Top Management / Sparring-Partner

sparring-partner für das Top Management„Lonely at the top“: high ranking managers within a company will confirm the validity of this proverb. At this level, it’s rarely possible to speak openly to colleagues about issues that concern you. As an independent “sparring-partner”, I am someone you can bounce ideas off of: together we can analyze and test your strategies and ideas from different points of view.

On the one hand, this is about topics, which underlie confidentiality, and cannot be discussed openly. On the other side, they cannot be discusses due to competition and rivalry among colleagues. Who can you trust? With whom can you discuss new (and possibly revolutionary) ideas?

Another area is looking at blind spots together. "Even the best-of-the best CEOs have their blind spots and can dramatically improve their performance with an outside perspective weighting in." (Steve Millls, CEO of the Miles Group) *)

Each and every one of us has an area, which we aren’t consciously aware of. Working on this area is only possible with a coach. 

What are typical sparring topics?

  • Strategy Development: Will my strategy survive the next board meeting?
  • Negotiation Strategy: Will the customer see the weak points in the plan?
  • Executive Coaching: how can I get better, faster, and more efficient for the future? 

 Over and above the problems that currently challenge you, I am more than happy to discuss general question about your own management-style, how to handle large responsibilities, and your own values and visions. The clarity resulting from these answers is essential for the step from management to leadership.

How does a sparring-session work?

  • As the sparring partner, I assume the position of your opponent and devil’s advocate, to help you anticipate questions and objections that will arise.
  • You realize whether or not you have missed someone or something in your concept.
  • You realize, whether your strategy can prevail.
  • You realize which (other) arguments and viewpoints your strategy will be confronted with.

In sparring, as opposed to classical coaching, you already have a definite concept and a clear goal in mind. It is about confronting your concept or hypothesis with a realistic test.

Because I stand outside your company environment, and I have held a whole variety of different executive management positions in the past, I can represent a conversation partner on equal footing, give you feedback, and think about your current situation with you.

There are two possible outcomes of this process. Either your initial idea has prevailed. With my help, you can now however anticipate the points of criticism and objections that are likely to be heading your way, and you have had time to develop fitting counterarguments.

The other possibility is that your initial plan could not withstand in our sparring-discussion. Surely, it is preferable that this happens in a safe environment than during a board-meeting or in a presentation for customers. Additionally, new ideas are likely to materialize in our discussion.


*) 2013 Executive Coaching Survey (Graduate School of Standford Business)