Interview with Brigitta Wurnig
Brigitta's premium coaching
is tailored to executives at the helm of leading organizations. Her new leadership program "Love-Lead-Grow" was launched in 2019 and combines the essence of analytical leadership perspective with emotional agility. It's designed for leaders in a digital and agile world and starts with the focus on your inner self.
Brigitta, how did you decide to start BW Coaching? What previous experience made this possible?
I started BW coaching in 2006 and prior to that it was my life journey to get there. I studied to become a lawyer and I found out that law has a lot to do with paragraphs and being in court, and not so much about working with people. After my law studies, I went into the industry and learned a lot about project management, tight deadlines and organising people. At the end of the 1990s, I moved down to Bavaria from Hamburg and I thought this is a great change for my life, so I should also change my profession and do what I really want to do. I always wanted to work with people so I started my training in a psychological area. I started working as a coach at the end of the 90s. Then, by coincidence, I joined McKinsey here in Germany, and for six years I established coaching for consultants at McKinsey and we had a great time. I learned a lot about consultancy but I also learned a lot about structured communication, about how to convey the messages from coaching to the business world. After six years with McKinsey, I decided in 2006, to start my own company and to start my own business and that's where I am and coaching is my passion. What I did at the end of the day was, I made my passion my profession and I am still passionate about it.
In your experience with such high-ranking leaders, what is the most common mistake you see made, and how do you address it?
The most common mistake made by high-ranking leaders, I have seen, is losing their inner focus, especially in stressful situations. In these situations, they tend to react and only react instinctively and act on impulse rather than thinking it through. They act based on their experience. Losing their inner focus leads to situations where they feel miserable as leaders, where they take long decisions, and where they decide to take actions that are meaningless or are too much or too early or not going in any direction. We work on first of all, finding inner focus which means finding your personal purpose, your meaning and also determining your values and making it clear what's important for you in your life and as a leader. The second step is to find techniques, that are individual techniques, that allow you to keep calm in certain situations and that allow you to use the space between impulse and action. In this space, if you are in a calm state you can make better decisions and better actions. One way to do this is to find ways of meditation that you can include in your business life. This doesn't mean you have to meditate for an hour it could be some breathing techniques that calm down your thoughts and then act and not react.
We can all learn from the people at the top. What traits have you found to make the most successful leaders?
Which traits make a successful leader? My answer is having enough focus, giving your life and your business purpose, acting with clarity and honesty, having emotional agility and also being emotionally intelligent. This is a long list of traits and therefore, I believe that successful leaders understand that they have to work on these traits continuously. It's a lifetime journey as a leader. It's not as if going to a training session, a seminar or coaching is going to solve it. The world and the influences you are perceiving, force you to review and challenge your own status every day. This is the most important trait of a successful leader, that he or she is aware and understands that personal growth as a leader is a lifetime journey. That is a challenge and fun at the same time.
What inspired you and your co-authors to write "Auf dem Weg - Erfahrungen mit Digital Leadership"?
What inspired me and my co authors to write the book On our way: Experiences with digital leadership? In 2017, digital leadership was the buzzword in Germany and we wanted to write a book about it because we had experiences and we had something to say about how to lead in digital transformation. We put together a team of eight experts from large companies, consultant companies, and also from coaching companies. None of us was a digital native and we chose the book sprint method because we wanted to write the book in an agile way and not in the traditional way sitting down for a year. We came together for three days and within three days we wrote this book and we had a great team experience. We derived five success factors for agile teams, which we still use in our coaching and with teams. The five success factors are who is in the team, trust the team, trust the process, let go and share, and concentrate on the most important. You will find input and experiences about this in our book and also on our website. I must say and all the authors also agree, that writing a book with book sprint is the best way to experience agility.
What's next for you and BW Coaching?
My answer is I'm on a mission. I want to bring the framework 'Love-Lead-Grow' into the business world because I truly believe that leaders and companies have to understand, that success is not determined anymore only by power and money. This is because success needs the third area and that third area is described with 'Love-Lead-Grow'. You need to understand as a leader, that integrating emotional agility, emotional intelligence, and integrating the ability to grow yourself, your people, and your customers, and to lead your life and to lead a team, one that can work in a safe environment, and also to lead change, is more important than power and budget. My mission is to bring 'Love-Lead-Grow' into the business world, into leadership programs, and into the minds of leaders. How am I going to do this? First of all, I'm going to spread the word via interviews, speaking opportunities, writing and also integrating it into leadership programs that I'm going to conduct. It's the basis now for all my coaching. I'm on my mission, 'Love-Lead-Grow' will conquer the business world. I really believe this.