Revolutionising Development:The need for a shift from Instructive to Coaching Approaches.Unlocking the path to prosperity.

The primary aim of this article is to emphasize the significance of adopting a holistic approach in the realm of development, particularly highlighting the effectiveness of a coaching-centric methodology. The prevalent instructive approach often leads to development failures or insufficient sustainability in interventions aimed at transitioning from poverty to prosperity. Understanding the need for a more comprehensive strategy is crucial for stakeholders in the development sector and decision-makers.

Insight into my background:

Immersing myself in the local Burundian community, I committed three years to living amongst the people. This immersive experience allowed me to delve deeply into their culture and way of life, all while intentionally avoiding any association with foreign expats and expatriate organisations. 

“You can never fully understand people until you live with them  and connect to them disconnected from your own mental reality.”

The deliberate decision to disconnect from Western influences aimed to ensure that my perspective remained untainted by Western mindsets and approaches when interacting with the local Burundian community. Since 2015, I have purposefully isolated myself from Western society while actively engaging in Africa.

Understanding their real needs, I dedicated myself to studying and meticulously crafting various training programs tailored for the youth in Africa, specifically in Burundi. These programs were designed to enhance essential life skills, foster leadership qualities, impart entrepreneurial knowledge, and equip individuals with crucial workplace skills.


Access to education is a powerful tool for uplifting impoverished communities, yet the journey to learning is not always straightforward. 

Even when individuals from economically disadvantaged backgrounds are afforded the opportunity to learn, various obstacles can hinder their progress. 

These barriers may stem from either physical or psychological factors. 

Recognizing and addressing these challenges is essential for crafting effective educational interventions that promote genuine and lasting change.

Physical and Psychological Obstacles:

Physical Obstacles:

In cases where the brain is physically damaged due to factors such as malnutrition, medical intervention is crucial. Lack of essential vitamins or a limited diversity in food can lead to cognitive impairments that require specialised care.

Psychological Obstacles:

Psychological barriers necessitate a coaching approach. This involves understanding and respecting the individual’s identity.

The instructive approach till now:

Traditionally, development initiatives have leaned heavily on instructive methodologies, often proving unsustainable as they risk clashing with an individual’s culture, identity, and society.

Nobody is poor unless you tell them they are poor.


Why is coaching taking the lead? 

Holistic Perspective:

Unlike instructive approaches, coaching begins by acknowledging and embracing what is—the entirety of an individual’s being. It operates from the inside out, recognising that sustainable development starts with understanding the unique context of each person.

Collaborative and Supportive:

The essence of coaching lies in fostering a collaborative and supportive relationship. It’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, it emphasises tailoring strategies that resonate with the individual’s age, capacity, and mentality.

Guarding Against Misinterpretation:

It’s crucial to note that the term “coaching” has become somewhat of a fashion word. 

Unfortunately, this has led to confusion and bad results as many claim to be coaches without the necessary expertise. Caution is advised, and a discerning approach is necessary to ensure the effectiveness of coaching interventions.

The Coaching Advantage:

Cultural Sensitivity:

Coaching respects and integrates an individual’s cultural nuances, fostering a development approach that aligns with, rather than challenges, their cultural identity.

Empowerment Through Understanding:

By starting from within, coaching empowers individuals to understand themselves, fostering a sense of ownership over their development journey.

Customised Strategies:

Tailored strategies based on age, capacity, and mentality ensure that coaching interventions are not only effective but also sustainable in the long run.

In the evolving landscape of development, the coaching approach emerges as a beacon, guiding us towards a more nuanced, culturally sensitive, and ultimately sustainable way of fostering positive change. Let’s embrace the power of coaching and reshape the narrative of global development! 

The steps to tailor approaches to circumstances:

Educational interventions must be tailored to the specific circumstances of the individual. Key considerations include:

  1. Awareness of Ignorance:

Determining whether the person is unconscious of their ignorance or consciously aware of it is essential for crafting an appropriate educational strategy.

  1. Willingness to Learn:

Identifying whether the person is willing to learn is a critical factor in shaping the educational approach.

  1. Capacity to Learn:

Understanding the individual’s capacity to learn is crucial for designing a curriculum that aligns with their abilities.

  1. Steps and Assistance:

Outlining the necessary steps for learning and providing the appropriate assistance based on the individual’s needs and circumstances.

  1. Evaluation and Adaptation:

Developing a continuous evaluation process and adapting the educational approach based on progress and challenges.

The Role of Healthy Minds:

Understanding Healthy Minds:

A healthy mind is characterised by a focus on the greater good, both for oneself and others. It acknowledges:

– the interconnectedness of all aspects of life,

– happiness and wellbeing of all as the way and the goal.

Eradicating Selfishness:

A shift from egocentric and selfish thinking to a more community-oriented mindset is crucial for progress and poverty alleviation.

Continuous Learning:

Emphasising the importance of continuous learning to break free from closed-mindedness and contribute meaningfully to personal growth and societal development.

Change of mindset around money

Through my experiences, I’ve observed a prevalent mindset that centres around money. 

Many individuals dedicate their studies and work solely to accumulate wealth, perhaps without realising that money is but one tool among many in the pursuit of life’s ultimate goals: the collective well-being and happiness of all.

It’s crucial to recognize that money, in itself, is not the ultimate end; rather, it serves as a means to an end. When individuals focus solely on accumulating wealth, they may overlook the profound impact their actions can have on their own lives and the lives of others.

Even if these individuals amass wealth, either through luck or systemic processes, there is a risk that they may remain impoverished in a broader sense. 

By disregarding the interconnectedness of well-being and happiness for all, their wealth becomes a potential contributor to the perpetuation of poverty for others.

Understanding the role of money as a tool for facilitating positive change and fostering collective welfare is essential. 

By aligning financial pursuits with broader goals of happiness and well-being, individuals can elevate themselves and contribute meaningfully to the betterment of society as a whole.


In the pursuit of poverty alleviation, addressing both physical and psychological barriers to learning is paramount. Recognising the diversity of challenges individuals face and tailoring educational approaches accordingly fosters a more inclusive and effective learning environment. By promoting healthy minds and a commitment to continuous learning, societies can break free from the cycle of poverty and work towards sustained progress.

The author


Stephan is peace advocate, mediator, project manager and international consultant specialising in life, workplace and entrepreneurship skills development for African Youth and Women. 

He is passionate about life, peace and wellbeing.

As the CEO of, he is deeply involved in initiatives aimed at empowering individuals to thrive in leadership and entrepreneurship.

His expertise extends to serving as a mediator and lawyer in commercial matters, roles that require a nuanced understanding of the business landscape.
With a track record spanning two decades, he actively managed small-scale projects in Africa, gaining invaluable insights into the unique challenges and opportunities present in the region.

Having lived and worked in diverse African countries, including Swaziland, South Africa, Rwanda, and Burundi, he brings a cross-cultural perspective to his work.
The hashtag #BujaHills represents a significant aspect of his journey, symbolising his commitment to fostering growth and development in the heart of the continent.

For a comprehensive overview of his professional background, please refer to his CV

#EducationForAll #PovertyAlleviation #SustainableDevelopment

#CoachingForChange #SustainableDevelopment #CulturalSensitivity #GlobalImpact

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