"Executive Sparring"

(Speech 2005)

While coaching used to be a discipline solely to be found on sports-grounds, it now has turned into a fashionable, if not desirable service to improve Top-Management performance. With this upgrading of a service that used to be handled by only a few virtuoso psychotherapists an entire scene developed, all hungry for a share of the promising fees equal to those of strategy consultants. And with success came the desire for exclusiveness. In a highly unregulated market, self-proclaimed experts are trying to manifest their own methods and tools as “the one and only” standard and pretend a successful certification and licensing model guarantees objective quality standards. Is that the only coaching standard that counts? How much dogma and how much individual intuition is helpful? To mark a clear line against “traditional coaching” and based on a variety of customer feedbacks we have developed “Executive Sparring”, an approach that is not constrained by any ideological corridor. “Executive Sparring” dialogue partners should be capable of integrating a multitude of schools of thought and methods in their work, which in our experience is the only way for effective coaching on a holistic level:

Strategy: Strategy consultancies traditionally recruit for high levels of cognitive and analytical talents. But even if additionally those young consultants posses social “human” skills, it would be rather difficult to enhance or even preserve these in a culture of “up or out”. Only if one successfully combines strategy competencies with an interest for human beings, it creates a valuable composition. So why hire expert consultancies for strategy development and cost cutting first, and then the OD-consultants and systemic coaches for implementation second, if both could happen simultaneously?

Cross-cultures: Based on age, specifics of their education and their professional roots, many traditional coaches are not very comfortable with international contexts, nor foreign languages. Yet, language is a powerful tool for decoding current challenges and an effective approach to problem solving. Our biographies include both, proficiency of language and awareness of different cultural codices, obtained by many years of international work- and life experience.


Media-fit: Today’s top-managers are camera-trained. Often (TV-) journalists offer – if lucky – individually customized advice taking psychological barriers and strategic challenges into account. Its effectiveness will rise at any level, though, if included into an “Executive Sparring” setting. Convincing (camera-) presence can only be conveyed if content, form at and personality are in sync – something that can not be accomplished in single ad hoc-media training sessions.

“Executive Sparring” 4-in-1-package: It seems obvious to merge these individual types of consulting services, which will save time and money. “Executive Sparring” efficiently interweaves the different aspects mentioned and can best be compared to Seneca or Talleyrand or other renown advisors of world-history, from ancient times when coaching, strategy consulting or media training did not yet exist.


(Torsten Weber, 2005)