A Guest Blog by Prof Paul Bishop
There’s a very common stereotype about Germans: they are logical, rational, and efficient. They work hard, and they are economically successful: Germany is the land of the Wirtschaftswunder. And it’s true that the German economy is still booming away, while in Britain the deficit seems to grow ever larger.
But as anyone who’s spent a bit of time in Germany knows, it’s much more complicated than that. The flip-side to their rationality is an intense, and sometimes surprising, interest in religion and in spirituality, in psychoanalysis, even in the esoteric. Their industry makes huge profits, but the Germans are also interested in quality of life.
Hence the popularity of coaching in Germany. For over the last decade or so, Germany has witnessed a massive growth of interest in coaching of all kinds: executive coaching, business coaching, and life coaching alike. In Germany (as in the UK) the term ‘coach’ is not licensed or registered, although there are numerous (at least fifteen) major coaching associations that offer accreditation. And a plethora of institutes and universities offer coaching courses leading to accreditation too.
To a greater extent than in the UK, perhaps, Germany has a number of well-known or celebrity coaches. Sabina Asgodom, for instance, has published several successful titles, including most recently This Is How I Coach: 25 Surprising Interventions That Can Make You More Successful (2012). (It’s written in German, though: perhaps an opportunity to brush up one’s grammar — or to discover that German is really quite an easy language … ?)
Asgodom had her own TV show on Bavarian Television, airing between 2011 and 2013. OK, maybe it didn’t have particularly high production values, but the aim of the programme was to show the general public how coaching can actually work in practice. In 2012 Asgodom founded her own coaching academy in Munich, promoting an approach she labels lösungsorientiertes Kurzcoaching (LOKC), or ‘goal-oriented mini-coaching’; see http://www.asgodom.de/asgodom-coach-akademie/ .
Another well-known coach, this time based in Berlin, is Petra Bock, the author of two best-selling books with the (for Anglo-American readers) slightly alarming title, Mindf**k. The first of these books is subtitled ‘How We Sabotage Ourselves And What We Can Do About It’, while the second is called ‘The Coaching: How You Can Overcome Mental Self-Sabotage’. Short promotional videos for these books can be found on Bock’s homepage, http://www.petrabock.de/drbocktv/moviethek.aspx; including a link to her blog.
For an overview of the current coaching-scene, a great source of information is the website run by Christopher Rauen, http://www.coach-datenbank.de/ . You can also sign up to a regular newsletter about developments in couching in Germany. But Achtung! — again it’s written in German.
And this might prompt one to ask: Is coaching in German in any way different from coaching in English? That’s a big question: and one to be answered some other time!
© Paul Bishop