

To grow in the knowledge and the confidence that I am part of a wider broader vision.  I am not always certain about what I am meant to do and yet I am invited in year after year in a timely and compelling manner. I am filled with wonder and a sense of fulfilment each day that I am involved in this work. This signals and confirms that I am doing what I have been led to do.

I look forward to the pebbles I drop in the ocean that will potentially create waves or even tsunamis in the lives and the communities of the people I get to work with. Who knows. I am here and committed and that’s all am focused on today. Nothing has captivated me as much as being involved with this work.