An Interview with Rosa Krausz
by Wendy Johnson

Rosa brings 30 years of experience to her role as Director of Intelectus, a consulting, training, and executive coaching firm in , Brazil. In addition to her consulting, training, and coaching background, Rosa has taught at the University of and is a respected lecturer at conferences and business events.

Rosa works primarily with small to mid-sized organizations, assisting executives and owners with interpersonal professional relations, delegation, leadership, time management, decision making, problem solving, and change issues. In addition to numerous business-related articles, Rosa has written five books. Her most recent, Compartilhando o Poder na Organizagues (Sharing Power in Organizations), addresses the relationship between leaders and employees, demonstrating how to create business success through effective leadership and the professional and personal fulfillment of both leaders and employees.

Read more about Rosa in the WABC Coach Directory.

After 30 successful years in consulting, training, teaching and writing, what attracted you to coaching?
In the mid-1970s, I began as a consultant and HR trainer at one of the most well-known consulting firms in Brazil. After acquiring industry knowledge and experience, creating a business network, and establishing a solid professional image, I started my own consulting and training business.

I found that organizational leaders were struggling with professional difficulties and challenges that mainstream consulting failed to address. As I became involved in coaching, I could clearly see that coaching processes help leaders to understand how change impacts individuals, teams, and systems within an organization. Coaching also enables them to empower their employees to effect behavioral change.

Business and executive coaching also stimulates coaches' continued growth and development, upgrading their performance and their personal and professional competence. This continuous improvement, in turn, allows coaches to better contribute to their clients' growth and development.

What distinguishes you from other business coaches in your country?
I have great enthusiasm for my work, and I exhibit the high level of responsibility and professionalism my thirty years of experience have brought me. My clients trust that professionalism and experence, and introduce me to others who could benefit from my services.
My partnership with my clients is based on a coaching process that is focused on heart and mind. My training and certification in Transactional Analysis also provides an important framework for my clients' understanding of individual and organizational relationships.

How has business coaching emerged in Brazil?
In the late 1990s, a small group of practicing coaches began to discuss and publicize the profession. In 2001, at the 30th World Conference of the IFTDO (International Federation of Training and Development Organizations), I presented a workshop on Executive Coaching--one of the first presentations on the subject in Brazil.

Independent and internal coaching is increasing, although internal coaching seems to be more prevalent. Internal coaches tend to work with middle managers, focusing on career and performance issues. An organization's internal coaches often blur the line between counseling and mentoring processes and the coaching process. Conversely, top executives are increasingly engaging external coaches, which allows them to avoid the trust issues that may otherwise interfere with the coaching process. They seek assistance in the areas of leadership, decision making, problem solving and interpersonal relations.

What kind of barriers has business coaching faced in Brazil?
A major barrier is a lack of understanding about the nature of coaching. Many organizations and clients expect training or consulting rather than a collaborative, trusting coaching partnership in which the client addresses his or her real needs via reflection and action.

The Brazilian cultural context is not very favorable to the coaching process. Some highly-positioned executives avoid discussing their uncertainties, and, even when they do, they resist taking action, expecting the coach to provide solutions. Trust, involvement, and openness to the coaching process takes time to develop.

Brazil is also subject to serious political instability. For example, members of the currently installed Workers' Party (including the President) are under close scrutiny due to allegations of corruption in paying debts and raising money for the upcoming 2006 presidential campaign. Workers' Party members are now involved themselves in what they fought against in the 1960s--abuse of power to favor their own political party.

This political instability can limit the reach of business coaching. During a political crisis, despite an apparently stable economic situation, organizations become cautious, limiting their investments and expenses.

You've mentioned corruption in government. Have you also witnessed corporate malfeasance? If so, what role can business coaching play in preventing or minimizing it?
Unfortunately, public and private corporate malfeasance is not uncommon in Brazil, and we are impacted by this social disease. In recent years, we have had cases of malfeasance in the banking and investment business, retail commerce, food industry, public services, and telecommunications.

Business and executive coaching can minimize some of these effects. Executive coaching, in particular, can impact the heart of an organization's power center, and has the potential to create a culture of respect, transparency, social co-responsibility, ethics and competence.

Reflecting on your work with clients over the years, can you recall a time when a client really impacted you and helped you to grow?
One of my first clients, a brilliant young executive, was incredibly transparent, honest, dedicated, and loyal to his organization and its leaders. He was a living example of trustworthiness and respectability. His conduct impressed me and caused me to reevaluate some of my beliefs about the corporate world.

What philosophy has guided you as a business coach?
My work is based on respect, mutual trust, confidentiality, non-directiveness, cooperation, relevant information sharing, a contractual relationship, and the no-harm principle. My integrity as a coach, and above all, as an individual, is important to me. My integrity leads me to use my intuition, accept challenges, and take action in my own life, and then to share my experiences with others.

What are some of your personal and professional goals?
My goals are to:

  • Continually grow and develop, personally and professionally.
  • In partnership with my colleagues and trainees, build a community of highly competent business and executive coaches in Brazil. This would be accomplished through training and certification processes supplied by those organizations that are internationally recognized as the best in the field.
  • Consolidate ABRACEM (the Brazilian Association of Business and Executive Coaches) as the professional organization of Brazilian business and executive coaches, and as the recognized training and certification organization in business and executive coaching.
  • Maintain my part time practice, publish books and articles, participate in conferences, and continue to train and supervise new coaches.
  • Collaborate with the WABC to boost international recognition of the profession of business coaching.
  • Enjoy my family life.

What are the issues that we are facing as a business coaching industry, and how are we addressing them?
As professional business coaches, we must:

  • Create minimum international standards and competencies
  • Consider cultural differences in approaching the coaching process
  • Ensure adequate experience as we enter a coaching partnership
  • Continue to educate the consumer about business coaching
  • Approach each coaching partnership with the complete context in mind
  • Establish a professional value system
  • Create a well-established certification process

The WABC can help to address these issues by building an international network of business coaches that share the same standards, competencies and certifications, and that respect cultural differences in the coaching process.

What's the best piece of business advice you have followed?
"Your errors can always teach something new."

This advice has helped me both to learn from my errors and avoid repeating them, and to analyze my options before deciding or taking action.

What advice do you have for the novice business coach?
Remember that your potential clients value:

  • The competence you have acquired through sound training, practice, and supervision
  • Continuous improvement of your skills
  • Your own personal balance
  • The quality of your services

These principles will allow you to establish a strong foundation for your coaching business, and build your client base predominantly through referrals.

What advice would you offer to our more experienced business coaches?
Build your success on the solid ground of quality, not quantity. Effective coaching is a delicate process that requires personalized attention, care, reflection and mutual trust.

What is the key to working effectively as business coaches in our increasingly global business world?
We must be prepared to respond to the emerging needs of a sophisticated workforce. Such a workforce demands speedy, effective, specific and focused responses to their needs. Business coaching in this context requires expertise, sensibility and understanding of the pressure for results that prevails in organizations.

In addition, businesses will demand a clear return on their investment in the coaching process. As we enter a professional relationship with the client and the organization, business coaches need to pay special attention to the expectations of both. Understand that business coaching encompasses three relationships--coach/client, coach/organization, and client/organization. Without a sound and viable contract that addresses the expectations and needs of all parties, the coaching process may fail to accomplish the expected results.

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