COURAGE – PLAY – EMPATHY

THESE ARE MY GUIDING PRINCIPLES. I AM AN AVID LEARNER AND DEEPLY INTERESTED IN FURTHERING HUMAN DEVELOPMENT. I LOVE MONSTERS AND HOW THEY HELP US GROW.

 

WHY I DO WHAT I DO

Hi, I’m Ulrike Schneeberg – business trainer and coach with a lot of experience in the academic landscape and a soft spot for monsters. One question that crosses my path almost daily in my work is this:

How can I find more clarity and confidence in a system that is so demanding?

For many people who come to me, clarity means professional orientation and confidence means the courage to believe in one’s goal and take the necessary steps to reach it. The path to clarity and confidence almost always leads to our own monsters: (self-)doubt, fears, shame, hindering habits and belief systems. In my experience, there are two possibilities to deal with these monsters:

  1. To hide from them. If we continue as before, there is no need to change anything. Instead, we wait that something will change without our doing and that our problem will dissolve on its own accord. (Sometimes, this kind of thing actually does happen – though much more rarely than most people wish.) Or else, we get used to this unsatisfactory state and we remain stuck, passively and in resignation.
  2. The other possibility is to approach our monsters, get to know them, tame them. This is the uncomfortable and more challenging option. It confronts us with those parts of ourselves that we would prefer not to see. But it is this kind of looking and exploring which brings about the change that we have been longing for.

What is true for our achievement-oriented society in general, is especially true for academia and research: exceptional achievement and recognition all too often form the basis of our feeling of self-worth. Success is the chosen currency. If we make a mistake; if we feel overstressed, anxious or at a loss; if we do not reach our goals (as fast as planned or as we’re used to), we are on the path to self-doubt and, sometimes, serious crisis.

I say ‘us’ because I have myself spent ten years in academia. I am very familiar with the fixation on success that is so characteristic for this field. As a bachelor student, I spent four years at the University of Cambridge and the Université de Montréal; then I did my master’s degree with a scholarship from the German Academic Scholarship Organisation at the Freie Universität Berlin; and after that, a PhD at the Humboldt Universität Berlin. Up until then, everything had been smooth. No matter what I did, I was successful and one of the best.

After my PhD, there came two years where nothing went smoothly. I was stuck in a proper crisis, completed by a depression. What helped me through this also helps the people I work with as trainer and coach: the joy to try out new things and experiment, the courage to face one’s fears, and compassion – most of all, self-compassion.

Even in my darkest moments, I never stopped believing in the possibility of a fulfilled life – not just for myself, but for everyone.  

Because I experience compassion and self-compassion as key to a fulfilled life, I have made Non Violent Communication a pillar of my work, complementing my professional qualifications as business coach and trainer.

For an overview of my professional experience and educational background, have a look at my career summary.

[PDF Career Summary].

WHAT I UNDERSTAND BY ‘COACHING’

Coaching is about the development, strengthening, or uncovering of mental, emotional, or social capabilities that contribute to an improvement of life quality in a concrete phase of life or a concrete professional situation. 

I consider coaching to be a voluntary, process oriented and fair collaboration between client and coach, during which both parties meet at eye level at all times. The client assigns the coach to support her* to solve a challenging situation. The goal or desired outcome are clearly identified at the beginning of the process. 

The solution competence lies solely within the client, whereas it is the coach’s responsibility and skill to provide a structured, solution oriented and compassionate support. 

As coach, I see my main assignment in supporting my clients to identify those solutions and strengths within themselves that seem most coherent to them and their individual situation. Sometimes, knowledge transfer, training or consulting can be helpful for the process, or are explicitly asked for by the client. In those cases, I see myself responsible for making the change of mode transparent and asking for my client’s consent.

In my view, there are many overlaps between coaching and training. The objective of a training is also the strengthening and development of competencies. As in a coaching, the participation in a training is ideally voluntary and self-initiated, the interaction between participants and trainer is equal and autonomous. Unlike coaching, which I offer in a one-on-one setting, trainings are group processes which means that participants do usually not work on their individual situation in the same depth as it is possible in a one-on-one coaching. But the aspects of self-experience and peer exchange, which naturally take up more space in a training, can often be just as or more effective for the specific objective of the training.

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