Helena Dolny

Helena Dolny


Dr. Helena Dolny has been working as a coach since 2003. She cut her teeth on designing the coaching component of a New Generation Leadership Programme at Standard Bank. Whilst Director of Coaching and Mentoring at Standard Bank’s Global Leadership Centre (2005-2009), she and her team designed and implemented five coaching interventions as part of a “Fit for Purpose” Coaching Programme: Executive Coaching, Team Coaching, Peer Coaching, Performance Coaching, Personal Development (self-coaching tools) as well as implementing a company-wide Mentoring programme.

In 2009 Helena started up her own coaching practice. Helena coaches mostly executives and teams, but also has some clients from the not-for-profit sectors of society. She customizes what she does according to the client’s requirements. Some clients want a sounding board. Others want to enhance their leadership skills, or clarify their way forward. Others want work-life balance, or to identify what work gives them their best energy. Teams have asked for different things: more ability to read one another, values and role clarification, transformation issues, diversity exploration and enhanced conflict resolution capability.

Helena says, “What I like best about coaching and facilitating are the moments when the lights go on for the individual or the team that I’m working with. They’ve gained a new understanding about the issues they’re grappling with. There’s energy and new ways of going forward”

Her clients include ABSA, & Beyond, Aveng. B.P. Eskom, J & J,  Old Mutual. Parliament, PPC (Cement), Rand Merchant Bank, Shanduka, Standard Bank, Telesure, SAHRC, Sanlam & SA Metal.


Helena began her career in 1976 as a Development Economist, and has twice spent time in academia. In 1995 she was selected to be a member of the Presidential Commission on Rural Finance. This was followed by a twelve year engagement in the financial services sector.

Helena’s leadership roles include:

  • 2005-2009 Director Coaching and Mentoring Standard Bank
  • 2003-2005 Director of Agricultural Banking Standard Bank
  • 2001-2003  CEO Inland West Region First National Bank
  • 1997-2000  Managing Director of the Land Bank
  • 1995-1996  Commissioner –Presidential Commission on Rural Finance
  • 1990-1994  Founding Member of the post 1990 African National Congress Land Commission
  • 1984-1986  Director of CUSO Maputo Mozambique – a Canadian NGO Development programme


Dr. Helena Dolny has a PhD in Economics (1993); her thesis on Land Markets in South Africa was a seminal contribution to post-Apartheid Land Reform policy debate. She gained a Masters in Executive Coaching in 2005 (cum laude) to support her change of profession. In the early 2000’s coaching was taking off in South Africa and Helena was a founding member of COMENSA (Coaches and Mentors of South Africa) working in the Ethics committee. Her Master’s thesis on the hiring of coaches by corporates led to an invitation to present a paper to the European Mentoring and Coaching Conference in 2008 and has influenced best practice in the coaching industry. Writing is a passion: Helena’s book Banking on Change (Penguin 2001) covers the Land Bank experience of how challenging transformation is for both for people and institutions. 2009-2010 Helena wrote a coaching column Shift Happens for SA’s Mail & Guardian. In 2009 Helena edited and co-authored with 7 other coaches Team Coaching: Artists at Work (Penguin SA)