About Ghislaine Mahler ...

I wanted to create this page to share some more personal information about me, so you get to know what my passions are, my interests, my journey, and more.  I hope you find it of interest.

I was born in Paris, France, the youngest of six children.  As a child, I was determined to become a theater actress and tour France performing in theatrical productions.  I had been exposed to theater, watching plays on television.  Later on, of course I attended real plays in local theaters.  When I was a young woman, I attended classes with François Florent in his acting school, named Cours Florent.   Soon after that, I became part of a theatrical group, still in Paris, and as part of the experimental work we were doing, we decided to work with masks.

Naturally, I went to study the art of mask-making with Cyril Dives, a renowned French artist, in Paris.  Cyril was actually the very artist who had made the masks for Les Perses, one of the televised plays I had seen when I was eight years old.  I had never forgotten how powerful his masks were.  I was lucky to be able to study with him for a couple of years, he was an old man.  What I didn’t know at the time, was that this art form would turn into a 40-year passion and would take me to a whole new world of self-discovery and more.  

In 1981, I decided to go spend a year in New York and pursue my acting education at the HB Studio  (Herbert Berghof Studio).  Hello Big Apple!  It was a really fun year, I learned a lot – before you know it, I was back in Paris, finding myself unable to reconnect to the French and Parisian culture.  So, by summer of 1983 I returned to New York.   That first year back in New York, I took sculpture classes at The Art Students League of New York to improve my mask-making skills and I loved being surrounded by all the artists, students and teachers alike.  

During that time, I felt very free, I had 2 suitcases full of personal belongings and my life was like a white canvas – I could create whatever I wanted – no attachments, nothing to pull me down.  I was in my late twenties, discovering this fascinating city, and walking fearlessly into the unknown.


Ghislaine in the Corporate World

As an adolescent in France, I wanted to go to a performing arts high school, but my parents decided otherwise and directed me into a technical college, where I learned how to type at lightning speed and become a lovely obedient, submissive secretary.  Oh, did I hate this!  During my twenties in Paris, I worked as an administrative assistant and then upgraded to executive assistant. 

It is during this time that I started “coaching” the CEOs I was working with.  Of course, I didn’t know I was coaching them, I was just being myself, genuinely interested in people, being a good listener, and intuitively knowing what probing questions to ask.  I was working as a high-level temp, on long-term assignments, because the idea of being “caged” into a permanent job just was not bearable to me. When I lived in New York, I continued supporting myself the same way.  I worked aside CEOs of large corporations (see some of them at left) and was always offered management promotions which I rejected because I knew this was not the life I was meant to live.

Ghislaine in the Theatre World

At some point, I was able to get mask-making and costume prop-making jobs for big Broadway productions, off Broadway plays, ballet, and commercials.  This was the absolute most fun, each project involved finding solutions and being fully resourceful.  Again, surrounded by creative people was very fulfilling to me.  Some of the most famous productions I worked on are Phantom of the Opera, and Cats. 

Working for Broadway shows was thrilling and fun.  However, the materials used involved very toxic glues and other chemicals, to ensure the strength of the masks and costume props, for quick costume changes.  After a couple of years, I decided preserving my health was of the utmost importance, and I walked away from this adventure.  However, I continued creating my own masks. with non-toxic materials only.

I moved to Colorado and created masks for some college theater programs.  I also opened my own studio and started teaching the craft of mask-making.  That is something I had always wanted to do, to pass on the knowledge that was shared with me by Cyril Dives in Paris.  I developed a way to use only non-toxic products and I was happy to continue my craft.  I taught also within an elder Hostel program and was thrilled to witness the “magic” happening to my students, discovering hidden parts of themselves through mask-making.  A few years later, I became Artist in Residence at a local theater in Santa Fe, New Mexico and I taught at the Children’s Museum.

Ghislaine in the Personal Development World

Back in 1986, I had started working actively on my personal development which I had also become passionate about.  I was on a new path to know myself deeply, to develop clarity about my life direction, and I was working on transforming my relationship to myself, to build my self-confidence, my self-worth, to transform my self-defeating beliefs, to learn to say “no”.  This was a very empowering journey for me.  Soon, my mask-making work transformed as well and as I was getting in touch with my feelings and my “inner-world,” the masks I was creating uncovered all new facets of myself I had not been able to see before.  A lot of them were archetypal in nature and I was most excited about this newly found direction with my work. 

My masks became tools for my personal development.  As I was creating them, some new aspects of my inner-world would reveal themselves, one at a time – my inner child I had to learn to love, the critic in my head I had to tame, the magician enabling me to manifest my desires, the warrior helping me to face my fears and conquer the world, the queen showing me how to be a leader, and so much more.  This all came to me intuitively, through my creative process, over a period of several years.  As a Life Coach, I incorporated these concepts to some of the work I was doing with my clients, when it was exactly the right fit for them.  How powerful!  I had been given the gift of a process that enabled myself as well as my clients to grow rapidly and be greatly empowered in this way.  In 2006 I published a book (no longer in print today) about this process.  I intend to add to it and publish a new expanded version of it at some point in the near future.   

Ghislaine in the Coaching and Training World

By the time I moved to Santa Fe, in 1995, I knew I had a gift for “getting” people, what their aspirations were, what was in the way of their life pursuits, I had a real ability to encourage them to dare create the life they truly wanted instead of just putting up with mediocrity.  I started “working” with a few clients, helping them to develop clarity about their life direction.  This is when I discovered Coaching.  It was a brand-new profession, and I immediately knew this was the direction for me.  I signed up for a two-year program with Coach University and within my first month, I already had a dozen clients.  By 1999 I was fully certified and accredited with the International Coach Federation (ICF).  


For the first few years, I was focusing on Life Coaching.  Soon, though, I started attracting entrepreneurs to my business.  I, too, was learning how to build a business and continued my coaching education in that direction (marketing, business building, etc.)  In 2002 I formed an alliance with the Ken Blanchard Companies,  They recently changed their name to “Blanchard” (renowned international corporate training company).  They were adding Leadership and Executive Coaching services to their offerings, and I was able to join their first group of coaches.  It’s been twenty years now, and I am still loving working with executives and high-level managers in corporations, and help build stronger leaders through my affiliation with Ken Blanchard. In the process, I was fully trained on numerous corporate coaching topics involving leadership and team management.  As much as working inside the corporate world wasn’t right for me, coaching corporate leaders has been a great fit for me and very rewarding work.

Outside of my Ken Blanchard affiliation, I have continued my journey as a Life Coach with my own clients.  It’s been 30 years now, and I love it as much today as I did when I started.  Throughout all these years, I continued working on myself and acquiring more skills.  I became fully certified as a Trainer with Peak Potentials and went through a series of training camps to grow beyond my fears, beyond my limits.  

I was able to incorporate my mask work with some of the training seminars I designed and led in North Vancouver and in New York for several years.  Everything came together, it all made sense, all these parts of my journey joining to make my offerings powerful and unique, and for me to be fully authentic in the way I can express and share my gifts. 

Over the years, I have worked with hundreds of men and women, and it’s been my utmost privilege to bring some light on their path to personal empowerment.  I love my work and feel so grateful to be able to contribute to the world in this way.  

Buy my book (now available in ebook format).