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Sylvia Becker-Hill

Sylvia Becker-Hill: Crafting Success Through Neuroplasticity and Empowerment

A Fusion of Science, Psychology, and Mystique in the World of Executive Coaching!

Coaching, as the famous saying goes, involves challenging the comfortable and comforting the troubled. It’s a gradual, unfolding process focused on sustained growth rather than immediate results. This longevity necessitates commitment from both the coach and the client. The coach dedicates themselves to understanding the evolving needs of the client, while the client trusts the process even in moments of uncertainty. The transformative journey hinges on the establishment of mutual trust and a profound connection, often referred to as a “click in chemistry,” rooted in the coach’s personality.

Why Chemistry Matters?

The “click in chemistry” is the magic ingredient that propels coaching from a structured session to a transformative experience. It’s about more than shared interests; it’s a resonance of values, a meeting of minds, and a recognition of each other’s humanity. When this chemistry exists, clients feel seen, heard, and understood, fostering an environment where vulnerability and growth can flourish.

At the forefront of this alchemical process stands Sylvia Becker-Hill, a Certified Master Neuroplastician and Professional Certified Coach at Becker-Hill Inc. With over 27 years of experience, Sylvia has become a matriarch in the international coaching community, leaving an indelible mark as an executive coach, leadership trainer, and corporate change agent.

Armed with a diverse set of certifications and a hands-on understanding of various coaching and learning methodologies, Sylvia brings a unique blend of expertise to the table. Her proprietary models empower clients to undergo profound transformations with unparalleled ease, speed, and grace.

Sylvia’s magic extends beyond boardrooms! Empowering audiences on corporate, college, and public stages with edutaining keynotes, Sylvia dismantles unsustainable societal pressure and subconscious “shoulds.” Fueled by applied neuroscience, Sylvia guides us to redefine success by teaching simple yet liberating brain hacks so we stop chasing the elusive carrots society dangles in front of us.

A trailblazer in her own right, Sylvia holds a Diploma in Administrative Science from the Federal University of Applied Administrative Sciences and a Master of Arts in Philosophy and Linguistics with a focus on gender studies from the Heinrich-Heine-University in Düsseldorf. Her groundbreaking master’s thesis delves into the significance of matriarchal cultures for our contemporary times.

Being the first German coach certified as a Professional Certified Coach by the International Coach Federation in 2002, Sylvia’s influence reverberates globally. She has served in leadership positions in various coaching organizations and left an enduring legacy by seamlessly blending science, experience, and a touch of the mystical.

Let us explore her tremendous journey:

Could you please brief us about yourself, and elaborate on your inspiration and motivation behind embarking on this sector?

Raised in Germany as the cherished only child of my parents, I shared my home with them and my maternal grandparents. The backdrop of my early years was a milieu fraught with stifled emotions, depression, and the enduring trauma of World War II. My love for my parents, my veritable “sunshine,” was an implicit commitment to bring them happiness.

Unbeknownst to me, this deep affection for my parents laid the foundation for my early immersion as a fervent explorer of human potential. My journey commenced with a precocious ability to read, even before stepping into formal education. By the age of 10, I found solace in the pages of academic tomes, resembling the literary prowess of Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series. My academic journey mirrored this enthusiasm, with my hand perennially raised in response to questions, securing my place as the top performer throughout both my college and university years.

Driven by an insatiable curiosity, I embarked on a quest to comprehend the intricacies of human dynamics, history, evolution, gender, linguistics, and change management. Each discipline, I believed, held a key to answering the overarching question that fueled my passion:

“What essential components must align for people to attain enduring happiness?”

Could you please brief us about your company and its inception story?

In 1997, my journey as a professional coach began when the CEO of a local construction and engineering bureau recognized my innate coaching abilities during an extended, in-person communication training. Impressed by my approach to relationships, feedback, and inspiration, he urged me to develop a concept for his business challenges.

His frustration stemmed from offering weekend seminars on business development, sales, and leadership to local engineering and construction companies, with minimal implementation by his peers. While still a student at Heinrich-Heine-University in Duesseldorf, Germany, I delved into the issue of “corporate training and their ROI challenges.” What I uncovered was a burgeoning industry plagued by a significant problem: millions were invested annually in employee training with little to no return on investment.

I became the solution.

In September 1997, I founded my coaching company, securing a groundbreaking $60,000 start-up grant from the NRW Ministry of Research and Development as the first woman ever. With a single coaching product—12 weeks of weekly 30-minute phone sessions—my focus was empowering participants to seamlessly integrate their training into their daily work lives. The success of this initial offering revolutionized corporate training, saving corporations substantial resources and frustration by providing an effective pathway for employees to yield a return on their training investment. The impact was profound. The beginning of a transformative journey.

Can you share your background and experience as an executive coach, including your areas of expertise and the types of clients you have worked with in the past?

Commencing with architecture and engineering leaders, I transitioned to corporate middle managers with “Coaching over the phone for sustainable corporate training.” My research in human motivation, psychology, and habit creation played a pivotal role.

As a network partner, I facilitated post-merger integration processes across Europe. Through designing events, providing diversity training, and coaching top leaders in pharmaceuticals and finance, my change expertise led to miraculous outcomes—dubbed “Sylvia’s Magic.”

In 2002, I became the first German PCC certified by the International Coach Federation, consistently renewing every three years.

Relocating to Michigan in 2006, I founded a coaching training school for German expatriate women, with graduates achieving leadership roles and 2 ICF presidencies.

Beyond that, I served as the sole German executive coach in Michigan’s automotive sector, coaching top leaders, facilitating retreats, and delivering culture training series. In Chicago, I coached on transitions, work-life balance, and burnout prevention, developing Brain Alignment™ and Ego Management™ models.

After moving to Southern California in 2013, I intensified my focus on empowering women leaders, breaking glass ceilings, and dismantling subconscious barriers. Guiding women executives toward the C-suite, my approach emphasizes collaborative strategies and a holistic leadership paradigm.

What do you believe are the key qualities and skills that set outstanding executive coaches apart from others in the field?

Ego-management, substantial knowledge in applied neuroscience, highly trained intuition, unshakable integrity, courage to be honest and blunt, focus on tangible ROI and not just “feeling good,”  humility regarding their limits, strong boundaries, high energy, humor, playful creativity, and loving their clients more than they love their favorite change tool, process, or modality, so they always coach by listening to their clients and leave them more empowered, independent, and resourceful than they were when their relationship started. Plus—especially for the many personality types of powerhouses among executive leaders—the willingness to go beyond the old defined boundaries of a coach and step into other roles for the benefit of this unique clientele: jester, truth teller, mirror, provocateur, confident, muse, fan, philosopher.

How do you approach building a strong coach-client relationship, and what methods do you use to establish trust and rapport with your clients?

With a nonjudgmental space, transparency, holding nothing back, and honesty, honesty, honesty. Combined with a ‘BMW quality’ of contracting and expectation management from the get-go.

Can you provide an example of a challenging coaching situation you’ve encountered and how you successfully navigated it to benefit your client?

Corporate coaching can be intricate, with budget holders, contract partners, and clients often being distinct entities. Over the years, navigating behind-the-scenes politics in unfamiliar corporate systems has been a challenge. My German systemic thinking training equips me to detect potential issues, as seen in a case involving a supposedly difficult executive. Contrary to HR’s portrayal, she presented herself as a professional leader. Trusting my instincts, I risked a coaching fee to declare no case existed. Investigations revealed fabricated rumors, leading to rectification, an apology, and an expanded coaching opportunity. Empowered, the executive achieved a promotion, enhancing productivity, self-care, and work-life balance.

What is your coaching philosophy, and how do you tailor your coaching approach to meet the specific needs and goals of each executive you work with?

In essence, my clients are accomplished leaders with a proven track record of success. When they seek coaching, I recognize the presence of a blind spot and some form of subconscious self-sabotage. My role is to guide them in clarifying their goals, ensuring authenticity, and uncovering blind spots and self-sabotaging habits. Leveraging applied neuroscience and a tailored process with diverse change tools, I facilitate the cultivation of new, goal-aligned habits of thinking, feeling, and acting.

Sustainability is a cornerstone of my coaching practice. My objective is not to merely provide temporary feel-good moments but to propel clients beyond their comfort zones. I stand by them as they navigate uncomfortable revelations and growth, leading to profound, lasting, and tangible transformation. I am not a proponent of a “short-term positivity mindset” or a purveyor of superficial fixes. The embodiment of knowledge results in identity-level transformation for my clients, propelling them to evolve into the kind of leaders the world demands.

How do you stay current with the latest developments and best practices in executive coaching, and how do you ensure your knowledge and techniques remain up-to-date?

I’m a lifelong, passionate learner. I’m curious and have a playful, creative, and open mind. At any given time, I am a participant in several training programs and a member of learning communities. Plus, re-certifying every 3 years with the ICF keeps me in a structure where I can’t get too exotic with my private research interests but rather have to receive certifications in closely coaching-related fields.

I am, for example, an alumni member of the Canadian Neuroscience School and a member of the Neuroplastician Hub at the Institute for Organizational Neuroscience. Plus, I have years of subscriptions to my executive clients’ relevant magazines, like HBR. My car is my rolling university. I never drive anywhere without listening to podcasts or replays from a mentor. And my habit of ‘eating books for breakfast’ has not changed since my childhood. I had read 10,000 books by my 30th birthday and am now 56, still reading several books per week.

What tools, assessments, or frameworks do you commonly use in your coaching practice, and how do they contribute to your clients’ growth and development?

Since 1997, I have accumulated a long list of assessment, change modalities, and coaching training certifications. In recent years, I have used mainly a mix of applied neuroscience, somatic coaching, and Intentional Creativity®. Why?

When I started in 1997, modern brain imaging technology had been in use just for a short while. It was in the early 2000s that finally more and more research was published that revolutionized many previously held beliefs about the brain, human motivation, the nature of emotions, and the dominance of the mind. As a Certified Master Neuroplastician, I am trained to facilitate conversations, inquiries, and coaching processes that teach my clients how to rewire their brains so they can overcome many of the human brain’s innate biases that sabotage our success goals and desires for happiness and fulfillment.

Having been frustrated for a few years at the beginning of my practice with a percentage of clients whom I saw regressing into old ways of being, I was proud to be one of the first to break the dominance of the mind in regards to changing ourselves and integrate a somatic-body-enabled approach in my coaching practice. Coaching that doesn’t include reprogramming cellular memories and the release of old, stuck emotions is doomed to be successful only for a limited time! Adding my certifications as a Color of Women Intentional Creativity® teacher and coach allows me to teach my clients simple drawing processes that give them access to their subconscious mind, emotions, and intuition and open their brain’s pathways to limitless creativity, ideas, and solutions.

It is truly astounding how far the coaching industry and we as humanity have come in the last 28 years when it comes to the possibilities of living authentically and producing dream results without burning out in the process!

Can you share any success stories or testimonials from clients you have worked with that highlight the positive impact of your coaching on their professional growth and leadership skills?

I received a heartfelt Christmas card from a couple who were both alumni of my coaching training eight years prior. As founders of an industrial product company, they enlisted me to train their 27-member team in neuroscience-based self-management, aiming to reduce friction, enhance collaboration, and boost efficiency. The cherished card, safely kept in my desk’s drawer, reads:

“Even after so many years, not a day passes without reflecting on you and your invaluable coaching. We continually apply the tools you taught us, like ‘putting on the researcher’s hat’ in triggering situations, simply saying, ‘Wow, fascinating!’… You have changed us forever!”

A more recent testimonial encapsulates my coaching’s impact: “Sylvia, after this breakthrough session over 3.5 hours with you today, I feel more empowered than after 10 years of working intensively with Tony Robbins!”

Please give us a few testimonials from your clients and awards or recognition that accurately highlight your achievements in the corporate niche.

In 2014, the International Coach Federation honored me with a leadership award, recognizing my contributions to advancing the coaching industry. In 2023, I secured the BRAVA Award from the National Association of Women Business Owners Chapter San Diego in the category of “Women’s Advocate,” acknowledging my enduring impact on women’s advancement.

A top executive from a major German bank, during a challenging facilitation amid a global financial crisis, expressed astonishment: “Wow, Sylvia, I don’t know how you did it. Your constant pivoting and adapting felt as if you were breathing with our team’s soul. In 20 years of my HR career, I’ve never experienced anything like this. Thank you. It was exactly what we needed, and we didn’t even know it.”

Another female top executive, initially seeking help with workplace conflict and work-life balance, experienced a surprising transformation: “Thanks to you, I forgave my mother and now have a close, loving relationship with her. This personal shift grounded me, making me more relaxed, confident, and genuinely happy.”

A male CEO expressed profound gratitude in an email testimonial: “Thank you, Sylvia, from the bottom of my heart. Without you, I wouldn’t be CEO; my marriage might not have survived the last two years, and I would still be 40 pounds heavier, facing pain and burnout.”

Please feel free to add any other additional details that we might have missed out on or that you want to highlight in the article.

In my initial 18 years as an executive coach, I distilled insights from corporate clients into a book on 12 Leadership Powers. Derived from client feedback 6 to 12 months post-coaching, the book became an international bestseller on Amazon, maintaining robust sales. It’s an executive-style compendium that clients revisit, and you can explore it at