Nzou Global Leadership Development

red arrow pointing to a yellow button with the text Book an exploratory session

Introducing Dr Barbara van Heerden

Introducing Dr Barbara van Heerden

Female standing in front of a white couch

Leadership Coach and Change Advocate

Let me start by saying, in quoting my own leadership coach Jenny Mc Nulty, that “Coaching is change management one person at a time”.


Regarding coaching, I specialise in business leadership coaching but can work within any organisational context. I have worked in corporate South Africa for more than 40 years with the last 25 years as a senior programme and change manager.


My personal passion is leadership coaching to equip leaders to effectively lead multi-cultural teams and cross-cultural teams to achieve organisational goals.


I have 7 years of leadership coaching experience, including middle management and executive coaching, in primarily the financial services sector and petro-chemical industry.


I follow a strengths-based leadership coaching model which I created in fulfilling the requirements of a Masters degree in leadership coaching from i-coach Academy and Middlesex University in 2009. I matured this model in the successful conclusion of a PhD in Leadership coaching towards intercultural competence in 2016.


A typical client would be an executive within a corporate company or a CEO of a small business. My coaching experience has been team and individual leadership coaching in South Africa, Angola, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Swaziland and Nigeria.

Research indicates that coaching relationships do produce material and noticeable impacts in the eyes of all parties invested in the coaching journey. The parties mentioned here include the client, coach and sponsor, suggesting that they all perceive corresponding benefits from the process.

There is a truism that claims that the only constant in life is change. It is also very obvious that all leaders will at some point in their careers need to lead a change initiative and probably many.

In personally leading large-scale programmes in corporate South Africa over the last 25 years as a Programme Manager I became very interested in the research concerning the success and failure of strategic projects.

Research revealed that most strategic projects under deliver or fail not because the project was the wrong thing to do but because insufficient time and expertise is spent by leaders on taking their organisations and all relevant and effected stakeholders with them on the change journey.

To equip project teams to become change advocates I offer a 5 module training programme for project teams, including the Executive Sponsor,  equipping them to lead the change while delivering the project. In applying this approach over many years I have come to refer to myself as a Change Manager who uses project management methods to deliver necessary and effective change rather than a programme manager who fits in a little bit of communication and change management while delivering a programme. The difference is not what we do,  or doing more work,  but rather how we lead projects effectively to achieve pre-defined goals and strategies. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave the field below empty!