Seen from Germany. What is a good coach (career or something else)?

In France, there are 10,000 trainers, according to data from 2023, of all specialties combined. Germany is well ahead, with 14,000 identified coaches in the same year, most of whom work independently in a profession that is not officially recognized. “You should have been promoted a long time ago. You are constantly under stress. Or your partner never listens when you talk to them. There is a trainer for almost every problem. But not everyone is qualified,” notes Die Zeit. The German daily therefore asked the experts how to choose one, how the session should take place and how much to pay.

If you are looking for support on a professional level, it is undoubtedly less risky than if it is a private matter, because the coaches very often do not have psychological training. According to Die Zeit, they make you ask yourself the right questions or examine different scenarios with you in order to solve a specific problem. Be careful, the newspaper specifies, “if you lack the means, for example if you suffer from a mental illness, coaching is not enough”. In no way should it replace therapy, but it can complement it.

Choose well

“He or she must have been trained.” This advice is not so easy to follow. There are more than 30 coach training centers in Germany. But that's not enough, because “some courses only last a weekend and can be taken online.” Katrin Fehlau, who leads a group specializing in improving the quality of coaching within the Professional Association for Training, Consulting and Coaching, says that “good training should last at least two hundred hours and include practical exercises”. For Fredi Lang of the Professional Association of German Psychologists, you have to be very careful about degrees and certifications in psychological matters, but “if it's just about your career, a trainer who has worked in HR for years will be enough”.

In terms of price, many trainers offer a free or discounted first appointment. Then, it costs from 180 to 350 euros per hour. For a professional issue, five to six sessions are generally sufficient. While they can be very helpful, Katrin Fehlau recommends being very careful and cautious with “success gurus.”

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