Christoph is a Business leadership coach from California USA. He has been very active in the business community and provided business leadership conferences for companies and organizations; like Kenya National Chamber of Commerce, as well as Fairtrade, KPSA, and others.
He has also hosted Public Seminars for personal developments and successful living transportation.
For about 30 years, he has been training individuals, companies and organizations to Be More, Have More and Do more.
I had a chance to have a chat with him and here is what he had to say.
- Kindly tell our readers who Wolfgang Christoph is.
Wolfgang Christoph was born in East Berlin and grew up in a very poor small village of 200 people in East Germany just 30 minutes from the Polish border.
After World War II when the allies divided the country, there wasn’t a physical border at all, just a line on the map and citizens could travel freely in and out from East to West and vise versa.
On the weekend of August 13th 1961 we visited our grandmother in West Berlin and as usual, I had a sleepover at my best friend’s apartment just down the street.
On Sunday morning the East German soldiers started to divide the city and the whole country simultaneously by building roadblocks, concrete barriers and barbed wire fences. On all the main streets they erected a concrete wall and soldiers stood guard pointing rifles toward the people on the East and had orders to shoot and kill if anyone tries to cross the line. The people on the West equally stood in shock and disbelief witnessing the drama unfolding. I was now separated from my family in a different country and did not know if I would ever see them again. For a ten year old boy this is a traumatic experience and can have lifelong effects.
Fast forward….. After three weeks of planning and training, I managed to make it through the barbed wire fence in the cover of night, jumped into the river and swam about 100 yards across the river toward West Berlin while East German soldiers were chasing me and shooting at me. Today I know that this experience and hardship growing up in a Communist country with no freedom has helped shape me into the person I am today. I have learned to overcome my greatest challenges in life with a positive and grateful attitude. Today I live in Southern California and travel the world coaching and guiding individuals, organizations and businesses to overcome their greatest personal and professional challenges and transforming these obstacles into steppingstones to enable them live Life Successfully
- Before you became a Business Guru, who were your role models in the industry?
Before anything, I had to pay my dues just like everyone else. Going to school, working jobs, study for a career, change my idea, study for another one, start a business, fail, try again and so on.
My background is wide and comprehensive. I went to medical school, I was the VP of Operations, GM, VP of Sales and marketing, Food and Beverage Director for several Hotels in the US and Europe, I was a Limo driver and pizza delivery boy to the CEO of my own Wellness Institute for Body and Mind. I was the Executive Producer and Host of my own TV-Talk Show and The Executive Producer and Host of my own International Radio Talk-Show for five years and everything in between. And as of now I have been a Life Coach, Mentor, Keynote and Motivational Speaker for nearly 30 years. Traveling to far away countries and living and experiencing diverse cultures as well as studying from the masters such as Napoleon Hill, Andrew Carnegie, Warren Buffet, Richard Branson, Steve Jobs etc.., as well as learning from the great philosophers and thinkers of this world. I have through my own efforts and desires created the life that I wish to life; “Helping others to achieve their highest potential in life and live it successfully.”
- What does Business Leadership entail according to you?
Business Leadership is so diverse and complex that many books have been written about it and there are now more coaches than business operators in the world. But before you can think about how to create a successful business, you need to have first the soft-skills to follow your dream and to execute your deepest desires. Depending who you are talking to and the industry you are in there will be variations. However, the principles are the same.
- Your job involves Public Speaking. Were you a born public speaker or was that an acquired skill?
Public Speaking was not my first choice and I was terrified of being in front of people. So I created an environment in which I could practice being comfortable and gain the necessary confidence to speak publicly.
- You have been doing seminars for over 30 years? What motivates you to keep going?
One of the main reasons I continue to speak, is to share the wisdom I have acquired and feel compelled to help people to achieve their highest potential. Everything I know rests on the shoulders of giants and it would be extremely arrogant and selfish of me to think that it was all my own doing. When I see the profound changes and breakthroughs people have after attending my seminars, workshops and individual coaching sessions, I cannot help but feel validated and inspired to continue.
- Kenya has been said to be the country with the most budding entrepreneurs and business minded youth, but for most of them, their industrious dreams often come to a short end. What would be your advice to a young person seeking to start a successful business? Entrepreneurs of all ages face similar challenges on several fronts.
- Lack of financial stability and sustainability
- The vision usually stops by the end of the year.
- No contingency, no follow up, no roadmap for the future.
- The doors are open and now they expect business to come to them.
- Emotional investment does not meet the real world expectation
- Lack of discipline
- Leadership / real business skills
- Lack of Soft-Skills creates bad emotional and reactionary habits.
Find a mentor, be prepared, and don’t rush into something you can’t finish, be in control of your emotions and learn to be disciplined. And most of all be prepared to have enough money to sustain your venture for at least one year before you start, because you are not going to get rich right away and your expenses are increasing.
- Apart from individuals, we have startup companies and organizations which struggle to make a mark in their field. What advice would you give them?
Entrepreneurs and start-up companies are not so different. The principles are the same. Sometimes they are not clear about the market, the client and or product or service they are selling or providing. Perhaps they are barking up the wrong tree. Competition, price, demographics, shipping cost, inventory, etc… Perhaps they have not completely done their research and testing. It could be a million other things. I feel uncomfortable making an absolute statement like that and it would be best to discuss it privately and confidentially.
- Do you mind telling us about your best experience conducting seminars in business leadership? And perhaps your worst experience?
The most rewarding experience is when you have a group of Entrepreneurs and business Professionals humbly listening attentively, asking many questions and are willing to make improvements.
When I see individuals engaged and being determined to learn anything big or small is a step in the right direction. I remember that one of my most rewarding lessons is having an ATTITUDE of GRATITUDE. Being of Service and creating a positive corporate culture is the key ingredient for a successful business. On the other hand when people are attending the seminars or workshops with an attitude of “I already know that and there is nothing you can teach me”, I feel sorry for them. But there is nothing I can do to help them. Only people who want to be helped can be helped. I have no attachments!
- What is your experience and your opinion about the Kenyan Business Climate in terms of investment opportunities, growth?
I feel that Kenya has an incredible potential to become the business hub and model of the African Continent. From small, medium to big business. From infrastructure and water conservation to climate conscious living. Kenya is on the right path. It is a young and vibrant country and is going through some growing pains, but look beyond the appearance and see the vision behind it.
- Your last word to our readers…
Kenya is your home and your future, make it a part of your own life and lifestyle, adopt your mother Earth and care for her. Have pride and honor in your cultural diversity, respect each other’s differences and resources. Be a responsible citizen and share your love and gratitude with everyone you come in contact with. Release your short term selfish desires and think in terms of “HOW MAY I BE OF SERVICE!” give of yourself lovingly to the benefit of others and others will offer themselves lovingly to your benefit. BELIEVE IT AND LIVE IT. “BE THE LIGHT YOU WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD”
If you believe that I may be of any assistance to you or your community at large I would be honored if you think of me.
“There are three types of people in this world. First, there are people who make things happen. Then there are people who watch things happen. Lastly, there are people who ask, what happened? Which do you want to be?”
By: KAGAME Bernard.
Edited by: BIKO Babu.