Career Stories: Tash Pieterse, Internationally Certified Career & Life Coach

Tash Pieterse is an Internationally Certified Career & Life Coach working with ambitious professionals and new leaders to thrive in their career and life. She is a valued member of our community, and has a wealth of experience with mentoring others.  She loves every opportunity to give back and serve others!

To kick off our Career Stories series, Tash shares about her transition from being an experienced HR professional to an Internationally Certified Career & Life Coach, and some of the lessons she’s learnt along the way. 

In 2-3 sentences, please tell us a little about you! (your background/story and anything you feel you’d like to share)

Hellloooo, my name is Tash Pieterse and as you’ve already said, I work as a Career & Life Coach, helping ambitious professionals and new leaders thrive in their career and life. The work I do takes a holistic approach and has a core focus on mindset and how we view ourselves and the world.

I have a 10 year background in Human Resources and still work as a part-time HR Consultant helping small to medium sized businesses with all people related things. I bring a lot of my coaching into my HR work and help businesses to think holistically about their people.

Why did you sign up to be a part of OneUpOneDown?

I have been mentoring HR graduates and advisors for the last 4 years informally and through my own networks. When I heard about One Up One Down I wanted to be part of it immediately. I absolutely love the philosophy and values and I also see it as a deep privilege for me to share my coaching work in a free and more accessible forum.

What does success mean to you? How do you align with your definition at the moment?

Success to me is having time and space for me to be me. To learn, grow and serve others. My definition has changed a lot and will continue to, but right now success is having time and space. I am self-employed and I am very intentional about the work that I do, the clients I work with and what I spend my energy on, which helps me to stay aligned with my definition and also helps me to help others do the same.

What prompted you to pursue the career you’re in now?

I wanted something more than HR and I wanted to serve people in a different way. My partner is also a qualified Life Coach so introduced me to it. When I started training I knew this was the path for me. I had been doing career mentorship for a long time, but opening up to more holistic life coaching has been incredibly rewarding!

How did you know this is what you wanted to do?

I didn’t even know life coaching was real!! But when I started it, I knew it was right. There have been bumps, my first year was quite the mess – but when you’re really willing to stick it out (for the right reasons, not because you think you should) you know it’s something that means a lot to you. It gives me energy, that’s also how I know I want to do it!

Have you made any big transitions or changes in your career? What were they? How did you do it?

Absolutely – Moving from public to private sector in the HR world is very difficult and that took a lot of courage, self-trust and also determination. I had a mentor throughout my HR career and without him, I don’t believe I would have pursued the avenues I did and made the big jumps.

I was also made redundant after 12 months in a role which really knocked my confidence and left me feeling really low – however, at the same time my mentor and one of my close friends saw potential in me and both pushed me to apply for a Senior position (which I didn’t feel ready for) but ended up being successful in securing!

For me it was trusting that I would figure it out and that I could do it, but mostly it was having people in my corner pushing me to do the things I never always felt ready to do, but really was ready for!

What is something that has been particularly challenging throughout your career?

Imposter Syndrome. I struggle with it still today, but I have gotten better at hearing the stories and challenging them. I never felt I knew enough, even though I always excelled, was always praised and did exceptionally well – it never felt like enough. It was exhausting and I feel kept me back a few times, but equally – it helped me be seen by others who seemed to trust my knowledge and skills more than I did and pushed me along.

Imposter Syndrome is not a defining challenge, yet it holds so many people back, especially women. So it’s become a core part of the coaching work that I do, to help women move through it and stand in their power so they can excel in whatever they choose to do!

What have been your go-to tools and strategies to overcome challenging experiences or people in your career?

Venting and writing! Haha. Venting to my mentor has been great – mostly because he doesn’t have a lot of tolerance for it. He’ll listen to it, then help me move into solution mode to figure out how to move through it so I don’t get stuck. Writing because it helps to get it out of my head, which then helps to create space in my mind to think more logically and rationally about what’s going on and how I can address it and move through it.

I don’t vent for as long as I use to these days – having a partner as a life coach it’s like having a live in mentor haha – but I definitely write a lot to get my thoughts out. Often I realise how ridiculous they are and I can move on from them quicker!

The other thing that I have only learned in the last few years is realising that people aren’t difficult, stupid or intentional a*$holes, but that they are carrying their own thoughts, beliefs and triggers from their own life experience. The more I acknowledge this and have compassion for it, the less I see “difficult people” and the more I see people who may just need someone to listen or someone to be straight with them.

What is one personal or professional skill you’re working on at the moment and why?

My ability to focus!! LOL. I am such a scatter brain!! Even though I meditate daily, which helps, I am still very scattered. Ways I combat it is keep my phone out of my office when I am doing focus work and I schedule deep work sessions (concept from Cal Newport) for 90mins at a time and I work on my high value, highly important work.

It’s an ongoing process, but hey, that’s life and being human!

What is something you wish you’d known when you were first starting out in your career?

Your workload will literally never end, so you don’t need to work 80-100 hours a week. Also, working yourself into the ground doesn’t prove how good you are, it only proves how weak your own boundaries and self-respect is.

A hard truth, but a real truth.

What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone navigating their own career?

Figure out what success means TO YOU. Not your parents definition, your friends, or your high school or uni teacher. Figure it out for YOURSELF and then make decisions that align with that.

If you studied for 4 years and found that you actually hated the career you thought you should pursue, you’re not a failure for wanting to change.

How can we follow your journey?

You can check out my website or find me on Instagram where I’m quite present! 

OneUpOneDown is a network of driven women, passionate about connecting, learning, and growing through mentorship. Join us!