Today, it has become increasingly common for talented people to take on greater responsibilities at a comparatively young age. Be it because a company has promoted you to a higher management position or because you’re an entrepreneur with a successful start-up: your personal success and that of your business heavily rely on your becoming an outstanding leader. You’re obviously ambitious, you worked hard for this, which is how you got here in the first place.
Who am I?
From startup to international scaleup
(Recorded in Paris @ The Family - July 2019)
3 words that best describe me
Trust for me is the basis on which everything else is built. Firstly, it implies confidentiality: if everything stays put in the very room or in the very email it is discussed—the information never leaves those four walls, physical or virtual. But for me, trust also implies being reliable, keeping one's word, being able to count on one another in the sense of transparency and integrity, also trusting someone enough to know that bold feedback is always appreciated.
I'm a caring person too, and for me, trust is also about caring.
I don’t see others as machines that always have to work perfectly,
but as complex human beings. People are more than their jobs.
Their lives have context and it’s important to get to know the
person as a whole. And because we are all different, we must
have tailor-made coaching and advice.
It's what you wanted, but is it also what you expected?
You might be an expert in your field, but with little top management experience. Either because you sped your way to the top, or because you founded your company young and have perhaps not been on the receiving end of good management yourself. You’re not alone, and coaching can help to shape your path to success.
A European world citizen, Hamburg born and raised, I’ve always been fascinated by the city’s immense port, one of the largest in Europe. It makes you want to go places yourself. And looking down the Elbe towards the sea— there is something rewarding about gazing at the horizon, taking a step back and putting things into perspective, gaining headspace, focusing on what’s important, but also thinking big, to the far-off horizon and beyond, to create something that can’t yet be seen, that’s only in your mind for now.
I’m trilingual (English, French, German), have lived in a dozen places across Europe and North America and worked with people from across all continents. For over a decade, I have held several top management and board positions across industries and cultures in both the corporate and the start-up world. I have successfully managed change while achieving strong growth. My track record includes being CEO of the most strategic region of Western Europe for Deutsche Bahn, one of the largest mobility companies in the world, and being President of Trainline Intl. which acquired Captain Train in a transformational change process leading it to become a unicorn and industry leader. We made it into one of the biggest European
tech hits, eventually resulting in one of the most successful European IPOs of the last few decades, boosting the teams to 600+ people.
By accepting my role and the need to develop my leadership skills,
I was able to enjoy great success in my career and in the businesses,
I led. Coaching helped me a great deal to get there and to enjoy
the ride. Becoming a Coach myself allows me to pass on what I have learned and experienced to make you shine as a great leader for others.
I was lucky enough to be appointed CEO at a very early stage in my career, allowing me to gain more than a decade of top management experience and still be reasonably young to change careers now. Twelve years is a long time in jobs like these. It can only be achieved with a lot of resilience, support and determination to succeed.
At the same time, I have gathered a significant amount of coaching experience from both ends of the equation—being coached as well
as coaching, mentoring and advising others.
When you’re always the youngest at what you do, you are by definition a bit unconventional and you stand out. I believe that there are people who see the world as it is and those who have the capacity to picture how the world could be. Not many people will be able to see what you see, but in order to make your vision come true, you have to be courageous, often think outside the box and sometimes even shake things up by revealing the truth. This takes both strength of mind
and self-belief, and it often means straying off the beaten track.
Advisor. Coach. Speaker.
I see advising as giving you input on my areas of expertise, things that I have experienced myself. In the short term, it can be on a particular topic or project, but in the longer run, it could also be as a seat on
the board as a non-executive director for example. Whatever it is that you need most at this or at a later stage. Advising is me handing you
a piece of information— an answer— suggesting a solution to a particular set of questions. My areas of expertise:
Leadership in both corporates and startups
Internationalisation and fast growth
Scaling and Change: Acquisitions, Merger, Integration, IPO
Multilingual (EN, DE, FR) and Intercultural
Mobility Expert: especially on rail, aviation and distribution
As a leader, you speak a lot and you develop certain rhetorical skills. I’m happy to continue to pass on what I have learned and developed at universities, start-up hubs, as lectures, inspirational speeches, in meet-ups as fireside talks or key notes. I’m always happy to provide support on my areas of expertise:
● How to succeed as a leader
● Importance of organizational behaviour and culture for teams
● Scaling teams and businesses in an international context
● How to successfully scale your start-up
● My personal success story
Coaching is not the same thing as advising or mentoring. The latter
is about me feeding into you to help you to solve a particular problem for which you seek a quick and precise answer. Coaching is almost
the opposite, helping you to develop over time by getting you to
ask yourself the right questions, which we then work on together. Coaching in a nutshell:
Who? You are in a middle- or senior management position in a corporate or C-level of a scaling start-up and want to develop your skills in order to succeed in your role.
How long? Ideally, I would accompany you for half a year, with around 6 two-hour face-to-face sessions. This is likely to include calls and homework in between sessions.
What is the goal? It is up to us to define the desired output from the outset. It will be a question of time, undoubtedly be transformational and helpful in the long run for your personal development in the business context as the change will be visible to all people you work with.
Next steps? We set up a meeting to get to know each other. If the shoe fits, we then start as soon as possible.
Now, the reality—especially in fast-moving businesses—is often
a combination of all of the above. These three elements Advising. Coaching. Speaking. are the building blocks. You decide what
you need, in what combination and at what pace.
Director of Fedora
"Daniel's strategic advice has helped us advance our technical developments to boost cross-border giving in Europe. He is a reliable and trustworthy advisor, who has strong listening and analytical skills. Daniel keeps the big picture in view while being attentive to detail.
I recommend him highly because of his leadership
and growth strategies expertise."
Director of German Tourism Board
"Daniel deckt im Handumdrehen die wesentlichen Zusammenhänge einer Problematik auf. Mit gezielten, oft auch unangenehmen Fragen, öffnet er schnell den Weg für neue Perspektiven und Lösungen. Unsere Zusammenarbeit hat neue Begeisterung
für weitere Herausforderungen geschaffen."
Chief of Staff to group Chairman AXA
"Over the last 7 years Daniel has been an incredible support in my professional decisions. Thanks to his experience as a leader in both corporate and startup in Germany and France, he has built a sharp sense of what it takes to succeed. Always positive and down-to-earth, Daniel helped me formulate my objectives and focus on them. I highly recommend him."
CEO & Co-founder Proprioo
"Daniel n'est pas là pour vous souffler la réponse ou
se battre à votre place. Mais il est là pour vous aider
à y arriver par vous même, à prendre confiance en vous,
à vous faire vous poser les bonnes questions. Et à faire apparaître la meilleure version de vous-même : celle
qui rend tout possible."