Ubuntu Coaching Perspectives

The growth of coaching globally has seen the emergence of local and contextual coaching approach that give credence to localised coaching approaches, models, and perspectives. Across parts of Africa, the humanistic coaching approaches are predicated on the recognition and appreciation of the culture of human connection and engagement. This has seen the emergence of Ubuntu Coaching recently popularised by the work of Nobantu Mpotulo (MCC), and some of my published articles and presentations. Nobantu Mpotulo’s model is called R.A.S.E.A. My Ubuntu Coaching model is based on what I have called Ubuntu Transformational Coaching, with the model called the Ubuntu S.E.C.R.E.T. (More on this in separate piece).

One of the major drivers leading to the re-emergence of these globally relevant and ancient human development perspectives of Ubuntu, is the urgency to challenge and change some coaching approaches and that neglect local contexts. These are perspectives that tend to place emphasis on our assumed, alleged, constructed, and often superficial, differences of race, culture, religion and others. Ubuntu and Ubuntu Coaching – together with Ubuntu Intelligence, teach us that our differences, backgrounds, cultures, and demographics are mere stories we continuously tell each ourselves and each other, and constantly reinforce because they have become our safe comfort zone. In my view, these ‘differences’ are not the complete truth, nor do they represent the full story about who we really are. We are inherently interconnected humans in one systemic interconnected planet.

Ubuntu means “I am because we are”. This means that I am less than I am (or can fully be) when you cannot be fully who you are or can be. Ubuntu has been described as “that divine micro-chip in our hearts that tells us what is right or wrong, and guides us through life in accordance with the divine will” (Bhengu, 1996). Bhengu further describes Ubuntu as “… the humanistic experience of treating all people with respect, with humane dignity. It encompasses values of sharing and universal brotherhood, and respect for other beings. It is a belief in the sacredness of all human beings, and is a life-long process…” (Bhengu, M.J. 1996: in Ubuntu in Action).

The critical thing to note here is that all human beings have the qualities of Ubuntu within them. While we are all born with Ubuntu, others are programmed and conditioned to suppress it, and others are encouraged to tap into it. That is the difference. Most Western cultures generally focus on the individual, while some Asian, Latin American, and African communities and cultures emphasise the pre-eminence of the collective, the community and the greater good above that of the individual. This is the basis for Ubuntu coaching perspectives, and it starts with recognizing our inherent interconnections and presence.

Ubuntu Coaching, the ability to work with clients’ capacity, presence and attunement to the energy and resonance with another in the moment, is a natural flow of human connection. It requires connection with the other as they do their self-discovery or self-development work, and is especially vital in human transformation work from within.

Ubuntu Coaching works well with what I have called Ubuntu Intelligence, which requires new mind-sets and especially new heart-sets that enable us to see the self in the other, and most important, to feel genuine empathy and connection with other beings in the moment (being fully present).


For details on this please contact Dr Dumi Magadlela on Dumi@netactive.co.za.

©DumiMagadlela 2021


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