What is Coaching?

Coaching is designed to help facilitate professional and personal development to the point of individual growth, improved performance, and contentment.

Here is a great video that will help answer that question.

As a coach, I will ask powerful questions, make observations, challenge and champion you in ways that help you stay on track to get the results you want. Through inquiry and reflection, you will tap into your own abilities, staying true to what you really want in life as you overcome barriers and conquer challenges. The most important work happens between coaching sessions when you work on “thought experiments” (written) that result out of the coaching, or “field experiments” (actions to try in the real world that result in experiential learning and development of new approaches to situations).


Coaching models / Coaching techniques I use:

Co-active coaching

You can find more information on that model here: https://coactive.com/about/what-is-coactive/
If you want to know more about how this coaching model works, I recommend reading this article about Neuroscience and the Co-Active Coaching Model:  https://coactive.com/blog/does-coaching-work-lets-look-at-the-neuroscience/


Systemic Coaching

Systemic coaching follows the following principles:


  • A system is more than the sum of its parts.
    Social systems develop their own cultures. Behavior in systems can therefore only be explained systemically.
  • A problem is a symptom.
    But if we just look at the problem itself, we often try to “fight” the fire but not extinguish the source of the fire.
  • Solution focus.
    Looking at the problem is often the problem. In coaching, the question is not: “What exactly is the cause of the problem?” But the question is: “What exactly must happen so that the problem no longer occurs?”
  • Focus on perceptions, not on truths.
    It is (except for clearly verifiable facts) not about what is supposedly true, but about the different perceptions of people.
  • Increase choices.
    People do not perceive the way out in problematic situations and keep running against the wall – often only ten centimeters from the open door. A change of perspective helps here. Solutions lurk everywhere!
  • Sailing instead of rowing.
    Use the dynamics of the system, do not work against it. Coaching develops ways in which people can change themselves in order to reach their goals within the existing system.
  • Acting dynamically.
    Navigation in learning systems, including coaching, is a dynamic process that requires great attention and constant review of paths and goals.


The goal of systemic coaching is not to arrive at “right” solutions. Whether a found solution is “right” cannot be foreseen in advance. Rather, systemic coaching aims to develop useful solutions for the coachee. In principle, anything can be useful that actually increases the room to think and act and leads to more sustainable ways of thinking and acting in relation to the coaching goal. Solutions can only be sustainable if they begin at the existing potential of the coachee.

Here is a video about (one of many views of) systemic coaching:


Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT, typically pronounced as the word “act”) is a form of counseling and a branch of clinical behavior analysis. It is an empirically-based psychological intervention that uses acceptance and mindfulness strategies mixed in different ways with commitment and behavior-change strategies, to increase psychological flexibility.

The objective of ACT is not the elimination of difficult feelings; rather, it is to be present with what life brings us and to move toward behavior that is helpful to reach the client’s goals. Acceptance and commitment therapy invites people to open up to unpleasant feelings (instead of focusing on them, which usually makes it more difficult to “let go”), learn not to overreact to them, and not avoid situations where they are invoked. Its effect is a positive spiral where feeling better leads to a better understanding of the truth. In ACT, ‘truth’ is measured through the concept of ‘workability’, or what works to take another step toward what matters (e.g. values, meaning).


Hypno-Systemic Coaching

Hypno-systemic coaching is a holistic, solution-oriented model that integrates methods of fast hypnotherapy into systemic coaching approaches.

The basic idea is that both approaches are based on the almost same understanding of how change happens in the client.

In the hypno-systemic approach, the client is seen as the center of his private, professional and social connections. This means that systemic change work is a holistic work that involves the entire system in which the client lives.

Problems are, so the assumption, generated auto-hypnotic by narrowing the perception. The focus is problem-oriented (problem trance). The hypno-systemic coach accompanies and supports the client for a goal or solution orientation by first recognizing and appreciating the problem or alleged negative disturbances and disturbing feelings. This creates a new willingness for the client to focus on their own resources and use them contextually for themselves.

In hypnosystemic coaching I use naturally occurring trance processes to help you achieve your goals.



My background as a coach

Coaching Education & Accreditation

I have received education from four different organizations and have several accreditations.  If you want to know more, please click on the links below:

Education & Accreditation as a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach® (CPCC) with CTI: https://coactive.com/training/professional-coach-certification/

Education & Accreditation as a Business Coach with Comteam: https://comteamgroup.com/de/

Education as a systemic consultant / coach with ISB: http://www.systemische-professionalitaet.de/

Education in hypno-systemic consulting with Milton Erickson Institute: https://www.meihei.de/

Accreditation with ICF: https://apps.coachfederation.org/eweb/ccfdynamicpage.aspx?webcode=ccfcoachprofileview&coachcstkey=4e06f6d0-22c5-4413-84d1-422036565600&site=icfapp

Academic background

I have a MSc in psychology (Diplom-Psychologin) from the Technical University of Darmstadt with a minor in leadership, marketing and entrepreneurship.


I have deep knowledge in leadership development from my research for my PhD in organizational psychology.


I also have a university certificate in intercultural communication with the Friedrich Schiller University.



Work experience

I have worked with Accenture https://www.accenture.com,

Porsche Consulting https://www.porsche-consulting.com  &

Deloitte https://www2.deloitte.com

…as a Coach and Change Management and Leadership Consultant.


Apart from that, I founded two companies myself in Spain and Germany. (One of them is Bakun: https://bakun.es/ , the other one Ena-Mar GmbH.)

As I have always had a keen interest in why and how humans function (better), neuroscience, and the brain-body connection, I also started a scientific blog on nutrition and biohacking in 2015: www.ketoseportal.de

If you want to know more about my background, you can find my CV on LinkedIn:



The coaching process


We define core goals as well as starting points.
You define what you want to work on and what you want to achieve.
We also explore your motivational needs to make sure the coaching is aligned with what is driving you.

Coaching Course

I may use inquiry, reflection, changing the focus of attention, requests, and discussion to help you identify personal and/or business goals, and develop action plans intended to achieve those goals.
You as the client take action, and I as a coach may assist, but I never lead the effort.
Side note: Professional coaching is not counseling, therapy, or consulting.
If you are not sure if coaching is right for you  – or if you should rather opt for training or mentoring or therapy – this flow chart might help you.


My roles in coaching

As a coach my job encompasses several roles:

Process guide: As a clarification assistant I accompany the internal clarification process (of the system). Here I help my clients with the methodical control of awareness, learning, and development processes. I offer my clients a “helping hand” to develop their own knowledge and problem solutions by themselves.

Teaching/instructions: here I act as an expert for technical or methodological procedural or behavioral issues of the client in his professional role. For example, it can be very helpful for clients to understand how stress, fear, or anger work or what the basis of motivation or needs is, to lead themselves and others better. For specific coaching goals, I can also provide clients with insights on concepts and methods from leadership, lean, agile, culture change, HR, intercultural communication, entrepreneurship, or change management. For me, it is important that you as the client are the one who decides if and how to use the information.

roles as a coach

Advisor:  As a practiced and well-versed professional, it is my job to provide the client with orientation from the experiences that I and others have made in similar situations. With my field and functional competence, I help my clients outline possible courses of action and solution approaches, while always taking into consideration the realistic risk-reward ratio. In my role as a coach-advisor, it is important to me that my client has total self-responsibility regarding his own actions. My consultation is invariably only a proposal to the client: I urge you, as my client, to critically examine my proposals, and to derive the utmost benefit you can, while discarding the superfluous.

Confrontation / Feedback: As an agent provocateur I support the learning and development process of the client by acting as a compassionate feedback provider, that supplies both praise and critical questioning. This approach enables you, the client, to understand yourself and your beliefs more comprehensively.

Evaluation / Meta-position: My task is to build a constructive relationship characterized by empathy and trust, where the client can gain insight into new perspectives and paths. During our conversations, I take on a meta-perspective and will also meta communicate about the conversation to make sure that the coaching is supporting you and your goals.

Confidentiality & Ethics

I remain strict confidentiality about the contents of the coaching. You can find more about my ethics and confidentiality code of conduct here:



Evidence-Based Coaching

Evidence-based coaching entails making decisions about how to coach by integrating the evidence with my expertise and other resources, and with the characteristics, state, needs, values, and preferences of my clients. Evidence in coaching is research findings derived from the systematic collection of data through observation and experiment and the formulation of questions and testing of hypotheses.

According to the available experimental comparative studies, significant effects can be achieved through coaching. In individual examinations with reliable questionnaires and rating scales, results were found for objective behavioral and performance measures. Even though some researches state that only those characteristics and criteria can be counted as “certain knowledge” that has been confirmed by several investigations, namely the success factors are involved (1) appreciation and support of the client by the coach and (2) goal clarification in the coaching process.

The clients were in general able to (1) degree of goal achievement was increased (2) satisfaction of the client and (3) affect were improved. (Greif 2008)

On the other side general statements about the “effectiveness of coaching” are not very credible. The coaching method, the goal/competence the client wants to work on, and degree of difficulty has to be differentiated. I choose the coaching method based on a variety of factors:

  • Level of trust I have with the client
  • Client’s personality
  • Available positive resources
  • How clients perceive the nature and difficulty of the problem
  • Client’s goal
  • Brain level that would be helpful to work at for the client to achieve that goal
brain-levels coaching

Source: Four-level model of personality, see “Coaching, Beratung und Gehirn” – Roth & Ryba, 2017


Based on these factors I use elements from systemic coaching, leadership theories, cognitive behavioral therapy, Hypno-systemic coaching, acceptance, and commitment therapy, co-active coaching, change management, neuroscience, psychology, Lean Kaizen, intercultural communication, etc. While I do use a variety of methods, I consider the coaching alliance and my mindset as the most important “tools” (especially as scientifically this has been shown to be the most important factor in the success of coaching).



Success measurement

Studies on the effectiveness of the coaching techniques I use:

Overivew of studies: Effectiveness of coaching techniques

Organizational Impact of Co-Active Coaching

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy 

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in the Workplace


Depending on how we work together, these are possible ways we can measure the success of the coaching:



Source: Paul E. Terry, PhD


My Coaching Philosophy


The basis of my philosophy is the Hypno-systemic charter (Gunther Schmidt) and the co-active model (Co-Active).



The dance between the “Co” and “Active”. The “Co” in Co-Active stands for a relationship, connection, intimacy, and collaboration (curiosity, deep listening, hearing of nuances, holding space for clients, intuition, and nurturing).

The “Active” in Co-Active indicates power, direction, action, and manifestation. (courageousness, clarity, conviction, taking charge, action plans to achieve goals)



The Hypno-systemic charter combines the findings of modern brain research and hypnotherapy with the concepts of systemic therapy and counseling. In doing so, I look at the human being as a self-organizing autonomous whole whose body, consciousness, and subconscious influence each other.

Working with you in a Hypno-systemic way means for me:

  • I consider you as an expert for your concerns
  • Your resources will be involved in achieving your goals
  • We focus on solutions and work resource-oriented
  • we create new perspectives that expand your options for action, e.g. with side models
  • We use signals of all three systems available to us (body, psyche, and social environment) for interventions, information, and feedback for coaching
  • I presume you have good reasons for what you do
  • I work with you as an equal (in Germany, we call that on eye and heart level)
  • We use continuous feedback loops
  • I am transparent about my own reality constructions, hypotheses, and therapeutic interventions
  • I use an appreciative, exploratory attitude



My mission as a coach

I want to help my clients achieve their goals while making myself superfluous (because my clients learn more self-awareness, self-organization, and self-efficacy in the process).


How my values influence my coaching

Learning is an important value for me. I always try to improve and learn as a human and as a coach. I usually spend 100 hours and more per year on personal development and further education.
I also started to train other coaches – partly because I enjoy training. Partly because training other coaches helps me become an even better coach myself in the process.
Connecting with people, creativity, adventure, and fun are some of my other values (There is neuroscientific proof that having fun is good for your learning process, so I hope you can bear with me here even if you don’t like fun.)

Verena Coaching fun

Human brains are 68% more active when we are having fun. Brain activity improves information absorption by 84%.


What led me to coaching – my career story

I remember reading the four-temperament theory in school and the fascination with how and why humans are the way they have never left me. At that time, I also led the school newspaper. I really wanted to ask all the teachers about happiness and write about it. In the end, I did not dare to do that. My research on happiness stayed with me for many years though and even though I now know that fulfillment can trump happiness, I find that both are worthwhile goals.

These topics and my general interest in how humans work might have led me to study psychology. During my first year at university, I temped as a secretary in the technical sales department of a multinational organization for three team leaders. One of them told me about problems with his team one afternoon when we were alone in his office. I was very flattered that he asked me for advice even though I had no clue at that time what to respond. The incident motivated me to not only be able to understand humans in general but have applicable knowledge for situations like this.

I have a diploma in psychology (MSc) now. During my studies, I founded a company for coaching, consulting, and training in Spain (Bakun) in 2003. I designed and implemented training and consulted in change management in Spanish and German. During that time I coached leaders and professionals on career transitions, often with psychometrics (intelligence tests, personality tests, and career aptitude tests). I gained some experience in leading others and found out some of my strengths and weaknesses as a leader (and in the meantime, I got to learn so many things myself and I know how difficult leading can be… making sure people feel appreciated… delegating the right things and trusting people to do it right in their own way….and so much more).
I also went to university another year to get a certificate in intercultural communication (which comes in handy now when I work with people in international environments or with clients who come from other cultures than the one they work in).

In 2007 I started working with Accenture as I wanted more complex and international projects. I worked mostly in change management as well as leadership and organizational development. Some were complex international projects with large teams and thousands of rows in the project planning excel, some were small ones. I learned to work with methodologies and virtually with colleagues from all over the world. Accenture supported my development by many classrooms and blended learning training in tools, frameworks, and methodologies for these topics. Project languages were English, Spanish, and German. During my time at Accenture, I also started working on my Ph.D. in organizational psychology. I created a maturity model for leadership development. Once I learned what I wanted to learn I lost interest though (I am what the literature calls a Polymath, Scanner, or Renaissance Soul who often lose interest once they learned enough) and it took a while to accept and learn from what I considered defeat at the time.

With Porsche Consulting I worked in change management and leadership development for lean and agile in 2012 and 2013. Part of the work at Porsche was extensive training in lean management, lean methods, and lean organizational development. I was part of a coaching program and designed training for coaches to coach lean leaders and facilitated workshops for leaders as well as leadership teams. I also created methods for team assessments and team coaching and developed a business coaching and change management methodology. What I appreciated a lot about working with Porsche Consulting was the direct customer contact and lighthouse project style. Project languages were English and German. During that time, I trained as a Business Coach with ComTeam where I am also certified.


In 2014 and 2015 I worked as a manager for Deloitte. I led various projects and teams in learning and change management in English and German. I also adapted international Leadership Development for Germany, supervised research on ethical leadership, and co-created a business plan for the leadership development practice. What I appreciated a lot was an internal change management project where I got to work together with Deloitte’s top leadership from Germany and the US.

2014 and 2015 I did my training and certification with Co-Active Coaching in German and English. I am a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC). Since 2015 I volunteer as a coach for Ashoka and The HCN on a variety of topics. 2015 and 2016 I did training in systemic coaching and consulting with the ISB network. 2019 to 2020 I trained in Hypno-systemic consulting at Milton Erickson Institute Heidelberg.
Every year I make sure to learn new things, and even Corona did not stop me!

Verena Coaching education

At a training for Agile Leadership with Gunther Schmidt in Heidelberg, 2020

Around 2015, I started working independently as a coach. I feel like I am doing what I am best at – helping humans develop. (Well, at least my MBTI test says that this is what I am best at.)
I really appreciate my background in consulting. With my understanding of business, I can ask the right questions to help the client find solutions that might have to do with the organizational culture, processes, roles, etc…  The same thing happens with my experience in leadership, change management, or any other field I worked in or studied. If it could be helpful to the client in that specific situation, I will offer the information, tool, or experience in the coaching process (while always making sure that the client knows that he is the one who makes the decisions and has the responsibility for the outcome.)




Things you don’t know about me

  • I traveled to more than 50 countries. Since 2007, I spend more time each year on the road than at my home base. I lived in Vietnam, China, Uruguay, Thailand, Korea, and Colombia and worked on projects in Germany, Hungary, England, the USA, Spain, and Switzerland.
  •  I started a paragliding course because I read in a magazine that this is something that makes people happy. After having spent some minutes on an ordinary swing one evening after the course, I found out that this actually made me happier than paragliding. I figured everyone has his own path to happiness and left the paragliding course.
  •  I love factories and seeing how things are made! I have been to the Boeing factory in Seattle, Toyota factory in Nagoya, Porsche factory in Stuttgart, Celestial Tea factory in Denver,… I had the honor to work in the holy halls of Volkswagen Research and Development… and worked in manufacturing myself for several years during my vacation as a teenager.
  • I work as a Pro Bono Coach for leaders in Non-Profit Organizations.