Who we are

For 20 years now, we have enjoyed working together as a special duo – as board advisors, leadership coaches, authors, and lecturers in leadership. And we are still just as passionate about our work as on day one. This is our third life – this is where we’ve arrived.

Sovereign leaders know their “purpose” by heart – the unique gift they bring to the world.

We were incredibly fortunate to meet 36 years ago when we were students of International Relations, International Law and Economics at the University of Göttingen in Germany. Our first lives revolved around just that – Middle East politics, conflict research, and international relations. We loved working as research and teaching assistants, as doctoral students at the University of Göttingen, and as fellows at Harvard University and the American University in Cairo. But after finishing our doctoral theses, we wanted to get out of this ivory tower. We had a deep desire to manage, to have an impact!

Deeply connected

This was the kickoff for our second life – as strategy consultants and managers: Kai first went to McKinsey, then as an Executive Board member to the European Winterthur Group and Credit Suisse. Anke started out at the Bertelsmann Foundation and at a Bertelsmann subsidiary, then went to Arthur D. Little. During this time, we ran multiple typical change programmes – and experienced their limitations at first hand. It was frustrating in a way, as we really wanted to trigger and lead deep organisational transformation. To do that, we had to get closer to the people.

Sovereign leaders never stop developing themselves – they cultivate a “growth mindset”.

Sovereign leaders know their blind spots and manage their cognitive biases.

That’s why we took the leap into our third life 20 years ago and founded our own company. With a clear mission: to help top executives and their teams transform themselves – and to successfully drive the transformation of their business. We inspire, motivate and lead those into personal transformation whom we know on equal terms: top managers. It is important to us to make sure, in particular, that those managers who usually perceive themselves as the “finished product” – due to their great success – never stop developing. A little more every day.

Fully independent

We do what we love, independent and free – and with our home as a safe heaven that strengthens us. Most of the year round, we now live in the wild and romantic natural setting of north-eastern Mallorca. We recharge our batteries here, and in our second home near Lucerne. We need pure nature. Why? It’s quite simple: we enjoy roaming the fields and forests with our two hunting dogs Lotte and Greta. And we see structures, shapes and colours in nature that energise our creativity. This is also expressed in the way we collect art. We are passionate about modern informal art, because it takes natural structures and works with them. The beauty of the imperfect fascinates us.

Sovereign leaders have a high EQ Emotional Intelligence to effectively leverage the collective IQ.

Dr Kai W. Dierke

„For me, strategic business growth and the personal growth of executives at the top of the corporation are inextricably linked. Without personal growth, there will be no sustainable business growth.”

Professional experience

  • 2003 DierkeHouben Leadership Advisors, Founder + CEO
  • Lecturer on Leadership, HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management
  • 1999 Winterthur Insurance, Group Executive Board Member
  • Credit Suisse E-Business, Executive Board Member
  • 1995 McKinsey, Senior Manager, Financial Services & Organizational Development

Professional expertise (selection)

  • MIT Sloan, The Neuroscience of Leadership
  • INSEAD, Psychodynamic Consulting and Coaching for Change
  • Harvard University, The Art and Practice of Adaptive Leadership
  • Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, Mindful Leadership
  • MIT, Systemic Foundations for Leadership

As a former Executive Board member of a European insurance group and strategy consultant, Kai Dierke is a trusted advisor and sparring partner on equal terms. Clients value him for his broad personal experience in top management and his comprehensive perspective: he forges a clear, convincing link between strategic corporate development, personal executive development and top team development.

Dr Anke Houben

„My clients often tell me that I fight for every soul. And they are right – that’s what I do, with passion, heart, and mind. I am close to the person, guiding out of the comfort zone into transformational personal development.“

Professional experience

  • 2003 DierkeHouben Leadership Advisors, Founder + CEO
  • Lecturer on Leadership, HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management
  • INSEAD Global Leadership Centre, Member of Executive Coaching Faculty
  • 2000 Arthur D. Little Consulting, Senior Manager, Strategy & Organization
  • 1998 Pixelpark Multimedia/ Bertelsmann, Consulting Unit, Berlin
  • 1996 Bertelsmann Foundation, Manager

Professional expertise (selection)

  • GOLEMAN EI, Emotional Intelligence Coaching (among 3 in DACH)
  • INSEAD, Psychodynamic Consulting and Coaching for Change
  • MIT Sloan, The Neuroscience of Leadership
  • Harvard University, The Art and Practice of Adaptive Leadership
  • HEC Paris, Consulting in Organisational Psychodynamics

With her many years of experience as an executive coach at the INSEAD Global Leadership Centre and the World Economic Forum, Anke Houben is a sought-after personal challenger and advisor in top management. Clients appreciate her clear management language and analytical acuity while addressing behavioral issues: she enables top managers to make the decisive leap to effective team collaboration and sovereign leadership.

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