It’s the mind that makes us who we are!

Interview with Christine Edenstrasser, autonomy advisor & coach

Christine Edenstrasser ©wüstenrot/marcelkoehler.com

Christine Edenstrasser practically glows. She seems to be radiating energy and she immediately manages to draw in whoever she’s talking to. When La Loupe publisher Julia Skardarasy paid her a visit in her family home Kochhöfen near Kitzbühel, she felt like she could stay and talk to her all day. On her private estate the autonomy advisor coaches clients who want to take control of their lives and she helps them find their way out of tricky situations using innovative approaches. In her interview Christine Edenstrasser told us about her path – or rather detour – to coaching; about working with adults and about how one’s inner map to happiness can help in stressful moments.

L.L. / Ms Edenstrasser, you come from a Tyrolean family of entrepreneurs and for a long time you were a successful marketing manager. Then you changed course and decided to dedicate your time to dealing with people and the way they think – as autonomy advisor and coach. How come? 

C.E. / Even when I was a girl I had a psychologist in me, a philosopher, and a keen observer of people. Back then it was my biggest goal to become a good psychologist. However, I grew up as a member of a large family of entrepreneurs and it was important for all of us to choose the kind of training that would fit the company. In my case it was tourism management and marketing because we had an extraordinary inn, apartments, and a beautiful holiday village. Which is why I became a marketing expert in an internationally renowned company first. 

When my mother died in a car crash in 1999 I had to pass that particularly painful test in life and in the midst of this growth crisis I decided to become who I had always wanted to be! I did what I had always wanted to do. I went to Germany and successfully trained to become a qualified psychologist and psychotherapist. And shortly thereafter – in 2000 and 2002, respectively – my two wonderful sons were born. In 1999 I had utilized my personal crisis to start my second career. However, I chose to transition slowly because even in times of change we still need some level of security. I worked as an enthusiastic marketing manager in the area of tourism two days a week and at the same time I built up my consulting practice. At the beginning I found it fascinating to help people overcome their past and I was very much focused on psychology and psychotherapy. Slowly, however, I started to feel the need to help people with their daily lives and their future. I wanted to learn how to coach people and I did so in one of the most renowned institutes of its kind in Berlin. Coaching originally comes from competitive sports, it briefly focuses on the problem and then immediately switches to defining goals, putting them into practice and working out a timeline. People who keep developing and who want to fulfil their true potential and discover their strengths, both in a professional as well as in a private context, come to me when they need support. I find that kind of goal-oriented approach extremely fascinating.


Christine Edenstrasser ©wüstenrot/marcelkoehler.com
Christine Edenstrasser ©wüstenrot/marcelkoehler.com

L.L. / You work with a principle that is highly efficient, scientifically proven, and that has been awarded several prizes: “Working with the inner adult” according to the method of Dr Bock ®. Would you tell us what this fascinating concept is all about? 

C.E. / Between 2014 and 2015 I was the only Austrian to be part of a high-profile international network of only six TopCoaches where I was able to make amazing experiences directly with the creator of the method, Dr Petra Bock. Experiences that my clients profit from when it comes to reaching their full potential as grownup and free individuals, thus making them extraordinarily successful and giving them a purpose and high quality of life. During coaching we identify a client’s negative inner monologues – so it’s about getting to know someone’s inner life, their mindset, and changing it. Because it is that inner monologue – that people are often unaware of until their coaching starts – that people purposely use to keep themselves small, be extremely hard on themselves, criticise and push themselves, expose themselves to pressure or fear, chronically mistrust themselves or others, follow outdated rules or push themselves from one kick to the next. There is an amazing series of best-selling books by Dr Bock from Berlin and she’s the creator of that method. 

The goal of coaching is to sustainably reinforce my clients’ adult states, attitudes, and views and to thus help them be more efficient and naturally cooperative in our day and time. 

I am often consulted by people who are very successful in their careers but who have neglected love in the course of their lives. In the past many people felt that their job was more important than anything else. But now there is – and has been for years – a trend in the opposite direction which will take some time to reach the general public – but it’s unstoppable. Nowadays it’s about quality of life – that’s the guiding star of our time! And the same goes for coaching – many do not yet understand what they would even need that kind of support for.

However, the high degree of complexity and the fast pace of our time with all its potential choices also means that people in our day and age need to learn new skills in order to realise their full potential at work and in their private lives. Otherwise, and that’s something many experts agree on, the result will be “depression in paradise”. 

Christine Edenstrasser ©Alexander Kofler, in the headroom, innsbruck
Christine Edenstrasser ©Alexander Kofler, in the headroom, innsbruck

The goal of coaching is to sustainably reinforce my clients’ adult states, attitudes, and views and to thus help them be more efficient and naturally cooperative in our day and time. 

I am often consulted by people who are very successful in their careers but who have neglected love in the course of their lives. In the past many people felt that their job was more important than anything else. But now there is – and has been for years – a trend in the opposite direction which will take some time to reach the general public – but it’s unstoppable. Nowadays it’s about quality of life – that’s the guiding star of our time! And the same goes for coaching – many do not yet understand what they would even need that kind of support for.

However, the high degree of complexity and the fast pace of our time with all its potential choices also means that people in our day and age need to learn new skills in order to realise their full potential at work and in their private lives. Otherwise, and that’s something many experts agree on, the result will be “depression in paradise”. 

L.L. / You and your clients go out for Walk & Coach sessions. Is it really easier to talk about one’s problems while walking? 

C.E. / Many clients come from Switzerland, Austria, or Germany for their coaching and then they like to spend several days in Kitzbühel and the region, also to just enjoy the beautiful surroundings. In these cases I suggest coaching while walking. Before I put this idea into practise I tested several routes myself because it was important to me that the beginning is steep and dark – because it’s where we’ll talk about the problem. And then, after a certain point, the route becomes brighter and less tiring, and we’re awaited by a wonderful view of Kitzbühel. That’s where an inner paradigm shift takes place because now that we know the problem – we need an idea for a solution! Who doesn’t know what they want cannot possibly hope to reach it. So, the main question is: “How would you like it? What would it look like if it were really good for you?” Of course, for every Walk & Coach session, there also is real goal – such as the Hahnenkamm – and I try to pick a path that is relatively flat towards the end because it is about a change in perspective. On the way down, I’m in potential-mode which means that I rediscover the clients’ naturally positive characteristics when there is no more mental “block”. Many think back to their curiosity, their sense for adventure, their creativity, their generosity and fairness – just to name a few of the areas of potential free adults have. 

I generally adapt the routes to the different coaching phases. Walk & Coach sessions help “air” the brain; men are particularly fond of this type of coaching. And Kitzbühel really is a paradise for this kind of work – there is nothing to disturb the eye and hardly any other destination is as beautiful as the city at the foot of Hahnenkamm. It’s that Kitzbühel flair. Kitzbühel is en vogue.

“I learned to manage my own energy well.”

*view from the "Kochhöfe"
*view from the "Kochhöfe"

L.L. / You don’t just work on your private estate Kochhöfen though, you also come to Munich and Vienna on a regular basis. Does that mean you need the urban flair, too? 

C.E. / Yes, you’re right – I definitely need both. It wouldn’t work out for me to just be in the country. I am a passionate European and my job is: inspiration! I use city and countryside for my “truffle tours” where I work and wander around. I’m a big fan of Vienna and I like to utilise the global focus. I’ve even fulfilled a dream of mine there – I coach at Otto Wiesenthal’s Hotel Altstadt Vienna, surrounded by wonderful works of art, in one of its wonderful suites. The clients love it and the place certainly has a positive influence on them. I lead people to inspiration, I inspire them to change perspective, and I work out new options for them – and that works out wonderfully in places like these!

People in the country and in the city sometimes have different kinds of problems. And because I live in the country surrounded by wonderful nature, and I also regularly immerge in urban spaces I can empathise with different types of people. My clients notice this – and the reward is that they keep coming back for my advice, when they need an outside perspective – like a good lawyer or tax advisor my clients come back when they need me. One of my success factors – aside from excellent coaching methods – is the empathy between my clients and myself. In most cases the interpersonal aspect during the coaching process really is the essential ingredient!

L.L. / People often call you a superwoman. Would you consider yourself one, too? 

C.E. / It certainly makes me happy to be called a superwoman. Their power is strength and energy. And I’m able to give these two things but I also need to retreat, and I need quiet to get my strength back, too. A good saying in this context: “Attention goes where energy flows.” In former times I was often on fire, a fact which many people found amazing. But if you’re on fire like that you also have a weak spot – you’re always in danger of burning out. So, the chance here is: learn to find a balance between giving and receiving. Even in my leadership position there were moments where I personally managed my energy badly. In business administration it’s said: “The basis of all economic activity is a balance of giving and receiving.” I gave too much of my strength, which amazed everyone, but I didn’t know how to recharge. People who don’t know how to do this will run themselves ragged – that’s exactly what burnout is. So, I got to learn to receive! A clever question that I like to ask my clients in this context: “Who or what puts you in a good mood?”

Kochhöfe bei Kitzbühel © Johann Meindl, popkorn, wörgl
Kochhöfe bei Kitzbühel © Johann Meindl, popkorn, wörgl

I started mountain biking – it’s a wonderful way to find balance and lets me recharge my batteries completely. The thing is: what my generation was taught, first and foremost, was to function – an excellent skill. Today, however, we also need to know how to let go, to relax, and to enjoy. Later generations think much more about how to live their lives well, about what makes sense and what values matter in life and what individual traces they want to leave behind.

People generally are experts at their own problems and that leads them nowhere. It’s about being an expert at your own solution! When I ask clients who block themselves continuously by whining, complaining, and with their own perfectionism: “What is it you or that would need to change?”, they’re usually perplexed. People who are chronically unhappy generally spend little time thinking about solutions. When there is something we want to change about our lives, when we really want to take ourselves seriously as grownups, then we need to get out of our comfort zone and into a risk zone many people are scared of. I often say: “You need a sexy goal in order to really get started and change something.” Why sexy? When we really want something – then we are ready to invest the energy to reach it – that’s something everyone understands. So, with this “hot” goal in front of them, many dare to tread less stable paths and discover new ground they need to cross in order to discover something new at the end. Think of a challenging hike – how do you prepare? What shoes, how much food, how much training, what tours, what to do in bad weather, who will support you on your way to the finish? Coaching with the goal of making some kind of change happen is quite similar.

Christine Edenstrasser ©wüstenrot/marcelkoehler.com
Christine Edenstrasser ©wüstenrot/marcelkoehler.com

L.L. / What is it you need to recharge your batteries? 

C.E. / I have learned to manage my energy well. In the course of my life I have “surveyed” myself quite thoroughly – I know my strengths and weaknesses well. Which is why I don’t lose myself so easily anymore and only very rarely. I constantly watch over my personal success factors. My sleep, for example: I need exactly 7.5 hours to be fit the next day – and a wonderful bed with an amazing mattress was an investment into a new quality of life.

Aside from that my diet is important, which is why I shop with organic farmers from the region. I get my exercise and stretching by going through the Five Tibetan Rites on a daily basis. Fresh air and sunshine make everyone happy. And what’s most important for me is love – I want to love more than I live. An intense loving relationship with my beloved companion and accompanying our three children with interest – we are a colourful patchwork family – meets that need. Since I also love my job, my daily occupation brings me closer to my life’s goal, too. I am strongly connected to my family and the social life of my time and I occasionally enjoy periods where I am simply off the grid and there’s nothing but quiet.

L.L. / Stress, pressure, and burnout have practically become widespread diseases. Do you have some impulses as to how not to let it get that far? 

C.E. / Practice makes perfect – and start early! The best thing would be to start by making sure parents and teachers provide education on the balance between giving and receiving, between performance and relaxation, between work and leisure. Some schools like the tourism school St. Johann am Wilden Kaiser have started coaching kids in this direction. They can communicate to them what else, aside from performance, is important – breaks, for example. Current sleep research says the following: between 1 and 3pm the body’s energy level reaches a “dead” point. Treating yourself to a 25-minute break during that time can work wonders on your personal energy level. Give it a try!

I like to bring up a quote, from one of my sources of inspiration, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: “Life is happy when it flows, between joy and sorrow, between creation and diversion, between company and solitude.” This quote has a lot that goes with a good day, a good week, a good year or a good life. It’s this balance that counts. Rainer Maria Rilke calls it the “Melody of life” …and if you’ve found a good rhythm, you should stick with it!


“In the balance between giving and taking I feel autonomous and it lets me shine and radiate in my professional and private life.” 

*Christine Edenstrasser
*Christine Edenstrasser


L.L. / You have tiring workdays. What’s the best way for you to come down after work?

C.E. / I consciously look at my days and weeks. I plan “energy service stations” in advance; and moments of quiet and relaxation. When I have particularly challenging workdays I reward myself with something special. And since I know what makes me happy it works. My map to happiness makes it possible. That means I actually made the effort to find out what exactly makes me happy. That process takes time and brains – but it works. I’ve put the map down in writing and I can look at it whenever I need to – because in times when resources are low we tend to completely forget what we need in order to recharge our batteries.

There is one thing that always works for me: exercise in the fresh air; the forest has become one of my best and most trusted friends. Grownup conversations by the fire or the lake – that’s what makes my heart sing. And watching fun movies with our kids and simply relaxing is like milk and honey at the same time.

Drawing up a map to happiness is something I tend to recommend to my clients when they need it – this kind of exercise often works as a booster for a person’s wellbeing. It makes you an expert for your own moments of happiness and also very autonomous. Because who is responsible for your happiness if not you? My six success factors: sleep, diet, a smart approach to digital media, exercise, fresh air, and happy love relationships. After 50 years of learning about life I’ve understood that these can be the main guidelines. In the balance between giving and receiving I feel autonomous and it lets me shine and radiate in my professional and private life.

Kochhöfe bei Kitzbühel © Johann Meindl, popkorn, wörgl
Kochhöfe bei Kitzbühel © Johann Meindl, popkorn, wörgl

Christine Edenstrasser

Coming from an Austrian family of entrepreneurs, Christine Edenstrasser grew up striving for development, prepared to take risks, and willing to embrace change. After a successful career as marketing and brand manager in an international company she now works as a personality coach and management trainer. 

It is her strong belief that development must always be focused on people. She feels it is her task to foster a paradigm shift in people because that’s what it needs for a change in society. She advises and coaches private clients, entrepreneurs, and managers in her private estate in Kitzbühel’s Alps, in Vienna, and Munich. 

Many of her clients value the beautiful atmosphere of Kochhöfen near Kitzbühel were a lot of her coaching sessions take place. Christine Edenstrasser will also happily move the coaching sessions out of doors, though: within the framework of Walk & Coach sessions it can often be easier to talk about difficult topics.

*Christine Edenstrasser
*Christine Edenstrasser