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Michelle Clarke

Cross-Cultural Intelligence For Better Leadership and Influence

By demanding to be accepted at Potchefstroom Girls, a High School in a remote town (Potchefstroom) in South Africa, Michelle Clarke, went on to put herself through University by sheer determination to educate herself in an environment where young women were not encouraged to pursue higher education.

It was many years later in London that she first heard of Life Coaching, she remembers writing ‘I think I would make a great life coach’. Today, based out of South America she gives back by educating Coaches and Business Leaders with that same determination.

As divisional Board Member for Old Mutual (FTSE 100), Michelle was also responsible for the Diversity Committee tasked with the responsibility of post Apartheid career fast-tracking where jobs where equally appointed among the workforce. In this challenging role Michelle transitioned in her ambition to become a Coach beginning with her first of many coaching certifications under the Integral Method of Coaching; a high intensity learning environment where the success of the organisation depended on understanding cross-cultural differences in ethnicity, colour, gender, age religion and hierarchy.

“I cut out the advertisement and made a hand written note on it; – ‘I think I would make a great life coach’.”

“I recognised that many of my fellow coaching students had no idea how we would sell ourselves as coaches once qualified, And so I created by first coaching workshop for coaches “The Art of Practice of Selling Yourself” which I delivered to coaches for the next 10 years.”

Michelle Clarke is the current president of IPWA – The International Professional Women’s Association in Santiago, she has previously, held the position of Regional President and Keynote Speaker at COMENSA (Coaches and Mentors of South Africa), Keynote speaker for International Coaching Federation (ICF) Chile, Peru and Uruguay.

Michelle taught coaching skills at the College of Applied Psychology, South Africa and Coached executives and teams at Nedbank, Metropolitan Life, Correctional Sevices, The Nelson Mandela University,  The Centre for Conflict Resolution, Bloomberg News, The Parliament of South Africa, and Marie Stopes International.

Michelle is also the co-author of “Confidence – Volume II – How To Go For What You Really, Really, REALLY Want And Stay Strong No Matter What”

Total Years
Business Coaching
Executive Coaching
Life Coach
Corporate Coaching
International Coaching
Evidence Based Coaching
Philosophical Based Coaching


Michelle Clarke achieved a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa and is a long-time improvisation student, teacher and performer. She is the Co-founder of Improv Santiago and uses applied improvisation techniques in her work.

She validated her coaching career with several certifications and training:

Expat Leadership Coach - Grovewell LLC – 2015 [New York]

Transforming Business, Society & Self with Ulab - MITx and ULAB/Otto Scharmer -Online Certification – 2015 [Online]

QUEST Facilitator – Centre for Advanced Coaching - 2015 [Brazil]

Feedback Coach - Centre for Creative Leadership – 2014 [Johannesburg]

AWOL (Action Learning Coach) – Action Learning Australia - 2011 [Cape Town]

Cross-Cultural Leadership Coach - Rosinski & Co – 2010 [Argentina]

Telephone Coaching – TeleCoach International - 2009 [Online]

Master Behavioural Leadership Coach – Behavioural Coaching Institute - 2008 [London]

Time to Think™ Coach – The Time to Think™ Consortium - 2007 [Cape Town]

Team Coach – Centre for Coaching 2007 [Cape Town]

Integral Life & Business Coach – 2005-2006 Centre for Coaching [Cape Town]


"I use my skills as an improviser to be fully, fully present. This means I am not following a conscious model in each coaching session. I work with the power of presence... and then.. I drop my agenda totally, like an improvisor.

In improvisation we use a technique where we train ourselves to not have an agenda by repeating the last line our scene partner has spoken and only then adding ours.

This means we co-create with our scene partner as apposed to leading them toward our agenda."


"I felt huge stress holding down a senior leadership position in foreign country while juggling the role of a new mum.  Learned to outsource, without guilt, some areas of my private responsibilities so that I was less burdened.  I also learned to ask for help and to seek out friendships with other women in the same position."

An Interview with me

ETIMY:    “How would you like to be perceived by your clients”

Michelle:  “Focused and funky and energetic. I’m not afraid to take risks within the non-judgemental coaching space – you will feel both challenged and respected “

ETIMY:    “What makes you good at what you do?”

Michelle :   “I’m deeply curious about life and about the way each of us approaches it. This curiosity fuels questions that are timely, significant and powerful – they will open up new ways of thinking and result in new ways actions. ”

ETIMY:    “Whats really fun to do in your job as a Coach?”

Michelle: “I love to bring the principles of improv into my work – this is about saying “Yes….and….” to create more opportunities for my clients. It’s also about weaving new stories together with my clients to help them to step into the world in a more impactful way. My clients and I laugh together often.


Michelle Clarke has a long history of working with multinationals at companies such as Johnson & Johnson, BHP Billiton, Mammoet (BR) and Thiess (AUS). Currently based in Santiago she coaches individuals and teams both online and face to face.

-Successfully migrating her coaching business from Africa to Latin America
-Established Improv Santiago, Training School in Santiago de Chile
-Introducing Improv and coaching to Inacap University, Chile
-Virtual Keynote speaker for the first Coaching in Africa Symposium
-Led the Personal Branding Conference for all Latin American women leaders For Arrium Mining Global

2017:  President of The International Professional Women’s Association
of Santiago (IPWA)
2016:  Virtual keynote speaker 1st Coaching in Africa Symposium discussing the differences between coaching in Africa and Latin America.
2016:  Keynote speaker for a specially arranged COMENSA event
2015:  Coaching the cross cultural leadership team of Aveng Mining Chile
2015:  Facilitated a personal branding conference for all the women leaders
based in the Americas for the Australian mining company Arrium.
2015:  Certified as a QUEST facilitator with the Centre for Advanced Coaching, Sao Paolo


Her strong multicultural background is complimented with her studies, as Cross Cultural Coaching with Philippe Rosinski. She advocates bringing together cultures through coaching by understanding and learning from diverse perspectives of cultural norms. This learning and experience was instrumental in several interventions, as the example below.

A significant shaft sinking project was on track for derailment due to the dramatic miscommunication between the South African and Chilean cultures of a leading Chilean/South African mining conglomerate.

The cultural differences ran through the ranks, management team, miners and engineers. In a year-long coaching intervention, Michelle and her coaching partner created a program that dramatically increased communication between the two cultures, turned the project around and succeeded in meeting the contractual deadline in time for handover.

Michelle Clarke utilises a unique form of coaching which helps her clients develop their own solution to the challenges or goal. She provides the paradigm of improv acting. “Using an improvisors approach of listening and response, Michelle ensures that each conversation is uniquely meaningful to each individual. This conversation resembles a unique one-off ‘production’. This is where transformation takes place.


My Thoughts

“Passionate about technology and the gift it offers in reaching leaders across the globe, it’s no surprise that I’ve been working from my laptop for the past several years with clients in Africa, the Americas, Canada, Europe and Australia. My clients are globally-minded pioneers looking to make a global impact. They appreciate diversity, inclusiveness and embrace technology and it’s power to connect globally.”

Your Future

“Coaching should not be something separate from your life but fully integrated in it. It’s fun, it’s challenging and it’s rewarding. I guide my clients on a self-directed learning journey, this means action, empowerment, confidence and influence. Together we create a Leadership Blueprint and Personal Branding Story that becomes my client’s signature for success.”