#100K: Sabine Stadel-Strauch


“Think back in your life to those people who have influenced you most: it could be a boss, a colleague, a family member. Now think of the behaviours that these people displayed and consider the degree to which they role modelled actions and values which are now important to you at work and in life generally.” By thinking about what it takes how to become a good role model, I thought about the role models in my life. And I knew it was time to get in touch with my most important one: 

Sabine Stadel-Strauch, my ex-boss, partner, colleague and today a wonderful friend (whom I met through Ketchum, an agency celebrating its 100th anniversary).

Sabine, you always look at things positively. But three years of the pandemic… this was a challenge for all of us. Looking back into this difficult times, what do you remember and what are your learnings?

Easy to answer: Because the way we are talking right now ... that's what I´ve learned to do during the pandemic. I “walk and talk”. I didn't do this before corona. Today I´ll grab my phone, go out for a walk and call a good friend.

One of the difficulties while the pandemic was to keep in touch with friends - without visits and meetings. With my “walks on the phone”, I was able to stay in touch with many friends. And I continue to do so – it´s fun and healthy too as I cover many miles while one phone conversation.

Another learning: Corona proved me wrong. At the beginning of the pandemic, I strictly refused to do coaching via computer – coaching online. Too much distance, too much technology, too anonymous. I thought. And then I experienced: it does work. I bought the appropriate lamps, set up a good place for myself, and hey: online coaching works wonderfully. So two experiences and learnings through the pandemic – “Walk and Talk” and “Online works” which I took along into the “new normal” and for which I am almost grateful.

But then there are also experiences that are not so nice. For example, I lost a very good friend because of Corona - not because of the disease. Because of conspiracy theories. It was simply no longer possible to talk to her. Our friendship broke apart. Since then there has been silence. Makes me sad, but there's nothing I can do about it. With another friend I am still in contact - who also suddenly had very radical views. We still talk, but there is a crack. This friendship is different than before. As I said, these are experiences I could live without.

Today you work as a business coach and pass on your knowledge about leadership skills, motivation and mentoring. What role does “creativity” play in this context and how do you come up with new ideas?

Well, actually the job of a coach is not to be creative. Not to have own ideas. It's much more important to keep still, to listen, and to help the other person come up with ideas themselves. And when you've been in the business for a while like I am and when you´ve heard so many challenges - and seen so many solutions before - this is the most difficult part. It´s not about quickly firing out own opinions. It's not about me proving how easy the solution to this problem is. It's about enabling the other person to come to an insight and a solution themselves – an idea that suits him/her and is owned by them.

My form of "creativity" is therefore to be focused, to be fully attuned to the other person, and to create a relaxed environment so that the other person can progress. Coaching is not the power to develop one's own ideas. It is the art of helping to sort things out – asking the right questions. And thus helping the other person to see light and to find out of the tunnel.

And here is my last question for today: We live in challenging times. And each of us is called upon to care. What is your contribution making the world a little bit better?

My daughter - with husband, mother-in-law and grandchild - just visited us for ten days. So I had ten days of grandma duty. And it made me realise how important it is to support and empower the next generation. Yes, the world is becoming more and more complicated and difficult. Therefore it is important that we demonstrate confidence in the future. And help this young generation to step into this world strong, resilient and optimistic. We need to strengthen the very young in particular. There is so much ahead of them.

And to make the world a little bit better, I stand behind the old PR principle: "Do good and talk about it". First I´d like to act – then talk about it. I enjoy doing things that many of my friends consider as too difficult, to complicated, undoable. For example, I´m travelling exclusively by train (or with my E-car). And I always try to find the cheapest ticket for the train journey. Just to impress my friends with: "Hey, I went to Hamburg for only 40 Euros. An easy and comfortable ride. And we arrived on time." I love to see their astonishment then.

There is so much complaining and grumbling about things people never tried for themselves. I´d like to prove them wrong. I´ll try out by myself … tiny little steps for a more sustainable living such as traveling by train, eating less meat … yes, this are little steps, but I´ll try and tell others about my experiences. And hope to inspire them – to do more good.

About #100K
The communications network Ketchum celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2023. This makes it probably the oldest communications agency in the world. As I, Petra Sammer, worked more than 25 years at Ketchum, learned so much at this agency and thankfull, take this as an opportunity to meet old Ketchum-colleagues and friends. And ask them some fundamental questions. Thanks to Sabine, Gesine Märten and Martin Dambacher.

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