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Academic and Professional Background


David Collins Coaching


Running my private practice supporting Executives and Leadership Development within Organisations.

Founder, The Foundation Clinic Johannesburg South Africa.


Founding member of the Foundation Clinic a primary care substance misuse treatment facility in Johannesburg South Africa.

Founder - The Ubuntu Addiction Community Trust


The U-ACT Trust is my life's passion. The aim of the trust is to train, empower and treat individual and bring the skills of coaching to communities, organisations, families and individuals.

Founder GWEN

MAY 2019 

GWEN - Global Wellness Education Network

Currently working out of the UK for GWEN, where my work continues to be driven by a keen sense of social responsibility and its importance to the sustainability of countries and economies.

Founder of the U-ACT Trust (Ubuntu Addiction Community Trust & the Ubuntu Academy of Coaching & Training), a Section 18A company whose aim is to incorporate the skills and success of coaching in the field of Recovery Coaching. The U-ACT coaching academy has since grown into a global organisation with representatives in the UK, the Netherlands, AustraliaBotswanaSouth Africa, Hong Kong and the USA.



DAVID COLLINS was born in London in 1966 and emigrated to South Africa as a child, where he completed his schooling in Cape Town in 1986. He then returned to England, where he obtained C&G 223 Micro-Electronics (Computer Engineering) from Hackney College, London.


He is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (Coaches Training Institute, USA), an internationally accredited Master Coach (IMCAS – Institute of Management Consulting & Master Coaches South Africa), holds a Certificate in Drugs, Drug Use, Drug Policy & Health from the University of Geneva, is a member of the International Coaching Register and was the National Director of the Mankind Project in South Africa. Under his directorship, MKP South Africa won the GQ Magazine award for Best Organisation 2020 for its work with gender-based violence in the country.

He is a specialist coach, facilitator and consultant with an extensive background in the financial sector. He sits on the panel of external coaches for a number of banks and has worked in South Africa, the UK, Botswana, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Australia and New Zealand.

David gained over 20 years’ experience in the corporate world, working for the likes of JPMorgan Chase, Fleming Martin, IBM, Accenture, Old Mutual and Daiwa Securities. His involvement in these sectors included many high-level projects, company take-overs and disaster recovery situations, which gave him a very clear understanding of the structure, environment and power dynamics of corporate culture. With his IT expertise, he was also one of the founding members of Nerdworks, the holding company of Dial-a-Nerd and Dial-a-Nerd Corporate Operations.


David’s personal experience of substance use disorders – and the way those battling with it are outsourced to the state, the courts, the police, the church, mental hospitals and inadequate social welfare departments – culminated in his decision to leave the corporate world in 2008 to work full-time as an executive coach  and to focus on the SHARP REHABILITATION CENTRE (Self-Help Addiction Recovery Programme) (subsequently renamed the FOUNDATION CLINIC) in Johannesburg, a primary care substance misuse treatment facility, registered with the South African Department of Social Development and the Department of Health, which he established in 2001.


The facility remains unique in that it takes a diametrically opposite view of both addiction and wellness. Its modality of choice is Recovery Coaching, an eclectic combination of various disciplines developed by David, premised on helping each individual patient define what wellness would look like for them and identify the skills set needed to resource themselves in order to achieve it. This skill set is known as recovery capital.

The patient-led approach is a significant departure from the one used widely in the rehabilitation industry. Many facilities merely detox patients, prescribe a one-size-fits-all concept of recovery to them and then release them, with little support offered to patients’ families, communities and employers, who are all equally impacted by the chaos of addiction. The number of relapses and re-admissions – the “revolving-door syndrome” – caused by this arbitrary, symptomatic treatment is both a social and economic crisis.

Recovery Coaching works on the assumption that each patient is already well (the culture of recovery), naturally creative and resourceful, and  the sole authority on what a productive, sustainable, fulfilled life would be for them. The coach avoids pathologising the client’s condition. Instead, the recovery coaching process empowers the client through co-creative, collaborative conversations. The coaching relationship is aimed at results, rather than dependency, with the patient deciding on specific, measurable outcomes, and being accountable to the coach for achieving them. In this way, the client assumes full responsibility for their own recovery.

While the coaching relationship can be short- or long-term, it is continually evolving, with specific landmarks in the patient’s journey to social, familial and career reintegration. It is also a systemic perspective of addiction, based on David’s belief that as the individual changes, so does their internal system and environment. The recovery coaching process aims to help prepare the client for these shifts.


While the Recovery Coaching model recognises and respects the role of faith-based organisations and ideologies in clients’ path to wellness, it is entirely non-denominational, unaligned to any political party, ethnic group or religious movement, and driven purely by its own healing guidelines.

In 2008, David established the UBUNTU ACADEMY OF COACHING TRAINING (U-ACT PBO-930 037 894) TRUST, a SAQA-registered organisation which is internationally recognised and is ISO 17024-compliant. U-ACT is an umbrella organisation comprising two global education programmes: the GLOBAL WELLNESS EDUCATION NETWORK (GWEN) and THIS IS AFRICA (TIA), as well as an extensive schools outreach programme.

The U-ACT’s Global Wellness Educational Network is a diverse – and growing – chain of initiatives, all with the overall objective of training recovery coaches and facilitators worldwide, eliminating addiction and uplifting communities internationally.


GWEN runs ongoing daily online training modules for students around the globe. They may enrol for one of several training options:

Recovery Coaching: A three-module programme delivered as either a five-day intensive course, or as three separate modules taught over three weekends. Upon completion of these modules, students wishing to qualify as recovery coaches must acquire 60 hours’ practical coaching (40 hours’ coaching and 20 hours’ being coached), submit two recorded coaching sessions with two separate clients for assessment (as well as notes documenting those clients’ progress, and the coach’s own reflections during the coaching), do a live coaching session in front of two assessors and write an open-book exam. Students who complete these requirements successfully then receive certification as Recovery Coaches, enabling them to work either independently or in institutions or businesses.

Facilitator training: Courses for recovery group facilitators are offered online to students around the globe.

The most recent addition to David’s global initiative is the POCKET REHAB COACHING NETWORK , an online programme for students around the globe to qualify in Peer Recovery Coaching. This enables them to assess and direct addicts towards the resources they require for recovery in their part of the world. The programme is allied to POCKET REHAB, an app developed by Damien Ross in the USA, which offers addicts instant access to a list of the hospitals, support groups, rehabilitation centres, churches and community centres in their area, as well as a list of qualified peer and recovery coaches, trained by David and his team, whom they can contact for immediate assistance.

The enormous success of the Pocket Rehab Coaching Network attests to the urgent need for recovery coaching, not only among individuals, but in hospitals, social welfare centres, government departments and – particularly – among the medical fraternity, who are generally ill-prepared to deal with patients suffering from addiction. Medical schools, on the whole, devote very little time to this disorder, despite the fact that it is one of the most pervasive, destructive conditions on the planet. The World Health Organisation records that alcoholism alone accounts for 3,3 million deaths annually. Add to this the annual 450 000-500 000 deaths caused by opioid and other drug use, and the statistics are alarming.

Recovery coaching not only addresses the urgency of the worldwide addiction problem, but empowers those who qualify to charge clients for their services and, in this way, create a career and an additional stream of income.



Students who enrol for training on the Pocket Rehab Coaching Network are also given access to the U-ACT’s intranet (running on the digital Workplace platform). This is an extremely wide cluster of groups, chat rooms, videos, blog sites, online coaching and training sessions, with members from all over the globe who are continually active on the platform. Here students can find a wealth of educational material and news items, and can connect with a huge community of other recovering addicts and coaches internationally who face similar challenges. The great diversity in backgrounds, cultures, professions, ages and economic brackets of those on this platform makes interaction with them dynamic and instructive.

Recovery coaching students who join this online community can also find supplementary notes and guidelines for their training and can use the network to acquire some of their own coaching practice hours via online sessions with clients.


The ultimate aim of U-ACT and the Peer Recovery Coaching Network is to spread coaching globally. This work within the South African context is aligned with the National Drug Master Plan (NDMP) and has already been successfully established in communities in Cape Town, Hong Kong, London, New Zealand, Australia, the Netherlands, Botswana, the USA and the United Kingdom (where U-ACT has partnered with the award-winning social care centre Recovery Connections in Middlesbrough UK).



The experience David has gained in 26 years of active recovery and the work outlined above has given him invaluable insight and understanding of addiction on an interpersonal and global level. Through his work with addicts, addiction and recovery on a daily basis, as well as the global academy he has established to create recovery coaches, David is determined to raise awareness of addiction around the world and shift the paradigm of current thinking about the condition.


This work has given him an intense and detailed understanding of: (1) what has and has not worked in terms of pathology and treatment; (2) which areas of recovery are in urgent need of attention and/or funding from a medical and governmental viewpoint; and (3) the scale of the problem and its devastating impact on the economy, society, community and family structures.


Ultimately, addiction is everybody’s problem. Like any other epidemic, it is virulent. It affects all ages, all income brackets, all levels of education, all cultures, all faiths and all political persuasions. It is the most democratic – and most metastatic – of diseases.

David is familiar with the changing trends in drugs among different sectors of the population, from street children to executives, and has extensive knowledge of measures adopted – successfully or otherwise – in other parts of the world to combat the addiction scourge. His years of practical experience and theoretical analysis with addicts, as well as with the various therapists, doctors, psychiatrists and psychologists on his staff and in his professional network, have given him a unique understanding of the addicted mindset – the “hijacked brain” – and the most successful ways of releasing it.

His private online practice, DAVID COLLINS COACHING, offering coaching, training, facilitation and consulting, as well as business and leadership coaching to organisations.

David’s dynamic personality, passion, expertise and natural empathy make him a highly sought-after coach and educator.

Contact details:

Tel: +44 (0) 7498427971(UK)

Office: +44 (0) 208 152 9710 (UK)

(Office): +27(0) 10 900 3131 (South Africa)


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