Does coaching promise heaven?

"Coaching is the new promise of healing, its gurus fill Germany's halls. Tens of thousands of paying clients hope to become more successful, better - but some break. About a country in a self-optimization mania" - said journalist Anette Dowideit in the "Welt am Sonntag" of 16.02.2020.

On a Sunday morning at shortly before ten: While church bells are ringing all over the country, the self-proclaimed "Investigative Journalism" of the Sunday newspaper has already danced itself warm in the interest of sales figures.

It's all about city-hall filling experience speakers like Tobias Beck (up to several ten thousand participants per event). He has been a psychologist and steward at the Lufhansa for 20 years, accompanies Vapiano's management team and motivates his fans for a self-determined life as a top speaker and Spiegel bestseller author. It is about the psychologist, social pedagogue, life consultant and esoteric Robert Betz. His purely German language website has about 200,000 visitors every month. With bestselling books, seminars, hall filling lectures and various media he accompanies "Christian spiritual transformation processes". It is about Alex Fischer, with commercial training and experience in the banking sector, he gives investment tips. It's about the former gym owner and criminally convicted Weiterbilder in bankruptcy Jürgen Höller and the former basketball player and motivation trainer Christian Bischoff. It's about the GedankenTanken founders and owners Stefan Fädrich and CEO Alexander Müller, who organise such major events online and offline.

And it's about the lawyer Schäfer, commissioned by the Protestant Church, who is supposed to keep "sectarian movements" - or simply "the competition" - in the legal eye. As well as lawyer Habdank, who despite intensive research had to conclude that "almost never criminal relevance or mental suffering" could be compensated.

The victims: a snubbed participant in a major event, a traumatised seminar participant and a cheated client in a toddler course. The coaching industry seems to be dominated by Schacka men in every respect: Professional athletes, testosterone-driven and profit-driven. The victims are all women in social professions (mothers, alternative practitioners and teachers). Really?!

I can understand that for some investigative journalists this is the world.

And it is also understandable this unpleasant feeling of not being able to assess exactly what happens in these Schacka events and who is responsible for it.

In this respect, the article "Die Euphoriker" is a very meaningful Sunday reading experience. It becomes difficult, however, when the author Dowideit equates the speaker, trainer and organizer scene and such mass phenomena with coaching. Coaching usually takes place in a trusting direct relationship - not on a stage, not on a YouTube channel, not with Barack Obama. What a pity, because with this Dowideit proves the lack of depth of their alleged Investigative Research.

After all these non-coaches, it almost seems like a staged alibi to ask the veteran of the German coaching scene, Dr. Christopher Rauen, for a short statement. Vague enough not to provoke any legally relevant counterstatements, however, the fact remains that the professional associations and their quality criteria are not mentioned - Dowideit is a completely professional journalist. It is correct that the profession of coach is not protected by German professional law. These are only professions that have been established for centuries or where there is a danger to life and limb for the client. Coaching has developed from the comparatively young psychology (which has only been established as a profession and academically for almost a hundred years) over the last 50 years - as an efficient method in the business context, which supports the client in looking ahead (whereas psychology classically deals with the past). For 25 years now, there have been uniform global standards for the profession of coach by the world's largest professional association of professional coaches: the International Coaching Federation (ICF), which has more than 145 chapters (for almost 25 years also in Germany). In some of these chapters (and also in EU chapters) there are profession-specific regulations for coaches (as for example in Austria in the context of trade law or in Switzerland in the context of tax law). For decades the ICF, in the so-called Round Table Coaching, has been working for a uniform definition of coaching and the Profession Coach in Germany together with other professional associations. It is a pity that Dowideit neither mentions these quality standards, which have also been valid in Germany for decades, nor the Round Table Coaching or the world's largest association ICF. Also not mentioned are the leading platforms Xing Coaches, which ICF Coaches explicitly identifies, the Haufe Akademie as Germany's largest B2B provider or CoachHub as an internationally appearing star.

However, the German legislator considers the danger to life and limb of the client to be so low that currently no professional regulation (with the consequence of the state monopoly on training, degrees and admissions as with doctors and lawyers) seems to be appropriate, but only trade law applies. This is in line with the assessment of the legal "sect experts" mentioned above, who monitor the market.

In plain language: the market wants the Schacka speakers and fills their halls and channels. And more than the pews of all religious representatives in Germany together. This may worry the church rightly - but competition stimulates business.

And the market is desperately seeking individual support and advice in an increasingly confusing world. To become aware of one's own limiting paradigms and beliefs in a coaching training - and perhaps even the indirectly inherited war traumas of previous generations or glass ceilings for women's self-realization - is not necessarily harmful. Wanting to accompany fellow human beings authentically and empathically in going their own way in the new online world is retro and avant-garde in equal measure. But demand currently governs supply - and according to German lawmakers and the EU, that's all it takes. Lost sheep can find justice within the framework of the existing laws. Investigative journalists enjoy freedom of expression. After all, even this profession is not protected by professional law - because even this profession obviously does not endanger life or limb, even with the worst research.

In the end Dowideit warns against "coaches and their promises of salvation" - but means speakers, coaches, personality trainers, who are psychologists, social pedagogues, former professional sportsmen and businessmen by nature. Whether they have ever enjoyed a coaching education or even sell their services as coaching remains to be seen and is of no interest to Dowideit in terms of sales figures. For the record (because we have done our homework): none of the 7 personality trainers mentioned by name is registered and/or certified as a coach in the professional association of the International Coaching Federation.

On a Thursday morning at shortly before ten: While all over the country the stallholders of the weekly markets are proclaiming their goods, the self-proclaimed "Investigative Journalism" of the Sunday newspaper has danced its way out - and is used by the fish seller to wrap the customer with the dead carp that is just passing the sales counter.

Meanwhile, the International Coaching Federation, the largest professional association of professional coaches in the world, will celebrate its 25th anniversary this year: with the International CoachingWeek in May together with its partners whom it supports with pro bono coaching, such as the German Red Cross, Unicef, Paralympics, Amnesty International or the United Nations, or at its specialist congresses lasting several days, such as the Coaching Day in Frankfurt in autumn, with the presentation of the Prism Award for special coaching programmes in companies. In recent years, this award has gone to one of the top 10 law firms CMS Tax Legal, Vodafone and Adidas. The dinosaur of the German coaching industry - Volkswagen - was also awarded a special prize for its 25-year overall concept consisting of several coaching programs throughout the group. They all swear by professional, professional association-supported coaching for personnel development. They don't fill halls, bookshelves or youtube channels with it. But they do make the lives of thousands of employees in Germany a fulfilling and meaningful one. German quality work. Made in Germany. The Prism Award for special coaching programs is supported by the University of Salzburg, the University of Kassel, Professor Greif, who cooperates with the universities in Berlin and Osnabrück, the Haufe Akademie, the Handelsblatt, ComputerBild, RELEVANT Management Beratung and HOGAN Distributor as well as Xing.

Lone wolves such as the lawyers Habdank and Schäfer, on the other hand, are unlikely to have used coaching in their law firm and personnel development. Medium-sized law firms and large law firms, on the other hand, have already (see above), in order to make the legal profession fit for the future. The Legal Coaching Training Program of the CLP Academy now even offers a coaching training for lawyers that is specially tailored to the legal profession and is far more effective than mediation training; the CLP-CoachingLounge at the Legal Revolution has been a mega success in the legal sector for 3 years.

And also the "Welt am Sonntag" has no well-known coaching program for investigative journalists.

Maybe you should only write about what you know.

In this sense,

Dr. Geertje Tutschka, PCC

Lawyer for Germany and Austria,

CEO CLP-Consulting for Legal Professionals and Trainer of the Legal Coaching Training of the CLP Academy Project Lead Prism Award ICF Germany and President Past

... and if you can't get to the weekly market and fish stall today - Read the article by Anette Dowideit in the Welt am Sonntag from 16.02.2020 here.



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