"Coaching is the best way to lead and develop employees"

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"Coaching is the best way to lead and develop employees"

Companies today need coaching because the conventional ideas of management and leadership no longer fulfil their function. Especially in a constantly changing world, managers should do much more to guide their employees towards empowerment. Interview with Dr. Stefan Frädrich, founder of Gedankentanken, about hard soft skills and ways to bring about change in companies.

You are an entrepreneur, bestselling author, inventor of "Günter, the inner pig dog", who has become a plush figure and a book series - and you founded Gedankentanken. At Greator you are always giving inspiring talks and seminars. Many people in businesses follow you on your social media channels and implement your concepts. What trends are you seeing in business leadership right now? What is new?

The world of companies and professionals is undergoing enormous change. This doesn't just have to do with the crisis and the lockdowns, although it has made many people think. Many are asking themselves: What do I really want? What does this life mean? How can I fill my actions with meaning? And there is indeed a new development: In more and more companies, the realization is gaining ground that they need to Coaching need - or, to be more precise: business coaching. In addition to the topics familiar from coaching, such as self-awareness and motivation, this also involves economic factors, i.e. measurable success. Increasingly, people want to do something meaningful. The value of sustainability - which also means something like effectiveness - is being advocated by more and more people.

Why do companies need coaching for this? Don't such values assert themselves on their own?

Well - it depends on the managers. With "old-style" managers, such values tend not to prevail, because old management cultures and thus structures prevent this. And that's why it's time for coaching in companies. Traditionally, companies have a management focus and take care of processes. Or they preach the idea of leadership and say that managers have to set a good example and the others have to emulate them. But in a changed world of work, it's about completely different issues, about many more individual concerns and about personal development. Especially in these times. Companies have to understand now: Coaching is the best way to lead and develop employees. Coaching is a tool that companies can no longer do without. It can be the way out of the crisis.

Why does this not work with management and leadership?

Because these approaches do not go deep enough. They don't take into account large parts of the empowerment aspect. Some leaders apply their leadership methods to employees they don't even really know.

Why can coaching do that?

Coaching consists, among other things, of the art of asking the right questions so that people come up with the right answers on their own. So when you're coaching, you're automatically dealing very deeply with yourself, with your true nature. It's about what someone really wants and how they can work productively in accordance with their values. Man's search for his position in the world is, after all, evolutionarily ancient. And it seems that now an intense time has come in which it is exactly about this.

That sounds very intense and personal. Is that good? Isn't that getting too personal?

It is as intense and personal as people allow it to be. No one has to take their clothes off in the process. But it is a huge opportunity not only for companies to become more powerful, but also for managers and employees to find out how they themselves can be happy, satisfied and powerful at the same time in harmony with their personality.

The term coaching sounds very soft to many people. How do you see that?

It may sound soft because it's about soft skills. But then again, it's really hard! Feedback conversations that leave the comfort zoneIt's not easy to learn new behaviors and to train them. Especially when people are developing, they can sense that this is no pony farm. For example, many people realize that they are not the communication professionals they thought they were. You need a certain openness to the uncomfortable. In short, it's about hard tools for soft skills.

Most coaches have a special topic. Wouldn't companies then have to bring in different coaches for different topics?

Well, that's exactly the problem. Companies need a much broader view of things, and so do many coaches. After all, specialization always means closing cognitive doors. But leadership in particular is about taking other people's perspectives. I just had a nurse in a hospital tell me that she doesn't like doctors. It's funny because in the end, everyone has to work together and should want to. It's about thinking holistically, not thinking in teams or projects. But because specialization dominates businesses, over time people become blind to the concerns of others. Many coaches also specialize - for motivation, for leadership, and others. I think that even a coach today should have a generalist view of life and work and recognize the complexity that everything is connected to everything else.

Our entire education system relies on specialization.

Yes, and in the process, "street smarts" are lost. But we need street smarts instead of school smarts. Urgently! But because school, training and university focus on specialisation, many companies end up suffocating in the small details and lose the overview of the whole.

You're a doctor. Doctors are usually also specialized. What is medicine's position on the subject of coaching?

Many doctors are open to the topic when they discover it. But many don't discover it because the structures don't have a need for coaching. Or at least it seems that way. In nursing, for example, people are much more open to the topic of personal development and coaching than in medicine. In medicine, professional qualifications count much more: The higher, the easier it is to move up.

And in what way are coaches therapists? Is that the same thing?

They are quite opposites. They are completely different approaches. Therapists want to treat, that is, to heal. The claim of a therapy is to solve deep-seated, psychological difficulties, such as Fears, addictions, trauma, or the like. In contrast, coaching helps one become a better version of oneself through better communication and clearer goals as well as ways to get there. With coaching, the job begins when a person wants to be the best they can be. In therapy, the job ends when the person is healthy enough to move forward.

Reviewed by Dr. med. Stefan Frädrich

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