In the context of implementing topics related to Enterneering® in their operations, many companies sooner or later encounter the need for suitable external support or simply additional qualified resources for implementation. For most of the issues directly related to Enterneering®, the three forms of consulting, coaching, and sparring are available. Each of these three options has its right to exist and a certain value. Entrepreneurs deciding on them should know the most essential features and characteristics and determine their specific needs for each. In the following explanations, we focus on the most essential distinguishing features without making any assessment. Since every situation has its own conditions and circumstances, every entrepreneur must decide for himself which option to use for a given purpose.
Consulting, coaching, sparring - what should it be?
Those who seek professional support for their work at C-suite should first of all know and be able to distinguish between the possible forms of suitable services or profiles. Among these, two prevalent forms are consulting and coaching. Both are common and widespread. A third, somewhat less common form, is sparring.
In most cases, consulting mandates have a distinct project character. They have a fixed start and end date and a clearly described content-related task as the object of performance. As a rule, a consultant considers his customers (clients) and his projects as distinct entities, focusing on delivering substantive performance of services to address a concrete problem or a defined task. Consulting engagements involve money in exchange for project outcomes or solutions. For this solution, the consultant must have certain qualifications and available resources. They usually do not have to establish exceptionally deep personal relationships with their clients. Many larger consultancies work with pre-structured and proven solution patterns, methods, or systems. This can sometimes limit them in finding solutions. Consultancy projects are well suited for thematically delimited and content-defined tasks with an expected result.
Coaching is dominated by the approach of supporting the client (coachee) in his personal development. It is about helping him to better understand himself and his respective situation, enabling him to learn and change. Coaches are experts in interactive situation analysis and management, necessitating a more profound and personal relationship with their clients compared to counsellors. Good coaches focus on communication, interaction, and inspiration. They question, provide food for thought, and help with self-reflection and a change of perspective. In contrast to counselling, coaching takes place within an agreed period but without a concrete project outcome. The coach makes his time and personal skills available in exchange for his fee. Since the coachee himself is the object of the service, it is usually difficult to agree on rigid development goals for it. In Enterneering®, coaching is well suited as a navigation and moderation aid in the Enterneering® process or to accompany the development of maturity levels of individuals or small groups of people.
Sparring, a common term in sports, is essentially about preparing a partner for his or her competition and completing practical training that closely simulates real-life scenarios, all without causing serious injuries. Effective sparring therefore always takes place between sparring partners at eye level. Unlike in consulting, and to some extent in coaching, the sparring partners do not face each other in a traditional client-contractor relationship, but share common experiences, skills, and assertiveness. Entrepreneurs who opt for sparring consciously look for a personal training partner who actively questions or also challenges, and who introduces and criticises their own approaches to solutions. The sparring partner alternates between the roles of advisor, coach, and challenger. He can do this because he himself has gathered many years of relevant experience, having worked in positions of responsibility and encountered similar situations. Sparring partners need to establish a special personal relationship with each other. Sparring is well suited for accompanying complex transformation or development measures and is therefore well suited for use in the Enterneering® process.
Knowing the characteristics and differences between consulting, coaching, and sparring makes it easier to decide which form is most suitable. If the decision is made in favour of sparring, there is still the question of the necessary preparation and the choice of a suitable sparring partner.
The choice of a suitable sparring partner hinges on defining the training goal and specifying which individual needs to be prepared for what 'field of sparring'. The answer to this question determines the complexity, degree of responsibility, decision-making power, and possible discipline or focus of content. This question is so important because there is no sparring partner who has experienced every branch, every form of challenge, and this in all situations in life. Since sparring should nevertheless be as close to reality as possible, a narrowing down is strongly recommended. If a CFO is looking for a sparring partner in the upcoming consolidation of several new business units following a company takeover, a highly experienced sparring partner in hospital development may be less relevant. If the goal is to find a sparring partner for the CEO or the management in to implement Enterneering®, the sparring partner should have firsthand experience in these roles, having faced similar challenges in terms of culture, people, and organisation. Another element of preparation is building awareness of one's own situation and understanding the possible course of sparring. In the context of Enterneering®, the corresponding steps for implementation (radar and maturity level) serve to create awareness about the current situation.
In principle, there is no template for the sparring process. Each sparring mandate is unique, and tailored to its client and the respective company situation. The following contents are frequently encountered:
- Problem description, challenge, obstacles, goal setting
- Current status, implementation progress, existing ideas and experiences for the solution, discarded ideas or plans, failed concepts
- Currently available skills and resources, personnel measures already initiated, external partners
- Self-reflection and personal development
- Current maturity of the organisation and people in key roles
- Joint brainstorming for ideas and approaches, review of already discarded possible solutions, stress testing for planned or initiated measures
- Joint simulation of complex processes and events, troubleshooting, cause-effect relationships, goal conformity
- Joint profiling and simulation for the detection of behavioural phenomena, group dynamics
- Joint monitoring of ongoing measures, scrutinising progress, identifying problems, deriving corrective measures
- Measuring success and transformation experiences, integration, and closure
- Change curve, stakeholder involvement, toxic elements
With the knowledge and understanding from the two paragraphs 'Preparation' and 'Procedure', a sufficient requirement profile for a suitable sparring partner can be derived. We have made it our mission to make it easier for our users to find a suitable coach/sparring partner in Enterneering®. Our network of experts includes highly qualified and experienced experts who provide their expertise in the implementation of Enterneering® in the various development phases with personal passion and according to the principle of support for self-empowerment. All our experts fulfil our dedicated profile requirements and are committed to our Enterneering® Code of Conduct.