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Organisation Development, Process Facilitation, Training and Coaching.


19 Early Childhood Development Non-Profit Organisation leaders and emerging leaders attend the footsteps leadership development process

In 2015/2016, Oppenheimer Memorial Trust is investing in the leadership development of 19 leaders and emerging leaders in the Early Childhood Development (ECD) Non-Profit sector.

There is now overwhelming scientific evidence of the importance of the early years in setting the foundation for achievement of potential, not only of individuals, but also of nations. Dr James Heckman, Nobel Laureate in Economics in 2002, demonstrated that the greatest return on investment into human capital development, is investment in the early years. In practical terms, this means ensuring that ALL our young children have the best start in life from conception, through the provision of good nutrition, health, love, care, protection and early stimulation. And children have rights to these through our Constitution and as signatories to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The South African Government recognises the importance of the early years, as witnessed by Vision 2030 and the National Development Plan, as well as the recent Cabinet approval of the new Early Childhood Development Policy. Many strides have been made since 1994 in the provision of free health care to pregnant women and children under 6, birth registration, child support grants and subsidies to some registered early childhood centres. However, the reality is that much more needs to be done, particularly in ensuring that our most vulnerable young children have access to early stimulation and early learning opportunities for their fast developing brains.

The ECD Non-Profit sector has played and continues to play a vitally important role in providing opportunities for women (and some men) from under-resourced communities to train in ECD so that they can provide early learning programmes for young children. They train ECD teachers, caregivers, parent committees and other stakeholders in early childhood development. They develop and provide teacher, parent and child resource materials for teaching and learning. They work with key government departments, municipalities, civil society and donor partners to implement ECD programmes in communities. Considerable ECD knowledge, experience and expertise has been built up over many years.

Worldwide there has been growing recognition and acknowledgement of the importance of effective leadership in the last few years, whether in government, business, civil society or the non-profit sector. Organisations are only as good and effective as their leadership. Many leaders of non-profit organisations are strong, capable and passionate people, but often have little knowledge or experience of the significant developments and exciting thinking around the important role of leadership.

The footsteps leadership development process is not a course but a transformational leadership development journey that significantly impacts the way leaders think and lead. It is a custom designed process that meets the particular needs of leaders in the NPO and development sector and takes into account their unique contextual challenges. It adopts a brain-based approach to leadership, drawing on evidence from neuro-science on how to support leaders think more effectively and strategically.

This leadership development process, funded by Oppenheimer Memorial Trust, is being undertaken by 19 leaders and emerging leaders from Early Childhood Development Non-Profit Organisations spanning 4 provinces (Gauteng, Free State, Limpopo and Mpumalanga), and with a collective staff component of 183 staff members. Collectively they impact on the lives of approximately 100 000 young children annually.


Prior to the first face to face workshop, participants submitted a written response detailing the challenges they face as leaders.

The most common challenges expressed included:

  • Loneliness, the heavy burden of leadership and self-confidence issues
  • Long hours, no work/life balance (stress) and challenges managing time
  • Dealing with staff, delegation, handling performance and building teams
  • Holding staff accountable
  • Challenging working environments, unproductive work culture and handling conflict
  • Managing workload & meeting deadlines
  • Staff turnover and losing competent staff through funding challenges
  • Funding challenges & organisational sustainability
  • Leadership succession planning
  • Keeping up to date with trends and developments in the development sector.

In spite of the numerous challenges experienced by these leaders of ECD NPOs, they are undoubtedly a group of courageous women (and 2 men) driven by a passion to make a difference in the lives of young children, their families and communities. They work hard to lead their staff to achieve their organisation's objectives, are not frightened of a challenge and they are all hungry to learn and grow their leadership abilities. We have witnessed outstanding commitment to this leadership development process. It is a privilege to work with them to this end.


Two 2 day leadership development workshops took place in the Free State. The workshops were highly interactive, requiring focussed thought, honest reflection and full participation.

During the first two days, leaders:

  • grappled with the essence of leadership and how it differs from management;
  • investigated the leadership mind-set of taking responsibility, being accountable and making life choices;
  • defined their own unique leadership signature, building on their strengths;
  • created an inspiring personal and professional vision to guide their leadership;
  • reformulated their current job descriptions as statements of leadership purpose;
  • mastered some leadership skills for developing leadership in others and create thinking organisations;
  • assessed their current style of working with people, which revealed that many operate in the prescriptive, over-supportive or rescuing style rather than as catalysts for change;
  • focussed on interactions with individuals and teams that are solution focussed, empowering and developmental;
  • identified strategic issues in the ECD and development sector that need the leader's attention and focus;
  • discussed time management techniques for effective leadership.


A core component of leadership is leading individuals, teams and organisations through inevitable and on-going dynamic change that has become the hallmark of modern organisational life. In the intervening period between the two workshops, each leader initiated and steered a chosen process of change appropriate to the context of their organisation. In initiating this change, they had to put into practice what they had learned about leadership and themselves in the workshop. A 1 hour tele-call was held with Mrs Picken to provide guidance and support. Each leader presented his/her change initiative at the start of workshop 2 and both the individuals, as well as the group, reflected on what they had learned about themselves as leaders through their change processes.


In this session, leaders practiced skills to build a thinking culture in their organisations and empower their staff to take responsibility, take initiative, be accountable and focus on finding solutions. They practiced using effective listening skills and asking powerful questions during coaching conversations.

Leaders and teams go hand in hand. It's a key leadership skill to understand and manage team dynamics and build on strengths of individuals and teams. Focussed attention was paid to developing high performing teams and providing leadership situational to the levels of competence and confidence of team members. Leaders understood how values and beliefs underpin behaviour, and the need for them to really listen carefully to understand their staff by asking themselves, 'What's really going on here?'

Our final session focussed on sustaining leadership under pressure. Many of these leaders recognise their own extremely high stress levels. Many reflected on the loneliness of the position, the heavy burden of responsibility and the need for support. As leadership is such a challenging process, we looked at the importance of life/work balance, strategies for handling stress, ensuring leadership renewal and developing the resilience necessary for strong, effective leadership. Leaders need to be refreshed, renewed, re-inspired and to focus on the continual growth and development of themselves and others.


3 x 1 hour conference calls were held with homework and reading in between. These calls focussed on practical leadership skills, which participants put into action between calls.

Participants focussed on understanding and identifying habits; holding coaching conversations to generate insights and design actions. Another session focussed on direct communication, and creating awareness to really understand the issues at hand. Participants practiced holding challenging conversations dealing with difficult issues in a way that ensures a 'win-win' situation. A further session dealt with active listening and asking powerful questions to generate thinking and challenge assumptions.


The facilitators for the workshops and tele-sessions were Anne Heslop and Pam Picken.

Anne Heslop has 25 years of experience facilitating leadership development processes with the CEOs and leadership teams in large corporates, nationally and internationally. She has worked with such companies as Unilever, Mondi, South African Sugar Association, Southern Sun and HSBC Bank. Anne has international accreditation as a master coach and coach trainer.

Pam Picken had 13 years as Director of TREE (Training and Resources in Early Education), one of the oldest and largest of the ECD NPOs in South Africa. She benefitted enormously from leadership coaching and support, funded by Jim Joel Fund, and saw what a difference it made to her leadership and her organisation. Pam trained as a leadership coach with Results Coaching Systems in her last year at TREE with Anne as the master trainer. Pam has worked with Anne to customise her leadership development process for leaders in the development sector.

Anne and Pam are passionate about the difference effective leadership can make to organisations and their ability to deliver against their objectives.


Individual leadership coaching is an integral part of the leadership development process to ensure leaders derive full benefit from their investment into their leadership growth and development. It builds on the group process and enables focussed individual leadership growth and support in each person's own life/work context.

During the 12 x 1½ hour individual leadership coaching series, leaders embed their learning, set themselves challenging leadership/work related goals and systematically achieve them with support and guidance from a qualified and highly experienced coach.

The Coaching team is Ms Pam Picken, Dr Nicola Graham and Ms Megan Galloway. Coaching sessions are held via skype or over the telephone. It is anticipated that each person's 12 sessions of leadership coaching, held approximately every 2 weeks, will be finished in July or August 2016.


When you read the responses from participants below and see how life-changing and valuable they have found this process, you will understand that participants are extremely grateful to Oppenheimer Memorial Trust for sponsoring this process for their personal and professional development as leaders.

Date: February 2016
Article by: Pam Picken - footsteps associate
Contact details: Landline: 021- 712 2775
Cell phone: 083 292 0396
Email: pam@leadershipindevelopment.co.za


  • Everything we've discussed relates to my workplace and it's so practical and useful.
  • It's like we're revisiting ourselves as leaders.
  • It's made me recognise my potential and makes me want to realise it!
  • It was an eye-opener to realise the difference between management and leadership and we neglect the leadership side. For my organisation to grow and be successful and sustainable, I need to lead.
  • It was a 'wake-up call'. Something shifted inside for me and I can now see what's really important for me.
  • The question, 'Do I really want to be a leader?' - this really worried me and initially I said, 'No' but now I've had feedback on my strengths I've changed my mind!
  • This has been very powerful for me.
  • I thought I was going to come and learn about great leaders. It was SO different from what I expected and it has been life-changing. It has made me really look at myself and realise I can do it; I can become a leader. (Lerato Kumalo)
  • It has been emotionally uplifting and mind-empowering. It relates so much to my life and my work. (Bonga Masina)
  • Yesterday talked so much to me about the courage and inspiration (of leadership) but it also really talked to my frustration as a leader and it helped me understand what my real role is as a leader. (Puleng Motsoeneng)
  • The big highlight for me has been understanding how to involve people in achieving organisational goals and not leaving them behind. (Margaret Letsoalo)
  • I've started to realise how I've played a 'rescuer' role and I can see how dysfunctional it is and it stops people taking responsibility and I was blocking their progress. (Polyviah Moremi)
  • What I've learned can help me not only at work but in my life. (Rachel Leshoro)
  • I understand myself better and this will help me understand others to develop other good leaders. (Linky Siluma)
  • My 'Ah Ha' moment was understanding the power of good questioning - to develop a thinking organisation. (Queen Baloyi)
  • It has been an eye-opener. (Alice Phirime)
  • I have attended lots of leadership things in my degree course but this has been so different and so valuable. (Lerato Kumalo)
  • Before this I didn't believe in myself - now I do. (Hedwig Masheane)
  • Leadership is so lonely - we need support to strengthen our leadership. It will help me create other leaders. It has been very very inspiring. (Puleng Motsoeneng)
  • People would tell me my potential, but I didn't believe them. Now I will build on my strengths. (Phindiwe Mkhuma)
  • When we arrived I was a little blank and confused on leadership and management but now I can close the gaps and have better understanding. (Free Ngunyule)
  • Starting from now I am able to take my leadership role and work on making my organisation a thinking organisation by involving staff to see what we can change for the benefit of the organisation and our beneficiaries. (Maria Monama)
  • Yesterday I wasn't interested in being a leader. Now I realise it's not easy but I'm ready to try it and to involve others and give them opportunities and support them to understand things better. (Nancy Mangena)
  • I've learned the importance of using good questions to develop thinking. It was also great to see my strengths as a leader. (Kate Molefe)
  • The workshop was very powerful and relevant to my situation. (Ntombi Gama)
  • I made the right decision to come to this process. I'm struggling with some things in my organisation and some decisions. I've been empowered and I know what I need to do. (Angie Phillips)
  • This process has been life-changing and a real challenge. Change starts with self and I really want to change. I know it's a process and I'm ready to begin that process. I have gained more confidence in myself and I can already see the impact that I'm going to make in people's lives. I really needed to attend this course for my personal development. (Lerato Kumalo)
  • It has been a wonderful and fulfilling journey. (Rachel Leshoro)
  • Yesterday I would have said I'm a manager and I was coming to a management course. Then I thought I was in the wrong place. Once I've looked at my strengths, I'm going to try my best to be a leader. You made me to think deeply about my being a leader. (Mildred Maseola)
  • The value of the process for me was getting clarity about myself and my leadership. I thought I know leadership but this is different. I realise that a good leader does not just give up on people or use power to be able to achieve something. (Angie Phillips)
  • This process has been an eye-opener to me; it has helped me to reflect back on what I have been doing since I became the Director and leader and what needs to be done in order for me to succeed and to take my organisation forward. (Alice Phirime)
  • I am really inspired and motivated. I feel that I have the power and courage to lead as a new Director. I am now in a state where I can definitely say "I CAN DO IT" in creating a thinking organisation. (Linky Siluma)
  • The value of the process for me was that I got to discover my potential. You have unleashed potential in me and made me see things in bigger picture. (Phindiwe Mkhuma)
  • I have discovered that I have strengths in me that I was not using because of fear. I have completely changed my way of thinking. It's not only about my organisation, it's about my life in general. (Nancy Mangena)
  • For every problem I have, there is a solution if I take time to think. These sessions were very inspirational to me. (Bonga Masina)
  • From an ECD NPO Board member during the telephone interview, 'We really appreciate what you are doing for the organisation and we can already see very positive results.'

Facilitator Development Programme (FDP):

The Facilitator Development Programme (FDP) is an intensive 10-day learning programme focused on supporting participants to deepen and develop their capacity to facilitate participatory processes.


  • Experience real facilitation situations;
  • Learn from your own experience and that of others;
  • Give and receive direct feedback with trainers and fellow participants.

Facilitation is a relational practice and you are the person doing the relating! Without working with yourself you will not develop your facilitation skills beyond a purely technical level.

Personal development and reflection are core components of the programme. You are the instrument of your practice! This is an opportunity to work with both personal and skills development.


Participants come from a range of sectors, from every continent and most African countries.  Over the past decade, the FDP has been attended by

  • managers and field workers from NGOs and other local and international development organisations,
  • private consultants
  • change agents in government
  • leaders,
  • individuals interested in becoming more effective at supporting change and development.

This programme works through your active engagement. Choosing to participate means choosing to join a powerful learning community with enormous potential. The depth of your learning will depend a great deal on how you choose to engage.

Logical Frame Approach (LFA)
Also known as Ziel Objectief Projekt Plannung (ZOPP)

footsteps  offers a 5 day training programme in the LFA/ZOPP method for project planning. This includes a published guide and practical applied steps to ensure this method is internalised. While it is not the answer to any planning process, it does provide a comprehensive step by step process to enable a group or organisation to make a project plan from concept to operation plan. Footsteps is able to tailor the course for specific groups’ needs.

footsteps  also offers a 5 day Monitoring and Evaluation ( M&E) training course based on the LFA. We can not run this unless people have learnt the method itself. We have also learn that teaching these two courses should be at least 4 months apart.

"This really stimulated my personal growth and development. I found a lot of friends and we did quite a bit of bonding together. They have been like a family to me. I look forward to this growing."

"Awareness and practice living with questions. This is when magic happens!"

"The relationships that were formed. I hope they don’t end here. Judging from the feedback I received I need to do some introspection. I am sure that this will make me a better person."

"In this programme I realized who I am, where I am going and what my capabilities are. I will now look at every process differently - think out of the box in a wider form"

Management and Leadership Development Programme (MLDP)

footsteps  has run a 16 month, 6 module programme designed to support middle managers of civil society organisations to achieve their full potential as managers and leaders, in their organisations and beyond.

It enables you to learn and develop as a whole person, living and working in our complex and possibility-rich context. It aims to develop people as managers, to guide and facilitate technical, programmatic and operational work in the organisation to enable coherent results. It aims to grow people as leaders who develop and maintain transformational and strategic relationships to make a positive difference in the world.

You will grow as a leader, developing and maintaining transformational and strategic relationships to make a positive difference in the world.

Aims of the Programme

This programme aims to support real-world change in managers’ capacity and effectiveness and ultimately that of their organisations.

We work with managers wishing to develop into effective human-professionals. Participation is a choice for professional and personal development. You choose this because you want to be good managers, to make the best use of your abilities and gifts and to make an effective difference in your organisation.It is not a choice for a qualification but for developing as a human being and as a manager.

footsteps  is able to tailor a programme similar MLDP for a specific organisation, specific client or group of clients.

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What's New

Training : Leadership Development for ECD and NPO's

LFA ( Logical Framework Approach) for Project Planning
Upon request
3-5 days

Facilitator Development Programme
Upon request

Governance of NGOs-
Learning to be effective