Nobantu: love, ubuntu, curiosity

Nobantu: love, ubuntu, curiosity

Nobantu: love, ubuntu, curiosity

avtor 2. maja, 2024

Nobantu Mpotulo is this year’s key speaker at the Coaching and Mentoring Congress in Slovenia, held on May 30th. I ‘clicked’ with Nobantu because of UBUNTU. Approach, I cherish deeply and profoundly. Nobantu is a human connector, person, who correlates with all living beings. “I get my mojo from having conversations across the generational divide,” says Nobantu. She loves being in nature, where she experiences sence of centredness, connectedness, groundedness. She doesn’t believe in restrictions from outside world or from within. Her coaching model RASEA extends from setting and achieving goals to really receiving clients holistically. Time restrictions don’t exist either. When there are insights, Nobantu persists as long as the body, heart and head of the client aren’t in harmony. The holy grail of coaching efforts, wouldn’t you say? She healed her own wounds from Apartheid and opened up to vulnerability; thus becoming, at the age of 50, an ubuntu coach (Nobantu is now 61 years old!). One of more spirited and spiritual interviews I have had (and truly enjoyed). Really looking forward to her presentation on May 30th (there is still time to register at the congress, btw.).

Ubuntu started for me when I was one month old

What has shaped you most in your life, what have been the biggest influences (or whose)? Why are you who you are today?

I love that question, because I was shaped by our ancient wisdom of ubuntu. I experienced this when I was only one month old. My mother was a teacher and she went through divorce. So my aunt took me in as her own daughter; she already had one 18-month-old daughter; a year after another daughter was born. So we were sort of »triplets«. When people came to visit, no one new, I was not her daughter.

I was surrounded by love and wisdom. At evenings we sat around table and were listening to radio (there was no television) or telling each other stories.

So ubuntu was part of me, it was like running through my veins.

I remember, when I was 4 years old. I could not understand, that there was another 4-year-old, hungry, dirty … so I took her home with me and I forced my people to wash her and give her clothes. So, even from young ages, I couldn’t stand injustice. I couldn’t fight physically, but I stand up for those who were bullied.

I want to bring love, empathy and compassion

So it takes a whole village to raise a child. When I listen to your upbringing, your story, it already shapes your mission. How would you define your it, your »fil-rouge«?

My mission is about bringing love to the world.

I bring that in leadership, re-humanising leadership and I also look how to work with women leaders, help them to balance masculine and feminine energies. For me leadership is about leading with hearth and the backbone.

Through that kind of work we bring empathy and compassion.

I move like water …

What was Nobantu like as a child, as a teenager and now as an independent entrepreneur/coach? How did the independent journey begin?

I knew I wanted to go on this path since I was 16. My three brothers were all in the science fields. But I knew I wanted to work with people! For some reason my brothers decided I need to go into science, too. One of my brothers tutored me, but I still got a C; so at the university I enrolled in psychology. After that I worked in universities as a counsellor. I was sure that my destination will be in consulting, working with leadership, organisational development. And, Natalie, it worked out without much effort just that way.

I don’t like structure too much, so I don’t stick to the goals. I don’t like restrictions in my life; weather from me or others. I like fun; just put it out there … so I found myself with this open mindset. I am Buddhist-Teacher by the way; so I find myself getting scholarship and the training I need.

When I think about myself I see myself as being like water and not resisting to much and fitting into any container there might be. So, like flow.

How did you get from psychology and counselling into coaching?

I knew I wanted to work with leaders and corporations. I stayed in counselling for ten years in universities, after that I worked in the field of higher education and, finally, I worked as a senior manager in one international corporation in the field of acquiring new talents, dealing with scholarship … but I found that I have to deal with so much bureaucracy… I stayed only for two years working for them and then I decided, that’s it. I am not applying for any job. And went into consulting.

Ubuntu leadership needs ubuntu coaching

Why did you choose Ubuntu as your approach toward client? What are the differences in comparison to other modes/approaches? Can you elaborate a bit, how does the process in UBUNTU coaching flow?

During Covid I was invited into different forums to help people cope with the pandemic, with the stress. So I shared UBUNTU. And is amazing, after that so many organizations called me to come to work with them helping their employees. WBEC (World Business and Executive Coaching) Summit called me as well, to perform the life demonstration of UBUNTU coaching.

There is so much happening with UBUNTU leadership, but not so much in UBUNTU coaching. So on that day I decided I want to do UBUNTU coaching model. I went to bed and I woke up the next day with a complete UBUNTU coaching program.

I didn’t even think about it or plan it. It felt like it was downloaded.

During Covid I was invited into different forums to help people cope with the pandemic, with the stress. So I shared UBUNTU. And is amazing, after that so many organizations called me to come to work with them helping their employees. WBEC (World Business and Executive Coaching) Summit called me as well, to perform the life demonstration of UBUNTU coaching.

There is so much happening with UBUNTU leadership, but not so much in UBUNTU coaching. So on that day I decided I want to do UBUNTU coaching model. I went to bed and I woke up the next day with a complete UBUNTU coaching program.

I didn’t even think about it or plan it. It felt like it was downloaded.

We see hopes and struggles

So, RASEA was born.

Yes, I put this program together, I accredited it with the International Coaching Federation and in 2021 I started with the program (btw: in 2021 we published a book The Essence of Ubuntu in Slovenian, by Tadej Peric). Ubuntu coaching model is RASEA. R – Receive, A – Appreciate, Acknowledge, S – Summarize, E – Evoke awareness, A – Ask. We as coaches receive our coachees. We see you, we see your hopes and your struggles. When you receive your client, this is you spend more time with your coachees. In western worlds, there is this rush – what do you want, what do you want to achieve … fast, fast. Here, in our rural world, you get water to wash you, first. Then you sit down and you get to answer questions about your grandparents, your crop … everything around you. Ubuntu way.

Listen with the whole body

Tell me more.

For me it’s about eco-systemic approach to coaching. It is not just talking about me and you as a client. We look at our interpersonal space, how we cultivate that. For instance, when I coach people, I find it that someone is getting an insight, and an inner movement. And I ask: what is it … and he answers : I would like to dance. And I say – stand up and dance! It’s an expression of the whole world. We spend more time there. I feel that, if we receive, we cultivate trust and safety, and everything flows. When I am using this, it enables clients to see what they see. You humble yourself as a coach.

The A of RASEA – you appreciate the client. Here is the thing, Natalie. I stopped using the clock when I coach. When things happen, when you feel you reached that level, then you know!

Natalie: Yes, I don’t use watch either. When you are in a moment and things start to open up – you continue, you don’t stop because the time is up!

Nobantu: I agree completely. It is deep listening, listening with the body. It is this tuning in. It is like hearing it in my belly. And then – ask questions, be curious.

Integrate head, heart and body to heal

Please explain, how do you engage as the Enneagram Teacher (Narrative Tradition) and the Enneagram Coach (Enneagram in Business and Deep Coaching). 

Enneagram integrates the head, the heart and the body. It helps me to understand the 9 ways of how people show up in the world. If this person prefers the cognitive aspect, we have to integrate. For instance I am more of intuitive person, and I learnt to connect more with the cognitive part, with my head, what proved to be difficult (laughter).

What I found is, that as much as I work with UBUNTU, the experience I had with Apartheid, in a way DID hardened my heart. I lost family, that was killed by the Boers. Leaving impact on me, I found out, when I was growing up, that it was difficult for me to be vulnerable. »I have to fight, I have to be strong«. So enneagram helped me to understand these blind spot. And helped me approve the vulnerability, to deal with pain – so I was able to heal the wound.

Through another psychological approach I feel as I transcended through time and space. Even when I was young there was this curiosity about the depth of a person – more than it was to see. More on the deeper level of consciousness and also the collective consciousness – all that brings about more lasting change to the group of people.

Cultivate inner peace!

Where do you find peace? Does it come from outside or is it more an internal affair for you?

For me peace doesn’t come externally. It’s peace from within even if things fall apart. It’s not dependent on things being beautiful or good. My practice is about cultivating inner peace. Even if it is sh…y (laughing).

The suggestion for the Western world – how can we approach this inner peace?

Going back to basics. And I think, also, not denying our hearts to expand.

What are the basics for you?

It is to rest. To sit and to breath. Take those moments just to sit and breath in.

Natalie: I give this exercise to all my coachees and it is the hardest for them (both laughing)

Open up your hearts and BE it!

Why did you accept to give lecture on the Slovenian Coaching Association Congress? Will you be in person or on line?

Oh, I am sorry, I will be lecturing on line. But this opens up other possibilities and I am sure I will be coming to Slovenia soon.

Kongres coachev in mentorjev 2024

So why Slovenia?

I am struck by resonance. The President of the ICF recommended me to do the presentation on ubuntu. I didn’t have to think about it. I have just jumped at the opportunity.

What kind of seed would you like to plant in our audience?

Everyone who is listening to me, to take what I am saying, not just hear it, but to be it. And I know, it happens. When people witness me coaching ubuntu, people cry; they open up their hearts. I want that impact. I don’t care so much about how well I speak, or perform. It is about how well people that are with me, are able to embody what I am saying. When they hear what I say about ubuntu, they connect with that and they connect with their ancestors, who came from Africa, because here it is where humanity started.

Breadcrumbs on future, family and travelling

What can (would you like to) share with us about your family?

I have a 40 year-old son. I am 61 years old. I grew up in this extended family with lots of love. I got my son when I was not married, then I got married. But my husband was a jerk and I divorced him (laughing). I said – no more, I am happy and single.

Do you travel a lot?

A lot! I am off to Seattle to teach on a little island between Seattle and Vancouver; I teach on interpersonal mindfulness.

What are your plans for the future?

I am doing the work that I love. I am seeing myself to coach till the age of 80. I feel so much love, when I coach. As I said, I knew I wanted to do that since I was 16!

Breadcrumbs on life

What is life to you?

It’s about being curious.

What is most important to you in life?


Your view on the current situation in the world with all this hatred, impatience …

This is only possible, if I see myself separate from the others. Dehumanising other. When I do that, then I allow myself to harm other.

What are you afraid of and what do you love?

What I fear – I fear hights and falling.

But I just saw the picture of you at bungee-jumping!

Yes … I am so happy I did that, That was such a spiritual experience. When I was about to jump … first, I said, I am not doing it. And second, third … I didn’t realise, when I jumped … I jumped from the highest bridge in the world. I found myself surrendering and letting go; and then I was overcome with such gratitude, I started crying.

What is an inspiration for you?

Nature. When I am in nature, there is a continuum with those who came before us. In fact when I am in the forest, in the nature, in my body I feel, how my ancestors benefited from this abundant generosity of nature.

Don’t chase shiny objects

What piece of advice do you have for our readers?

What I find with female leaders, when they are in the corporate, they forget they are feminine. Let’s balance that – the masculine and the feminine divine <3

Maybe add something else?

How can we women be role models for our children. As women, leaders, mothers, let’s teach our children, just remember to feel your heart and don’t push our children to chase shiny things!

On Inspire me/ Navdihni me and its publisher Insights LtD

If you are interested in personal and/or career development in tune with your inner self and your purpose, we will apreciate your contact.

Photo: Nobantu Mpotulo


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