Blind Spots

The view of our mountain on a not-so-misty day

Recently, I completed a Women in Leadership training, and received lovely (and what I believe to be sincere) feedback from the participants about my facilitation style, my way of being and the value of the training. It’s interesting for me that I am sometimes still surprised when I hear this, and I don’t always immediately believe it.

The next morning, I was sitting at one of my favourite coffee shops, with the most beautiful view of our misty mountain. There’s a ‘working bar’ by the window with plugs for laptops etc and because the seats are high it’s not the most comfortable spot for me. However, I wanted to be considerate and not take up a whole table, so perched here next to a woman who was completely focused on her laptop with her notes alongside her. During a break, we got chatting and she’s on year six of her PhD… and completely challenged by it! (Familiar territory to me because I have coached a few PhD students, and I know it’s not an easy journey).

Before we went back to work, she said that although she’s not into ‘energy’ as such (such a Cape Town thing!), she was struck by the fact that when I sat down next to her and settled into my work, I gave off a grounded energy which she appreciated and was a “welcome surprise”. (Apparently, there is another person who sometimes sits next to her, bangs their keyboard, saps her energy, and leaves her with a feeling of dread.)

This got me thinking though…

Considering the fact that I received this type of feedback two days in a row, how do I allow myself to believe it without developing a puffed-up ego, rather a gentle internal acknowledgement that some people appreciate my way of being?

Much of the work I do supports people to uncover their blind spots, encouraging them to be open to feedback, receiving acknowledgements and recognising areas of potential growth. You’d think this would be automatic for me, but like all of us, I’m an ongoing student of life and still flexing this muscle.

So today, as I gaze at our misty mountain, I choose to breathe in the acknowledgement and thank my life journey for who I am today.

Maybe I’m grounding for some, and maybe exhausting for others… either way, I’m me.

Profile of Mandy Antzoylatos

I am a diversity practitioner, professional coach, trainer and facilitator working with individuals and teams. An independent consultant based in Cape Town, I have experience in the public and private sectors across Africa and in other global markets.

I am an enabler of change, supporting individuals and teams to unlock their full potential and work more effectively on a personal and interpersonal level, thus helping people overcome barriers and build bridges to success.

I have worked with a myriad of tried and tested methodologies in the coaching, facilitation and reconciliation fields for more than 15 years, presenting pre-designed material to clients. I have also designed and conducted bespoke interventions based on my experience.

As an accredited diversity practitioner and gender reconciliation facilitator, I have conducted regular diversity management and gender workshops in work environments, at schools, with civil society and other interest groups. I am a member of the Anti-Racism Network coordinated by the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation.

Facilitation and training

  • Leadership in a diverse environment
  • Strategic planning
  • Enhancing inter-personal relationships and team dynamics
  • Focus group discussions and stakeholder engagement
  • Building shared-learning platforms
  • Values-based behaviour
  • Career pathing

Some clients

  • Inspirational Development Group (IDG), London: Facilitated induction sessions focusing on values-based behaviours for African-based staff of a global financial institution.
  • TB HIV Care Association (National NGO): Designed and facilitated a ‘Business Unusual’ strategy and work plan session in the form of a shared learning platform.
  • Hubble Studios (E-learning Agency): Using Transactional Analysis techniques, I designed an interactive workshop and supported the team to interact in a more mature and effective way.
  • Institute for Justice & Reconciliation (IJR): Designed and facilitated a gender sensitization and focus group discussion in a farming community for the Gender Justice & Reconciliation programme.
  • OneWorld Sustainable Developments: Mandy facilitated focus group discussions with farmers, teachers and chiefs in rural Lesotho; facilitated multi-sectoral climate change adaptation strategy discussions in Uganda, and assisted with capacity building of SADC member states in preparation for COP climate change negotiations.
  • FASSET: Presented and trained diversity management, business writing and presentation skills, customer relations for organisations in the financial sector

As a professional coach I draw on methodologies appropriate to each client’s needs. I encourage my clients to listen to both their heads and their hearts, and to draw on their innate knowledge and experience in finding their way forward.

Coaching clients include CEOs, directors, small business owners and students, with the benefits of coaching support being experienced in both personal and professional lives.

Feedback from clients

I appreciate your ability to sense the energy in the group, to give data based feedback without being judgemental. Your ability to facilitate openness in the group. Your experience to work with multicultural groups.’ Prof Rejoice Ngcongo

You create the right atmosphere in which one does not have to be guarded, but rather in which one can just pour forth what is in the heart.’ Arlene Cloete

We’ve had many strategy sessions in the past, and this is the first time we were asked, and given the opportunity to share what we know with others.’ District Manager NGO in HIV sector

In a nutshell

In essence, I support people to connect to themselves, others and our earth.

I can be reached on email at mandy.freedom44@gmail.com or on my mobile at +27 (0) 84 200 9700.