Executives and managers train and coach: In the Cave of the Lions

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Coaching and coaching executives poses special challenges for trainers: the participants sitting in front of them already have a lot of experience and are used to setting the tone. How can you convey such content to such people?

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Here writes for you:


Jürgen W. Goldfoot 75Jürgen W. Goldfuß is a columnist at Handelsblatt, a management consultant and manager for executives.


From the author:



Further Education - Knowledge Transfer or KnowHow Update?

Seminars with experienced executives are always an interesting and exciting event.

In contrast to young executives, experienced executives already come to a seminar with a certain knowledge of power: “Let's see what else is new, for the sake of interest”.

Chefs learn differently

As long as continuing education is still seen as remedying knowledge deficits and not as the regularly required updating of know-how, as long as many executives shy away from speaking openly about their participation in a seminar.

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Executives place different demands on a seminar than other participants.

Competence test for everyday leadership

While "non-leading" participants usually focus on imparting knowledge, managers want to check more often whether their previously accumulated knowledge is still sufficient for the daily requirements in the management job.

The goal is, therefore, to learn less new things, but rather, so to speak, to get a confirmation that you are doing everything right.

On the test bench

Out of this different goal, interesting aspects arise for the trainer. The coach is much more under critical observation than at other seminars. He must be able to face the participants on an equal footing, instilling experience and competence right from the start.

He must also be able to respond confidently and adequately to the provocative and challenging comments, questions or “tests” of the participants.

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The seminar leader as an equal partner of the executives

The “sniffing” of the seminar leader is more intensive at the beginning of the seminar than at other events.

If he does not manage to be accepted quickly as an equal partner of the executives, he will find it hard to assert himself in the course of the seminar and achieve his goal.

Arrogance instead of respect?

Executives are accustomed to give instructions, to control and to be respected as a boss figure. In a seminar atmosphere they lack the usual recipient environment.

With some, therefore, a feeling of insecurity, which is attempted by research and arrogance, depending on the type and mentality, comes very quickly.

Stress from uncertainty?

Many executives, especially those who experience little or no contradiction in their own company, quickly tend to want to cover up the uncertainty that arises in a seminar situation with dashing demeanor.

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Then there is the often missing one Sense difficult for humor, then tense situations can arise very quickly.

Train a heterogeneous group

Training leaders can be very challenging, because as a rule, you are not dealing with those heterogeneous groups that make such training much more enjoyable.

On the contrary, previous knowledge and training level of the participants are very different. The reason is inherent in the system: in Germany, there is simply no uniform training as a manager.

Worker beside engineer

You have to imagine it like this: Managers are selected and promoted almost exclusively from the pool of “skilled workers”. That is why you often find groups with different training in management training.

There sits the assistant worker promoted to the boss through “learning by doing” next to the analytically trained worker Dr. Engineer. It may then happen that the experienced practitioner moves on a different level than the doctorate in management, which tends to get bored in the face of the inadequate level of other participants.

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Involve the boredom

The trainer must recognize such a situation very quickly and actively involve the “bored” in a role as an analyzing observer or as a driving force for developing new ideas.

The demands on a trainer in a management training are high:

  • he must have up-to-date information on business life
  • He must be able to demonstrate trends credibly
  • he should serve the participants as a sparring partner
  • he is not allowed to make any co-operation with the participants
  • he must be able to react rhetorically to verbal attacks with humor
  • he should not make any specifications - but let the participants develop creative solutions themselves
  • he must be able to put himself in the role of a manager.

What does training bring to the participants?

When at the end of a seminar the participants list the most important points of knowledge:

  • “Improve my communication”
  • “Follow my decisions more consistently”
  • “Take more time to talk to my employees”
  • “Take more time to plan”
  • “Delegate more, give more”
  • “Allow more blur”
  • “Demanding employees more”
  • “Schedule time for strengths / weaknesses analysis of employees”
  • “Conduct regular assessments and target discussions”
  • “Laugh more often”

And if after a while the trainer receives a call or an eMail: "I wanted to tell you what has changed in my department", then he knows that he could again help a company on its way to the future.

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  1. Jennifer Butkus

    I would like to encourage you with my comment that you continue to continue your great work, have a nice morning!

  2. Woodrow

    Really a great site that you have here!

  3. Simone Janson

    The Training of Executives - 2 / 2: Heterogeneous target group, homogeneous result #g

  4. Holger Froese

    Executive Training - 2 / 2: Heterogeneous Audience, Homogenous Outcome #Business

  5. Liane Wolffgang

    The training of managers - 2/2: heterogeneous target group, homogeneous result: to train managers, ...

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