Interview with Christoph Spiessens
What got you started in employee engagement?
I wanted to do something that hadn’t been done before: Infusing practical spirituality into the corporate world. When I say spirituality, I don’t mean religion. It’s about helping people understand who they are, why they are here, and how that knowledge can help them get the most out of life and work.
After facing significant adversity in my early teens it was spiritual self-development that helped me turn my own life around. My passion is to share the life-changing benefits I discovered with as many people as possible. Simply put, practical spirituality encourages employees to become the best version of themselves.
Less fear, less competition, less self-sabotaging, but more confidence, more joy and more purpose. I believe that true employee engagement is not just about payroll and staff perks, it’s about the bigger picture –for the employee, the business and the customer: When you have a team who are self-aware they will be more proactive, collaborate more effectively and significantly drive business performance and improve the customer experience. But in order for that to happen you need to have a different kind of conversation with your staff; a different kind of support.
This is about learning core skills like empathy, resourcefulness, mindfulness, self-awareness, etc. Skills that are, unfortunately, rarely trained in the corporate world. And yet, I believe that mastering those valuable skills can make the difference between an uninspired and a winning workplace. This is why, after 10 years of working in various Learning & Development roles, I started my own employee engagement coaching consultancy in 2015.
Could you tell us a little about your Mindful Managers seminars?
Many of my private coaching clients are managers. Individuals who take their holistic personal development seriously. They understand that being a good leader for others means leading the way within themselves first. I wanted to find a way to bring many like-minded managers together and combine a motivational keynote with group discussion.
No slide decks, no models, no graphs. Mindful Manager is a safe space for participants to decompress, recharge and network with other conscious leaders. Nothing is off-limits; the challenges of wholehearted leadership, dealing with uncertainty, impostor syndrome, authenticity, career choices, life purpose, etc. This seminar allows me to share coaching energy with a larger group of leaders to help them resolve personal and professional challenges, and create more headspace in a uniquely refreshing way.
What is the most unique experience you have had as a result of your job?
In 2016 I was fortunate enough to spend six weeks in South Africa to deliver a series of customer service and coaching skills training workshops. That was a fantastic experience and one I will treasure forever. A stunning country with stunning learner mindsets to boot. During my career I have worked with employees from many different cultures but the South African delegates in particular have a special place in my heart. They inspired me every day with their eagerness to learn, their infectious smiles and friendly inquisitiveness. I hope to be able to return to South Africa soon.
What motivates you?
Seeing the practical effect my work has on individuals and businesses. At the start of every new speaking engagement or workshop assignment, I focus on how I would like my audience to feel afterwards. That’s the driving force. What is the goal and how can we get there, together? This collaborative approach enables me to create bespoke material that will be both interesting and useful. It’s all about the practical application of the tools and concepts we’ll be covering during our time together.
How are your keynote presentations unique?
I find working with mixed audiences really exciting. My signature delivery style allows me to reach employees from all levels of an organisation. I connect with people in a different, sometimes unconventional, sometimes informal way that is still highly professional and –most important of all highly effective.
How much does humour factor into your keynotes and other speaking engagements?
I like to leave my audiences feeling uplifted and inspired. My keynotes strike a good balance between poignant real-life experiences and self-reflexive humour. I believe the right joke at the right time can be very effective to make a message stick.