In your journey to self-discovery, be adaptable: to times and environmental change. Also, do not give up no matter what, because success is a simple formula consisting of three variables, will x belief x consistency.
Sarah Udoh-Grossfurthner interviews Andreas Fritsch (Austrian) — ‘a father, husband, and proud grandfather. an entrepreneur, leader, coach, trainer, change-maker, healthy-living advocate.’
Sarah: Andreas, first of all, a big thank you for agreeing to share your self-discovery thoughts with my readers and me, and the life wisdom and tips you have gathered in the process of becoming YOU. I can’t wait to hear all you’ve got for us.
Andreas: Sarah, the pleasure is on my side.
Sarah: By the way, can you tell us what the TMA on your business card stands for? It says you are the ‘TMA’ Master trainer.
Andreas: That’s right. TMA stands for “Talent and Motivational Analysis.” As TMA Master Trainer I train and develop coaches, trainers and leaders on how to analyse their teams’ talents as well as their own. That means I enable them to detect strengths, communication patterns, stress patterns, learning styles, organizational and leadership talents, and many more. The goal of working with this kind of mindset is to make leaders and their teams more impactful by making their talents visible and tangible.
Sarah: Awesome! I have already made known the purpose behind my interviews; but before we dive in, let me summarize it here once more. The idea began when I was writing my upcoming book, From Fearful to Fierce — a memoir on how I fought to overcome years of debilitating childhood fears and trauma. Soon after embarking on the project (and based on the responses that were pouring in), I realized there were many out there with stories similar to mine. It was then I asked myself, “How do I use the lessons I have learned in the course of my life journey to provide healing for others who are undergoing ordeals similar to my past pain? Most importantly, how do I combine that with the amazing responses I am receiving to achieve full impact and benefits? And that was how https://www.instagram.com/sug_targeted_interviews/ began. There is a saying that there is more that unites us than separate us. And so my interviews are a podium to share tips and life wisdom on how to discover, understand and accept who we truly are as a person. Because the truth of the matter is that many of us live an entire lifetime without really KNOWING that person — YOU. I believe that we are all treasure troves loaded with gems of inestimable values. However, until we know who we really are we will never be able to fully accord our(selves) the true value it deserves. With that out of the way, let’s begin.
There’s so much I want to ask, beginning with your journey as a master coach and trainer; however, let me start with the ever-necessary first question I pose to all my interviewees. Who are you? Who is the entity, Andreas Fritsch?
Andreas: What a deep question… First of all, I’m a father of my four kids, husband and proud grandfather. The experiences I gained brought me to the professional side straight away where, for more than 30 years now, I’ve been doing my best to bring out talents, intrinsic gifts and specific purpose from people. The role of leadership, of course, began with my eldest daughter — without pay of course (chuckle) — but as a professional coach (of twenty years) I work with people who are paying me for what I did free of charge with my children (smile). Before that, I was CEO of a DAX group, another leadership position. In the many Leadership training that I enjoyed as a participant, I realized how important it was for a manager to understand coaching tools and mindset, and how to create real impact together with others.
Sarah: If I understand correctly, you are saying being a father prepared you for your many roles in leadership?
Sarah: Nice! Let’s turn to your very successful career as a coach and trainer. Did you start wanting to coach and train? If not, how did that begin…what inspired your career path?
Andreas: Basically, it was something that I loved to do right from my childhood, without even realizing it. To be a good coach or trainer you must ask questions, lots of them: and you must pose those questions to all kinds of people, even those not directly connected or related to you. As a kid, I did that. I communicated so much with strangers and asked so many questions to all kinds of people that my parents were sometimes concerned. Later it simply became part of my job because asking questions, as a coach, is a tool and mindset all in one. In my management career, I realized, that it’s only possible to bring out the best in people, to bring them to top performance and to create their better self if you have a specific mindset and ask lots of questions…good questions.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe — the German poet, playwright, novelist, scientist, statesman, theatre director, and critic — once said: “If you treat people like they are, they are become worse, if you treat them like they could be, they will become better!” To be a good coach and trainer you must relate with those you train and treat them like ‘they could be.’ And to be able to do that demands a specific mindset: where asking questions — even seemingly illogical ones sometimes — becomes your second nature. Asking those questions leads to your becoming a great manager and becoming a great manager leads to impact. Because, honestly, this is what you are supposed to do as a manager: make people better and create an impact. Today I am facilitating these processes with thousands of managers all over the world, performing keynotes online and on stage and coaching managers and their teams to become better and more impactful. Fun fact: I asked around 100.850 questions in my coaching so far and used more than 23.500 flipchart pages to make these things visible.
Sarah: What is the most important lesson you have learned as a coach and trainer?
Andreas: The fact that people are capable: even if it doesn’t seem that way from the external point of view. If you as a facilitating person — coach, trainer, mentor, moderator — are able to find the right questions to ask, it will be an absolute game-changer in the perception of self impact for the coachee or the participant in specific training. This is possible even online.
Sarah: No path in life is ever all rosy and without challenges; what is the one thing you wish were different about your career — at least with regard to the particular region from wish you operate, in this case, Austria: or more appropriately Central Europe?
Andreas: So many things happened during my career that would have required lots of room for optimization, mostly from the retrospective. Nevertheless, even then they made sense as well because nothing that happens happens for no reason; often it takes some time and a couple of new experiences to understand the WHY behind every one of those happenings. This is why feedback — even if it comes from you to yourself — is very important. Actively and consciously connecting the dots helps you to understand the reason behind the retrospective WHY. What I am trying to say here is that it makes no sense to focus on what could or shouldn’t have been because even those things that should have been and were not turned out to be great learning tools.
Sarah: Well said, Andreas. I am sure you are a mentor and role model to many aspiring and upcoming coaches and trainers. I don’t recall where I heard (or read) it but there is a belief that in order for a mentor to give the best of himself (or herself), it is necessary that he (or she) is also mentored. Do you agree? If yes, do you have a mentor?
Andreas: Yes I do. Not just one, a few actually. Some of them I would prefer calling “persons of wisdom and strength” that accompany me in specific periods of my life. In popular definition, the mentor is a more mature person with lots of experience giving you feedback and a specific perception out of his or her points of view. But in a broader definition, anyone can play that role. For example, even my youngest son is this kind of a mentor to me. He’s handicapped and has huge physical and mental challenges in his life. Nevertheless, he’s doing everything in his field of competence to fight and change and become better; sometimes going beyond his personal borders and comfort zone. To see this as a grown-up, educated, physically capable person, brings you to a specific level of reflection and appreciation.
And then there are other kinds of mentors — those in specific fields of life. Most people, that have a specific skill, wisdom, philosophy that they want to integrate into their own life. One of those mentors is my CROSSFIT trainer and coach, Willi Chen. Chen is a role model in endurance and willpower. Working with such a mentor and perceiving him that way, opens different levels of perception, new ways of thinking, changes perspectives and can even shift values.
Sarah: Besides his physical strength and endurance abilities, why do you consider Willi Chen your mentor? What is the most important life lesson you have learned from him?
Andreas: I would say because he shows and demonstrates on a daily basis that the physical and mental limits that we perceived as given for years are not existing in the real world. As a mental trainer, I am familiar with the processes of breaking limits and reaching goals that seem too big to be achieved. Watching Chen consistently debunk this (frequently-held) belief inspires me beyond words. To be able to prove and live this yourself is an important part of building credibility if you are supporting the very personal shift of others. About that, I’m convinced, that you can heal physical and mental diseases up to a certain degree with specific physical and mental activities. So, if you ask me for the life lesson this has taught me I would say: never give up; and, keep believing in yourself.
Sarah: Did you intentionally seek to be mentored by Willi Chen? If yes, what prompted you to seek him out?
Andreas: In this specific case yes. But I didn’t seek him for mentoring purposes but for a physical healing process. The doctors found out, that my right knee needed surgery due to increased wear and tear, and that this had even caused damages to the meniscus: the upper surface of the cartilage disk on the knees. I refused immediate surgery and tried to increase muscles and mobility in the knee first. Willi helped me with that with moderate strengthening training. And that was how I came in contact with his philosophies of longevity by physical activities.
Sarah: Still on your career field. When I first met you and asked what you did for a living you said you were a leadership trainer. What would you say makes a great, and impactful leader? While on the topic, mention three most important traits a good leader must possess — in your opinion, of course.
Andreas: It depends very much on the phase of life and career this specific leader is in at the moment. If I had to define it on a more general level, I would say a good leader today is more than a good manager. We call a role model leader today a “VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) Warrior.” This is a person, who is able to fight the challenges of a volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous environment, through the application of his or her personal VUCA tools and mindset — in order to make people and organisations most impactful. To handle this VUCA environment, you need to have the VUCA-2 traits and competencies: vision, understanding, communication and agility. Vision enables you to create a clear, common dream, even within the most unstable environment. Understanding motivates those you lead and shines a light on the talents they can bring to the table. Communication is a key component, without the ability to communicate effectively and efficiently — and in a most professional way — dreams and goals can derail very quickly no matter how great they sounded in the beginning: more so in today’s world with so many working remotely. Agility, or flexibility, as we sometimes refer to it: again, very important under the constantly changing world of today — which has forced many to change their working model and method.
Sarah: What is your personal mission statement as a leader, the one thing that helps keep and sustain your focus?
Andreas: I once said on the first page of our website: “Welcome to a better working environment!” That is exactly what I am here to create as a coach and trainer. And I am doing that by making people’s talents visible, tangible and relevant. This gives leaders and employees, as well as the organisations in which they operate, a clear perspective on how to communicate, build and design the right teams — a team that is impactful and can deal efficiently and effectively with present (and future) challenges — even those not foreseen or anticipated.
Sarah: I sometimes say just as a child is to a parent so is a mission statement to the business that sets it. Meaning, just as a parent who wishes to raise a child they can be proud of lays down strategies to help achieve that goal, so too should a business; after all, nothing is worst than actions that do not align with set goals. In that regard, what are the strategies you have set to ensure your continued success as an impactful leadership trainer and coach?
Andreas: Simple: Everything we do now aligns along the VUCA Warrior principles.
Sarah: I know that you are already great at what you do and probably have no intention of doing something else; but if you had to pick another career route at this point in your life what would that be?
Andreas: To be honest, I am about to change the path to my goal right now. What I realized in the last 20 years of coaching and training is the pure numerical limit of impact. I have more than 20.000 participants in my training, true, and these pieces of training are intense, personal, small group-oriented. But in order to have a bigger impact, I have decided I need to reach more people than that. With that understanding, I’ve started to work in a different setting and bring all my knowledge and methodologies into online keynotes today. By that, I am inspiring people to become VUCA-Warriors and to learn more about the needed tool- and mindset to work better and more impactfully with others. I have already reached thousands of participants within the past couple of months and I have done so mainly on stage — from the professional online studio that we created for exactly that purpose. We have seen this method birth an increasingly large number of audiences, inspire and enable people all over the world to create a better working environment. What have I learned from this? It is that the fascinating thing is to completely reinvent yourself yet stay in your field of competence and credibility. We could consider that to be a new career route: a strategy to continually stay relevant — as you put it in your preceding question. In the past 20 years, I facilitated training and coaching in seminar hotels all over the world for 20 years. Today I am standing in our greenscreen studio with eight cameras and a bunch of technology around me and reaching ten times more people with my message: to me, this is VUCA-Warrior-focus at its best. I love it!
Sarah: It sure sounds like you do (smile). Still on the same line of thought, if you could re-invent other areas of your life, which would you give a makeover right now– your leisure, family, or private life? Whichever you pick, tell us why, please.
Andreas: Talking about life balance I am about reinventing a couple of areas again. But this is a lifelong process, not a short-term one. In the year 2002, for example, I had so much stress and pressure and so I reduced my physical activities, engaged in bad nutrition habits and gained more than 20 kg of weight within a couple of years. I was in a bad shape, mentally and physically. When I realized the consequences of my derailment in 2005 I changed my nutrition concept dramatically, started martial arts and meditation again and lost 24 kg. I have kept this ideal weight to date by understanding its necessity, and I must say that I am having fun constantly working on it. Basically, the change in lifestyle is a constant one. And so I am always questioning myself in an appreciative and respectful way about the key to a happy and fulfilled life. And I do this by keeping these different plates on constant check at the back of my mind — job, family, body and mind, and “just for me”- and giving them the dedicated amount of energy and time needed in order to keep turning and in balance.
Sarah: Much as I hate to say it, Andreas, our time together has come to an end, unfortunately. However, one final question before we wrap, please. If you could give one piece of advice to someone struggling to find his or her footing in the training and coaching profession what would it be?
Andreas: Become visible and keep doing your things. Visibility in our days is key. Also, don’t give up. Success is a simple formula consisting of three variables: will x belief x consistency. If one of them equals zero, the whole equation becomes zero. The best ideas never become big if they are not visible. Generations Y and Z have the best opportunities to do so because they are digital natives. If you are, use these skills. If you aren’t, find people that can help you.
Sarah: And with that, we have a wrap! Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts with my readers and me, Andreas. It‘s been very inspiring listening to you.
Andreas: Thanks, Sarah. It was a pleasure sharing these insights with you and your readers.
For more on Andreas Fritsch, visit: www.fritschconsultinggroup.com/news