March 8th was International Women’s Day, so I think we can call March Women’s Month. And, what do we want? Same work opportunities! And when do we want it? NOW!
So, we talked to Dr. Alexandra Geusau, one of the biggest names in Austria, when it comes to executive coaching. Borealis, OMV, Deutsche Bank, Semperit, Siemens are among her clients. Dr. Geusau works particularly with executives in leading positions, who feel the need to give a kick in their careers, improving their personal performance.
We had a nice lunch in the wonderful Palmenhaus, in Vienna, and I hope this interview will inspire you to think about your professional life, your attitude to work, your relationship with your colleagues, etc. And I wish you big success in life!
1-Please describe to us, in a few words, what happens in a coaching session? As you never get a second chance to make a first impression, the coach initially analyses the clients overall appearance before going on to look at their body language and speech patterns. He then discusses the main points with the client, highlighting some changes that would need to be implemented. At this point the coach uses different tools such as rule-games, systemic questions or coaching-mandala. The meeting closes with some homework the client has to do until the next appointment.
2- What are the signs to look out for to see if someone would be in need of a coaching session? First of all, to receive any form of coaching is a privilege which we would all need in one form or another. If there are obvious deficits in their patterns of communication or a recurrence of problems that the client is aware of, then coaching is a very effective way of developing people.
3- What are the most common challenges that an executive encounters in his/her career? The pressure of always having to give ones all, striking a good work-life balance and, the most common of all, leadership skills.
4- Do you think the time in which we are living now (fast changes in technology, internet, social media, globalization) is better for young people who are aiming to grow in big companies hierarchy? Yes, I believe so. Whereas in the past, values such as reliability and faithfulness were of upmost importance, nowadays, values such as flexibility and customization are in great demand. Fortunately, young people are keen on exactly these qualifications. Moreover, thanks to new media, they are extremely well connected which makes networking much easier. And networking is the key to success nowadays!
5- What are the main reasons for coaching being so “trendy” right now? Coaching is so “trendy” now, because people are beginning to realize how effective it can be. After just a few coaching sessions, it is possible to view thing in a completely different, less complex manner. This helps people to adapt to a fast-changing environment more effectively. Elder clients tend to appreciate the help of a coach to aid development in certain specific fields, whereas younger clients often receive a huge confidence boost.
6- What is more important, to have an above the line emotional intelligence and a normal IQ, or the contrary? My belief is that the optimum would be an above-the-line emotional intelligence in combination with an extraordinary intelligent quotient. However, if I had to chose, I would say that the emotional intelligence side is crucially important. Hard skills, such as management can be learned and are trained at schools and universities. Such skills are changeable throughout ones working life. Emotional skills such as communication-behavior and empathy, on the other hand, are often not taught.
Bobby Dekeyser, owner of DEDON, once said, “It´s ALWAYS about friendship, but nobody understands that. They all think it´s about business.”
7- Are you pro or contra the female quota? Why? I am against it. There is no doubt the women should have the opportunity of reaching high positions, but the problem needs to be solved at ground level. A wider range of affordable childcare options and an increase social acceptance of maternity leave would pave the way for women to achieve more. In my opinion, a working position should always be given to the best applicant, regardless of whether it´s a man or a woman.
8- Do you believe that times of crises are also times for great opportunities? For sure! In a time of crises, one has to leave their normal path and think about possible alternatives and different solutions. This increases ones creativity…and handling situations with creativity is the best way to deal with life.
9- Do you have a good tip for our readers about what’s the right attitude at work? Always be yourself. However, in order to do so, you need to find out exactly who you are and who you want to be. To close the gap between reality and the ideal a good coach is helpful.
If you love yourself and you appreciate others you will always have the right attitude in both you private and work life.
Cool, right? To know more about it, have a look at Dr Alexandra Geusau website!
Selma von Schönburg
Title-photo ©Karin Hofbauer