Two new WOL Coaches in Austria & Switzerland!

I am thrilled to announce two new WOL Coaches: Barbara Wietasch in Austria and Stefanie Moser in Switzerland. Both of them are longtime contributors to the WOL Community, full-time independent coaches, and lovely people! I’ve enjoyed working with them this year and look forward to many more projects together.

Here are a few words that Barbara and Stefanie chose to include on the WOL Coach webpage, where you can also find their contact details and links to more information.

“Barbara lives in Austria and, after her first WOL experiences, decided to spread the word by coordinating the translation of the Circle Guides into Spanish. For more than 15 years, Barbara has been helping companies in Austria, Germany, East Europe, Mexico & Spain with learning & development programs, and has already led the first WOL implementation in an Austrian Public Health Organization. Through WOL, her relations, visibility, and growth mindset have changed in a very positive way, and she loves to share her experiences as coach and facilitator.”

“Stefanie is based in Switzerland, and made her first WOL steps in 2017. Convinced of the potential, she soon played a key role in building up the WOL community in Switzerland. She hosts a monthly virtual meetup and works together with Sabine Kluge on German-Swiss meetups. After many years in organizational development, Stefanie founded her own consulting company in 2014. Her focus as transformation expert lays on using the wisdom of all the organization on their journeys. Her purpose is simple: work with joy.”

I am deeply grateful to all the WOL Coaches for their support and contributions. There are now 10 WOL Coaches in what has been a successful pilot program this year. In 2020, I’ll look to launch a larger, more formal program that will accept applicants. If you want to register your interest in such a program, send email to support@workingoutloud.com.

WOL in Switzerland

Though Switzerland is only about a third of the size of Ohio, their impact on the world is remarkable. The latest difference they’re making is related to Working Out Loud.

Remarkable companies

One of the fastest-growing WOL movements is being spread by Roche in Basel, with more than 350 people in 18 countries in less than 6 months. It’s an incredible beginning.

A diverse and growing group of organizations is also spreading Circles, including Swisscom, Helvetia, Swiss Post, the Swiss transportation company SBB, and even the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Remarkable events

One reason I find this list of companies remarkable is that it was just last October when I visited Switzerland for the first time, thanks to the Swiss Social Collaboration Summit. The audience was curious about WOL, but there were very few Circles then.

Now, there are regular WOL-CH Meet-ups run by Monika Schlatter and Stefanie Moser held on the 3rd Friday of each month, and there’s a special Meet-up for beginners at Helvetia coming up on August 28th. I asked Stefanie why she does it.

I love to inspire people to experiment, to be curious and interested in life-long learning. WOL is a brilliant method to learn those new behaviors together with a group in a safe space and to actually get things done.

There’s even a two-day workshop in Basel for WOL Mentors on August 27-28, organized and delivered by Kluge Consulting. Participants from the last Mentor training in Berlin said it inspired and equipped them to build and grow their own WOL movements. If you’re in a Swiss company and want to spread WOL, this upcoming workshop is a remarkable opportunity.

A remarkable WOL Coach

Martin Geisenhainer is the first WOL Coach in Switzerland. He is a Learning Architect at Swisscom, and has been engaged in learning and knowledge programs for 20 years. He’s also an organizer of the Swiss Social Collaboration Summit, where we worked together last year and where he’ll offer multiple sessions on Working Out Loud in November.

Martin is smart and kind and generous. I enjoy working with him and relish our time together in a WOL: SC Circle. His deep experience and wonderful approach makes him a perfect person to help Swiss organizations.

A remarkable start

For WOL in Switzerland, it has been an incredible few months. The only thing more remarkable will be what happens next.

Announcing WOL Enterprise Solutions

If you want to scale an employee-led movement, you shouldn’t “leave it alone” and hope for the best. Instead, you should leverage your company’s resources so you can reach more people and help change the culture.

Whether you’re in the early days of spreading WOL inside your organization or you’re looking to expand the grassroots movement you created, there are now products and services that can help you.  

The WOL Roadmap

A pattern has emerged from the many different companies spreading WOL and it generally has four phases, identified by the approximate number of people in Circles and by common milestones we see. Although the initial Pilot phase can be started by anyone in the company using free PDFs, moving to the later phases is much more likely with professional materials and support. 

3 Ways to Ensure Success

Based on our experience with companies who’ve successfully used WOL in many locations and departments, there are three things that make Circles more effective and easier to spread.

1. Customized Materials

The Video Guides & Journals announced last week make the Circle experience more convenient and professional. Increasingly, employees expect e-learning to be available via video and mobile, and the Circle Journal makes it possible to capture progress in one place. 

Customizing the Journal makes it easier to see how WOL relates to your company specifically. By including your brand and welcome message, you let employees know WOL is officially supported. Including your own examples each week shows them how to practice at work using the company’s technology.

2. Professional Support

The volunteers who support the Pilot phase need assistance as WOL spreads. Professional support, offered by me and a growing network of certified WOL Coaches, helps grow the movement while ensuring good results for Circle members and program owners. WOL Mentor Training enables you to develop your own internal capability across locations & divisions.

3. Additional Programs

In the later phases, going beyond the basic WOL Circle method allows you to reach a wider range of employees in different kinds of work environments. Here are several WOL programs that are available now or are under development:

  • WOL for Leaders pairs executives with reverse mentors

  • WOL for Managers & On-boarding are add-ons for these specific groups

  • WOL: Self-Care improves employee wellness

  • WOL: Purpose reduces busy-ness & information overload

  • WOL for Operational Employees enables front-line workers to experience the benefits of WOL

Enterprise Solutions: Basic, Advanced, Partner

As your movement succeeds, three annual subscription packages - Basic, Advanced, and Partner - offer you a range of options and support. For more about the products and services in each package, including pricing, contact me at john.stepper@workingoutloud.com.

By taking your WOL efforts to the next level, you can help thousands of colleagues feel more confident, develop new skills, and realize more of their potential. We want to help you make the difference you aspire to make.

Celebrating 5 WOL Coaches

Back in February, in a post about how WOL could scale, I announced the first people I was working with in a formal way to deliver talks, workshops, and other training related to Working Out Loud. It was an experiment at the time, but it has worked so well that it’s now grown into something much more.

The new site for Certified WOL Coaches refers to them as “A global network of highly-skilled facilitators.” The five people listed have all contributed to the WOL Community for years. I work closely with each of them, and am inspired both by what they do and how they do it.

Sabine Kluge

Alexander Kluge

Katharina Krentz

Barbara Schmidt

Mara Tolja

I want to thank Sabine, Alexander, Katharina, Barbara, and Mara for their trust, and for the many ways they have made Working Out Loud better. In the future there will be other coaches in other places, and it will be hard to match the experience and commitment of these five people.