5 Sterne Redner

Speaker Steve Kroeger kicks off debate about speaker’s profession

A Facebook post with consequences: In the social network, the mountain climber and German keynote speaker Steve Kroeger criticized the proceedings in conjunction with the awarding of the title „Top Coach” by the German news magazine Focus. Soon afterwards, his contribution had already been shared 450 times and sparked a heated debate. All over Germany, the media such as the Süddeutsche Zeitung, one of Germany’s largest newspapers, took the level of interest his post generated as an opportunity to report on the award and on the job of professional speaker itself (read the article here).

What made the experienced motivation coach and mountain climber Steve Kroeger post his Facebook statement in the first place? He had received a letter from the publishing house of the Focus magazine which read: „You are one of Germany’s best coaches!” A title the Focus magazine awards in cooperation with the business network Xing, and definitely a reason to be happy, until the speaker - who is represented by the Global Topspeaker’s agency active in Germany, Austria and Switzerland - continued reading. In order to be allowed to call himself „Top Coach 2016“ in public beyond a period of four weeks and to use the label in advertising, Kroeger was supposed to pay 5,000 Euros. A purchased title, then? „With such a mind-set, we renounce our true core. Our authenticity. And continue to establish an illusory world. Even to our own eyes. No wonder, so many people long for more meaning”, says Steve Kroeger.

With their label, the Focus magazine intends to „provide orientation in a confusing market”, but with the debate launched by Kroeger, even more doubts arise. In particular, as the preceding survey by which the publishing house determined the best 250 coaches must be seen in a highly critical light and according to the Süddeutsche’s research can hardly be verified. 6,800 fellow coaches and human resources officers who deal with the selection and booking of coaches in their companies were questioned and they stated who they would recommend – so the results of the study are based on subjective perception and depend on the quality of a coach’s network.

But how do you measure the quality and skill of a good coach or speaker? It is a fact, of course, that in Germany the job title is not protected and there is no certified vocational training. Instead, there are numerous hallmarks of quality that can either be bought or for which the awarding process is incomprehensible. Thus, everybody can call oneself virtually anything and deck oneself with any kind of title. Industrial associations criticize this and try to establish standards – however, without success so far.

„The industry is booming and unfortunately, so is the number of black sheep that wants to board the train to success”, comments Heinrich Kuerzeder, the owner of the Global Topspeaker’s agency which also represents Steve Kroeger. To him, profound background knowledge and a wealth of long-term experience is what is crucial for a speaker: „The best rhetorical skills are not worth anything if the content does not inspire the audience.” Furthermore, the speaker must be able to connect with the audience and adapt the content of his or her presentation to the spectators. If looking for a speaker or a coach for an event, one should contact a renowned speaker’s agency since an agency that represents many different speakers can give neutral advice. And so the right speaker with the matching profile to meet the respective requirements can be found.