Coaching / Mentoring

Information on Coaching

Intensive Coaching for Appointment and Retention Negotiations

In addition to legal advice, the DHV can also provide you with intensive, one-on-one, comprehensive individualised coaching.

In addition to furnishing you with an understanding of the overall legal framework governing appointment and retention negotiations, our coaching programme focuses on professionally designing the optimal concept and strategy for you and providing you with preparatory training in how to conduct negotiations. With your individual situation in mind, the advisers in the DHV team of experts will analyse your starting position and optimise your professional plan for teaching and research and your “setting-up package”, work with you on developing your own personal “salary anchor”, and on ensuring its perfect communication and justification. The experts will also inform you about the local conditions at the university you are applying to, and your coach will work with you to prepare a defensible and promising line of argumentation for the written and oral negotiations.

The aim of the one-on-one coaching is to provide you with the knowledge base and tactical security to master the increasingly complex world of appointment and retention negotiations. This usually entails a personal meeting lasting either a whole day or half a day with your coach in the DHV’s offices. Following this meeting, you will remain in contact with your coach until the process has been completed.

In exceptional cases, you can also arrange to interact with your coach by telephone or by Skype. This makes good sense if travel is infeasible, in cases of great urgency, or if the coachee or coach are suffering from capacity constraints.

Fee for an intensive coaching session (one-on-one, via telephone or Skype):

One 60-minute hour: €198, - plus VAT

e.g. Fee for one four-hour coaching session (including approx. one hour of preparation): €792, - plus VAT

Due to the considerably higher levels of preparation and follow-up work involved for the field of clinical medicine (contract amendments), we charge the following fee for one-on-one coaching in clinical medicine:

One half-day coaching session (4 hours) including intensive preparation and follow-up work; €1.072, - plus VAT. For one day-long coaching session, we charge: €2.144, - plus VAT.

Fees for coaching by telephone or Skype: e.g. 2x 60-minute hours €536, - plus VAT.


Achieving an optimal negotiating outcome with your university is of decisive importance for your academic career. Appointment and retention negotiations are highly complex processes which can last several months. Your target is to obtain the legal designation of university professor. In addition, you must negotiate a performance-based salary and a “start-up package” which is commensurate with your research and teaching activities.
In addition to its introductory coaching service, the DHV also offers a mentoring programme which provides you with ongoing help and support and which serves to optimise your negotiating process with the universities. This consists of a one-on-one advisory service which covers the entire duration of the complex and personal negotiating process. You have access to your mentor for the whole duration of the process. In close consultation, you and your mentor will draft and correct your written submissions to achieve an optimal negotiating outcome. You will also be able to discuss the offers made to you by the university in written or oral form as soon as you receive them.

One hallmark of the mentoring programme for negotiating with universities is that contact with your mentor is not limited to you alone. Your negotiating partner (i.e. the university management) can also approach your mentor at any time. It is up to you to determine the depth and breadth of the mentoring you wish to have based on the degree to which you require support throughout the negotiating process.

Per 60-minute hour: €250, - plus VAT, in medicine: €350, - plus VAT

Contract Review Procedures (for Head Physicians, in German: so-called “Chefärzte”)

The German Association of Professors and Lecturers – with its long-standing experience of evaluating contracts for chief medical consultants – offers a comprehensive and written evaluation of the employment contracts offered to senior medical consultants. Such evaluations not only identify the weaknesses and potential for risk in these contracts, but also formulate alternatives and reword contracts in the interests of hospital directors themselves. The relevant passages in such contracts include:

  • Fixed elements of remuneration
  • Variable elements of remuneration
  • Agreements on targets and objectives
  • ‘Private liquidation’
  • Adaptation and review clauses
  • Staff Participation
  • Termination agreement
  • Probation period
  • Old-age pension provision

Fee: Fixed rate by agreement

Job Application Training

If you are invited to give a sample lecture to an appointment committee, the DHV can help you prepare in one of its personalised training sessions.  This session evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of the applicant in the context of the position for which they have applied. Following this, the candidate holds their presentation in front of the advisers and receives detailed feedback. Finally, the session includes a simulation of the interview with the appointment committee – something many applicants find particularly challenging – in the form of a roleplay, and trains the applicant to deal with “difficult questions”. The sample lecture and the roleplay can be recorded as a video document.
Depending on the applicant’s field, the application training will be carried out by the DHV’s professorial advisers or professional external advisers.
Fee: One half-day coaching session (4x 60-minute hours): €720, - plus VAT

Appraising Application Documentation

In the context of the personnel selection procedures at universities and research institutes, academics’ written applications and their accompanying documentation – from their application letter to their list of publications – constitute the cornerstone of their application. Applicants who are poorly prepared run the risk of failing in the first round by disregarding institutional and discipline-specific “dos” and “don’ts”. A written application for a position or a professorship must be put together with considerable professionalism.

In the service offered by the German Association of Professors and Lecturers, academics can submit their application documents for critical scrutiny by a professorial adviser, who will evaluate them and make helpful recommendations.  

Fee: €120, - plus VAT

The first 100 days – Coaching for newly appointed Professors

Receiving an offer of a professorship at a new university is an important step in any academic’s career – be it their first appointment, their second or indeed their third. A new start of this kind brings unexpected challenges, especially if the targeted professorship includes a management role. The process of taking up the new position therefore needs to be planned meticulously. This is why we offer two coaching sessions which are intended to supplement each other:

  • From a legal perspective and by providing empirical feedback, a DHV-adviser prepares you professionally for all aspects of your new position. Knowledge of the legal circumstances at your future place of work is indispensible. Your individual circumstances constitute the focus of these coaching sessions. These might include the following points:
    • the legal framework at your target university (the higher education law in the German state in question, the catalogue of tasks and duties, the law governing outside professional activities, examination law etc.)
    • the organisational structure of the university (university constitution, faculty constitution, administrative regulations, and terms and conditions of use of the institute/department)
    • procedures (e.g.: course provision, applications for performance bonuses, applications for sabbatical leave etc.)
    • academic self-government and its remuneration
    • hierarchies of authority in your place of employment and your institute

Fee: €198, - per 60-minute hour plus VAT

Awaiting you at your new institute are an unfamiliar culture, pre-existing and established group structures, unknown norms and ground rules, not to mention people who, depending on their position and interests, have their own expectations of the “new person”, who will judge you and have a critical eye on your first steps and decisions. Your predecessor might well have been influential in certain structures and the departmental culture and – consciously or not – have influenced the expectations placed upon their successor. As this successor, you must identify and understand these circumstances as quickly as you can and draw the appropriate conclusions. It is often the case that you will need to take important decisions based on insufficient information and a lack of confidential feedback from your new colleagues and staff.

Our coaching sessions for newly appointed professors help you to master your first 100 days in your new job in this context as well as others, and to choose the right forms of communication and leadership to set the tone for a lasting and successful career. The topics and content of these coaching sessions is arranged by agreement to suit your individual needs.

The sessions cover a range of topics, including:

  • leadership and management skills
  • setting up and running teams
  • preparing and conducting meetings with staff members
  • efficient and appropriate communication
  • conflict resolution

Coach: Dipl.-Psych. Rainer Osterhorn, Trainer and Adviser for Leadership and Organisational Development, Hamburg

Fee: €198, - per 60-minute hour plus VAT and travel expenses (when incurred)

Coaching for University Professors

An appointment to a “university chair” brings with it a host of challenges. The holder must take responsibility for shaping the professorship, for its personnel and for its finances, responsibilities for which she or he has usually received no specialist training. In addition, every “new” position rests upon established organisational procedures and practices with which the new professor is – at least initially – unfamiliar. The DHV’s new programme of professorial coaching marks a contribution to helping you familiarise yourself with the external framework (law and finances) of your position and how to optimise and get the most out of an academic research unit. This requires creating a corporate identity for the university chair as well as taking a systematic approach to the professorship. The aim is to optimise the management of the resources and personnel, to create frictionless organisation in your teaching programme and to create optimal conditions for successful research. In addition, depending on the particular professorship, the coaching sessions also deal with personnel management, the visibility of the professorship, and the everyday practical functioning of and allocation of work in support of the chair.

The professorial coaching sessions offered by the DHV take place – as required and following intensive preparation – at the location of the university chair. This makes it eminently possible – in consultation with the chair-holder – to involve academic and non-academic staff in agreeing a set of guiding principles for the research unit as a whole.

Prior to the in-situ coaching sessions, the professor and the coach will agree on which areas of discussion to prioritise. At the same time, the coach will equip herself or himself with a comprehensive overview of the legal framework governing the position in that organisation and the management of the university chair.

Cost: €1,600, - per day (eight 60-minute hours) plus VAT and travel expenses (where incurred).

Individual Coaching for future University Rectors and Presidents

A university management position demands an ever-increasing level of professionalism. Professors wishing to take up such a position should prepare themselves adequately for the task. A familiarity with the political and legal framework of a university is just as important as a knowledge of its management and organisational structures – including its associated power relations. The work of a university president is as much about strategic political issues as it is about personnel management and personnel development. Added to this is the mediation of conflicts, interaction with politicians, and collaboration with trade and industry representatives and members of the print, radio and television media.

Our personal one-on-one coaching prepares you for this wide range of challenges. The DHV’s legal experts, together with an experienced team of communication, leadership and media trainers and mentors, will provide you with the best possible preparation for the tasks and duties awaiting you in your management career.

Time and fee: by arrangement. We would be delighted to make you an offer based on your specific needs and requirements.

General Career Planning and Advice

How do you envisage your academic career? Are you facing the decision whether to accept an assistant professorship or to do a habilitation? Are you considering transferring from a job in industry or moving from abroad to take up a position at a German university? Do you find yourself at a professional crossroads? What can you do to make yourself eligible for a professorship?

We can provide support as you develop your individual job and career plan and offer you professional help in choosing your optimal location. The DHV’s team of experienced advisers or external mentors and advisers will devote themselves to answering your specific questions. And you can decide what kind of advice you would like to receive. This might include:

  • analysing your career situation
  • compiling a profile of strengths and weaknesses
  • identifying qualification profiles and pathways
  • identifying targets
  • developing an individual career strategy
  • identifying and listing alternative pathways
  • self-advertising and marketing
  • combining career and life planning

We are delighted to be able to place at your disposal our competence, our experience and comprehensive know-how which we have accumulated over many years of advising professors. We would be happy to develop a bespoke set of solutions tailored to your particular circumstances.

Fee: One half day of coaching (4x 60-minute hours): €720, - plus VAT

Feedback on our coaching and advisory services

  • “… a dependably competent and dedicated service, loyal and reliable, with a remarkable ability to place themselves in the negotiating context. It is in no small part thanks to them that the result of the negotiations at my home university turned out so well … If colleagues of mine should ever find themselves in a similar decision-making position, then I will wholeheartedly recommend the coaching service offered by the DHV.”
  • “I am very grateful for the detailed answers they gave and the speed with which they responded!! I will definitely follow their advice!”
  • “Their suggestions were extremely helpful and definitely contributed to increasing my professorial salary. Many thanks!”
  • “Your advice contributed greatly to the success of the negotiations because it helped me to clarify my position and increase my level of confidence.”
  • “Thanks to your advice a good many things went much better than I had expected at the outset.”
  • “I have already recommended the legal advisory service provided by the DHV on a number of occasions and will continue to do so. It has really been of considerable value and an indispensable help to me.”
  • “Your advice completely changed the direction of my appointment negotiations and resulted in an outcome that surpassed anything I could have expected – and these were without doubt the most important negotiations of my professional career.”
  • “P.S. Did I mention that I found your coaching phenomenal?”
  • “You have provided me with such excellent and competent advice in the past few months, I am very pleased.”
  • “Once again, thank you very much for your help through my appointment negotiations. You were the greatest help in the decision-making process and during the negotiations!”
  •  “I am really very pleased with the outcome of the appointment negotiations and would like to express my deepest gratitude for the good advice which is what made this result possible at all.”
  • “Many thanks for your detailed opinion! You drew my attention to several issues that I would or could not otherwise have taken into consideration.”
  • “The support I received from the DHV was excellent, as usual.”
  • “Many thanks for your prompt and precise response! The information you have provided is a great help in my preparations for my impending negotiations.”
  • “I can only recommend the one-on-one coaching. This investment will certainly have been worth it.”
  • “My appointment negotiations would not have resulted in such a positive outcome without the support of the DHV – especially its extremely encouraging advice.”
  • “The Association of Professors and Lecturers is now helping the second generation of our family in time-honoured fashion. We have good reason to be doubly pleased.”
  • “I am eternally grateful for all your help and advice!”
  • “Without you, I would have been lost!”
  • “I am very pleased to know I have you by my side as my adviser during this momentous time.”