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Yolanda Sing from Chloé Consultants on Leading by Example

Authentic leaders know who they are, they have passion for what they do, and they lead with their hearts as well as their heads.

Monique Verduyn




Vital stats

  • Player: Yolanda Sing
  • Company: Chloé Consultants
  • Est: 2008
  • Contact: +27 (0)71 268 6377,,
  • Visit:

Self-reflection, balance, self-confidence, humility. These are some of the values-based life lessons you can learn at Yolanda Sing’s equine leadership school, which operates programmes at various centres around the country, as well as outside South Africa.

Her team of seven horses, she explains, work with people to cut through the noise and feedback, and read their energy.

Her role is to interpret what happens in the paddock when programme delegates are pushed out of their comfort zones by animals which are large and imposing, but have no intention of doing any harm.

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Horses don’t care who you are, what your title is, or how much you earn. Instead, they relate with honesty and authenticity.

Sing’s interactive workshops thus become a safe place where people can come to escape the demands of city life, learn how to enhance their leadership skills and take the lessons back to the boardroom.

“No riding experience is required either as there is no riding involved and all activities are conducted on the ground.”

Authentic Leadership

“Leadership is based on congruency,” says Sing, a leadership coach who has worked with people all round the world and is the founder of Chloé Consultants.

“When you know yourself and what you stand for, it is much easier to know what to do in any situation because there is congruence or agreement between who you are, what you say and think, and what you do. When a person’s style of leadership is rooted in who they are and what matters most to them, it becomes easier to do the right thing, and to always do the best you can.”

Sounds simple, right? As Sing points out, however, ‘doing the right thing’ is a lifelong challenge for most people. Whether you term it ‘values-based’ or ‘authentic’ leadership, there are a few common elements to skilled leadership that incorporate both IQ and EQ:

  1. Authentic leaders are self-aware and self-actualised and aware of their strengths and their limitations, they show their real selves to the world all the time, they are not afraid of weaknesses or making mistakes.
  2. Authentic leaders are clear about their mission and objectives, and they are able to put the mission and the goals of the organisation ahead of their own interest. Able to let go of ego, they pursue results.
  3. Authentic leaders are emotionally intelligent and are unafraid of vulnerability. They’re able to communicate openly and honestly with their people, and they lead with empathy.
  4. Authentic leaders look to the future and are focused on the long-term. They understand and appreciate that growing a business requires hard work and that persistence will pay off over time.
  5. Authentic leaders lead by generating respect. Anyone who has ever watched an old western will remember how horses behave when they are intimidated – people are just the same.

Living Authentically

“Authentic leadership is a lifelong journey,” says Sing. “On the programme we begin by outlining the big picture for each participant. We discuss what their life purpose is, and what footprint they wish to leave in the sand. In the beginning, people are nervous and a little reserved, but within a few hours the horses help them to relax and to just focus on the present.”

One of the key elements of her equine facilitation programme is to help people let go of controlling behaviour. “We cannot control tomorrow,” she says. “We have to learn to be present in the moment; the rest will take care of itself.”

Being present in the moment means giving undivided attention to one thing at a time. It’s about taking the time to appreciate everything.

Clearing your mind of everything that’s not right in front of you gives leaders the ability to fully engage – whether it’s with a person or a situation – and to step out of the stress that comes with worrying about tomorrow. This cuts out the noise, enables you to get to the heart of a challenge, and make better decisions.

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“The process of becoming an authentic leader takes time,” says Sing.

“I advise people on the programme to practice living in the present a little every day. Because of the compound effect, every step adds up until you wake up one day and realise how your life has transformed, and how much more effective you have become as a leader.”

Monique Verduyn is a freelance writer. She has more than 12 years’ experience in writing for the corporate, SME, IT and entertainment sectors, and has interviewed many of South Africa’s most prominent business leaders and thinkers. Find her on Google+.


25 Of The Most Successful Business Ideas In South Africa

Find out who’s making waves in numerous industries and how they managed to differentiate themselves in local and international industries.

Nicole Crampton



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“Disruption is all about risk-taking, trusting your intuition, and rejecting the way things are supposed to be. Disruption goes way beyond advertising, it forces you to think about where you want your brand to go and how to get there,” says Richard Branson.

South Africa has its fair share of innovative and disruptive businesses taking both local and international industries by storm. From cutting edge space technology to reimagined logistics, and innovative business models, here are 25 of the most successful business ideas in South Africa:

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Colin Timmis Says ‘Position Yourself For Success By Starting With The Numbers’

People pay first who they feel pressure from, so people will pay you when they feel pressure from you.






Entrepreneur Colin Timmis founded South Africa’s first cloud accounting practice in 2011, Real Time Accounting. Then, a few years after being appointed as South Africa’s first Xero partner Colin became Xero Country Manager South Africa. Xero is the emerging global leader of online accounting software that connects small businesses to their advisors and other services.

Related: Pat Pillai On How He’s Helped Over 5000 Entrepreneurs Using 3 Key Steps

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Company Posts

Two 20 Year Olds Reshape Entrepreneur Landscape With New Social Investment Platform

The Merge vision is to become the ‘go to’, digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors, and to truly make a difference in the world.

Merge Connect




Vital Stats

It’s no secret that finding the right investor for your venture is a challenge that most entrepreneurs face. The current process of finding investment is one that is outdated, and limits entrepreneurs due to a lack of time, and network that is needed to find the right investor. But, this doesn’t have to be the case in today’s digital society, says Zander Matthee and Brandon Bate, co-founders of Merge.

“By making the Internet the middleman, we are able to connect with each other much simpler and faster than before” was Zander’s response. “We have taken advantage of this, and have created a digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors” added Brandon.

Merge is a social platform that connects entrepreneurs and investors. It aims to simplify, refine and accelerate the process of finding investment for entrepreneurs, and the process of finding investment opportunities for investors. From idea to developed, the platform allows entrepreneurs to present a brief outline of their venture to a network of all investor types. While doing this, entrepreneurs are able to browse through, and connect with investor profiles that suit their requirements.

Related: 8 Codes Of Success That Helped Priven Reddy of Kagiso Interactive Media Achieve A Networth Of Over R4 Billion

From Private Investors to Venture Capital, and everything in between, Merge allows all investor types to join. Investors have the opportunity to personalise their feed to suit their investment preferences, and will be able to connect with innovative businesses – that are looking for investment – at their fingertips. Only once there is a mutual interest in each other, are users able to enter a secure private chat where they can discuss further and share documents under the protection of a digital NDA.

The two boys became good friends during their time in high school at St Stithians Boys College. However, it was only in their last year, 2016, that they decided to pursue their dreams and create the platform. They didn’t know how to code, so rather ironically, they needed some form of investment to get the platform off the ground.


“We knew we had a mountain to climb, but we believed in our vision and that we were really trying to make a difference, and if we could get others to see that, they would be onboard.” said Zander.

Related: Lessons From The Rich And Famous: Manage Your Money Like Oprah To Avoid Going Into Debt Like Nicholas Cage

Chris Peters is one of these individuals that bought into their vision, and became Merge’s first investor. As a successful entrepreneur and part time investor , Chris saw how much value the platform could bring to all entrepreneurs and investors alike. His marketing and strategic background gave him insight into how Merge could play a vital role in a lucrative space, Brand involvement.

“Entrepreneurship and SME development are two key factors that drive economic growth in developing countries like South Africa. That is why brands are currently getting involved, and looking to support entrepreneurs through various means. We have built a platform that allows these brands to successfully market, and execute on the programmes they have created to assist entrepreneurs.” said Chris

Merge was created to assist all entrepreneurs and investors in finding exactly what they are looking for, regardless of age, race, sex, financial position or social status. That is why anybody can sign-up as an entrepreneur. As long as you are determined and willing to work for your dreams. For too long has the investor space been seen as an “elite club for the select few”, and Merge is here to change that. Whether you’ve gotten your bonus at the end of the year and looking for new investment opportunities, or are an active investor, you can sign-up. Whether you’re currently working, or a retired industry leader, you can join as a mentor.

Their vision is to become the ‘go to’, digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors, and to truly make a difference in the world.

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