The very best you can do for the world is to make the most of yourself
MARLEQ: Who is Bertine?
Bertine Brouwer: Difficult to say in a couple of sentences but I will try! I am a Career and Executive Leadership coach in the Netherlands with a diverse background, having worked in both large corporates and smaller companies. Also, I had my own e-commerce company for over 10 years. I have lived in many countries during my life, amongst which are the USA, Hungary, Chile and Mexico. I have a positive outlook on life, the glass is usually half full! I see opportunities for growth everywhere by combining all sorts of information. With my analytical mind, I put the pieces of the puzzle together and come up with creative solutions. My passion is helping people with these qualities and seeing them grow. I live together with my husband, two of my teenage sons, and our Ragdoll cat. We live in the Hague, which is a beautiful city in the sea.
MARLEQ: How has your certification by ICF groomed your coaching career?
Bertine Brouwer: My certification by ICF has greatly helped me in my coaching career. The coaching framework of the ICF is very sound and evidence-based. Nowadays, with so many coaches around, it is very important to distinguish yourself with a solid accreditation. It helps me both in getting the confidence of new clients as well as in progressing and keeping my coaching skills up-to-date with the newest insights brought by the ICF. On top of that, it brings me a whole community of ICF coaches that I can easily connect to, which is a lot of fun and can be very helpful at times as well.
MARLEQ: How do your sessions help clients lean into their strengths?
Bertine Brouwer: I am a fan of Positive Psychology which focuses on the strengths of people. Research has found that people who are using and developing their unique strengths report significantly higher satisfaction in their lives than people who don’t. It is what gives us energy! Therefore, I usually start my coaching sessions by defining the strengths of the client with a variety of tools such as an online character test, the core quadrant technique, and by having the client ask for feedback on his/her qualities to people surrounding them. During the sessions to come I then regularly remind my clients of these strengths and ask how they can use them to overcome the dilemma he or she is facing.
MARLEQ: Your exposure to both large and small firms has what effect on your clients and career?
Bertine Brouwer: Having worked in a variety of companies in my own career makes it easier for me to understand the setting the job of my client is in. It makes it easier to relate to any changes they want to make. Also, with my diverse job experience, I can give my perspective on the difference in environments which can help a client decide if they want to make a change of direction themselves.
MARLEQ: How do you help entrepreneurs develop the needed expertise to build their businesses through coaching sessions?
Bertine Brouwer: As a coach, my focus will be always on helping my clients to create the insight themselves into what possible expertise they may need or need to improve on. Some of the competencies entrepreneurs may want to work on are for example prioritisation of tasks, stress management and team-building skills.
MARLEQ: How can leaders create a facilitative work environment for members of staff?
Bertine Brouwer: The best leaders can do is to learn and use coaching skills themselves in their communication with their team members. A coaching environment creates a positive workplace culture, a culture of learning and improvement. This has proven many times to lead to better performance, higher job satisfaction, and a stronger team. What is not to love about that?
MARLEQ: What are some limiting beliefs professionals deal with?
Bertine Brouwer: There are many! They often struggle with thoughts like feeling like they're not good enough (which is sometimes called the imposter syndrome), being scared of failing, or thinking things must be perfect. They might also label themselves negatively, think they can't improve (having a fixed mindset), or compare themselves too much to others. Feeling like they don't deserve success, caring too much about what others think, and thinking there's not enough success to go around (having a scarcity mindset) are common too. Recognizing that they have those beliefs and working on them can help them feel better, take on challenges, and believe in themselves more.
MARLEQ: What are some factors responsible for these limiting beliefs?
Bertine Brouwer: Many of those limiting beliefs are rooted in our youth. Even the best parents are not able to fulfill 100% of the needs of their children all the time. With our limited abilities of thinking at that age, we then create the limiting belief to make sense of what is happening to us. Later in life we will always look for confirmation of this limiting belief and discard any other evidence so we can sustain the belief. Usually at some point, when it starts to hinder us enough we are willing to recognize it and work on it.
MARLEQ: How do you specifically help job seekers in the Netherlands?
Bertine Brouwer: It all depends on the needs of the client. A usual start will be for the client to work, through exercises and coaching, on creating a Personal Profile that includes core qualities, values, energy givers and energy drainers and prerequisites for a job. This helps the client in getting more insight into what they want but also in presenting themselves later in the process. The next step often is creating an action plan which includes which sectors/companies to investigate, doing research and a plan for networking. Then comes the optimising of the CV and LinkedIn profile and working on interview skills. All things I can help the client with. Some clients will want to go through all those steps with my help. Others will only choose certain parts.
MARLEQ: How do you spend your weekends?
Bertine Brouwer: I always try to get some sports in. I have recently joined a running club which is great fun. We combine running through the dunes with mindfulness activities. By the time I am back running my teenage sons have woken up and we usually have an extensive brunch with the whole family. The rest of the weekend I spend relaxing, reading the newspapers, watching a movie or seeing some friends!