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Beate Pracht and Andrea Eikelmann bid Team– and burn-out training with animal support as well as llama therapy: Five llamas help seminar participants to relax or improve team skills. In the interview, the two tell how they came up with the unusual Idea came and what is behind it.

Beate Pracht (abbreviation BP) was a qualified sports scientist and was a sports and movement therapist in a specialist clinic for psychiatry and psychosomatics for 15 years before she started her own business with “splendid lamas”. Andrea Eikelmann (abbreviation AE) is a graduate civil engineer and business trainer and makes sure that the Communication between People works smoothly. The two have already received six awards, including the 2009 German Training Prize from the Professional Association of Sales Promoters and Trainers (BDVT).

Frau Pracht, Frau Eikelmann, how did you get to Lama?

BP: I have been offering individual and group coaching in the areas of exercise, relaxation and holistic health management since 1990. In my 15 years of work in a specialist clinic, I increasingly had to deal with specialists and managers with stress-related illnesses such as Burnout to do. That showed me that you have to intervene preventively here. And it motivated me to finally implement my business idea and so I founded Lamas in June 2007.
When I then wanted to start my own business, it absolutely had to be in connection with nature, animals and movement. I had already read studies that showed great effectiveness in the use of animals in therapeutic Measures certify I then transferred these advantages to team and management training and supplemented them with my own approaches.

AE: Ms. Pracht and I used to work together as trainers. When I heard about the business idea with the llamas, I spontaneously said: "Yes, that's it!" I liked the idea so much that I was involved right from the start and learned everything about keeping, caring for and knowing about llamas together with Ms. Pracht.

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Training with animals can be heard more often - but why llamas?

AE: As pack animals, llamas have become experts in stress management over the centuries. Llamas can keep calm and relaxed despite high stress. And we use this ability in the stress management seminars ...

... and I thought lama spit might have a relaxing effect!

OPINION! Beate Pracht & Andrea Eikelmann: Personnel development & coaching with animals

BP (laughs): First of all, lamas only spit on llamas. The reasons for this can be food jealousy and rank fights. Since llamas can recognize people as a strange species, they don't spit on us. Exceptions in zoos are the so-called “mis-shaped” animals that have not been socialized in a way that is typical of the species.

I am relieved! But how does such a course go now exactly?

AE: Very practical, with many examples from everyday working life, so that the participants can apply what they have learned Workplace can apply immediately. The llamas serve us as practice partners during training – always with guidance, of course.

BP: For example, if someone acts uncertainly or is distracted and less attentive, the animals react restlessly and avoid them. They then try to go somewhere else. Or you do the opposite of that and try to assert yourself in an authoritarian and powerful manner, and then the lamas refuse completely. But if you fully engage with the llamas and are present, they are light to lead and follow with confidence. You can find an excerpt from a seminar on video at Spiegel-TV (Link: - you can watch the whole thing live!

They also offer leadership training: At first glance, llamas and managers don't have much in common ...

BP (laughs again): It's not about similarities at all. Llamas spiegeln that Behavior and hiring people without thinking, quite directly. We humans involuntarily always think before we act. And people evaluate what they experience – whether now negative or positive. Llamas don't do that. They just react in a completely natural way.

AE: You can, just what Guide to copy a lot from llamas: for example, llamas are herd animals and yet every llama has its own Character and they form a team of individualists. Even though llamas have a hierarchy in the herd, the “Executive”Is not that easy to see. Because it is usually an experienced animal that leads its herd “from behind” so to speak.

Is this also true for company management?

BP (laughs a lot): Well, we have five lamas - Kasimir, Hannibal, Caruso, Dancer and Diego - each animal has its own preferences and quirks. Just like us humans :-)

AE: Seriously, it's kind of true: We're a team eye level – in the “human team” as well as with the llamas. And we like to slow down, even if we often make phone calls from the pasture while we are feeding the "boys". Or on the go in the car – due to time constraints.

So the lamas are fully part of the team?

BP: Absolutely. The needs of humans and animals are both equally important. Of course with the addition that we humans are responsible for the lamas.

AE: The cooperation works great - we take turns in animal care and try to deploy everyone where he or she has his or her skills and can best implement and develop his or her potential.

OPINION! Beate Pracht & Andrea Eikelmann: Personnel development & coaching with animals

How does animal protection work?

BP: That is very important to us. We have full responsibility for the animals. And we take that very seriously. This also means, for example, planning enough rest periods for the animals and for theirs Health also to take preventive measures. And also to be the contact person for inquiries from the animal protection association.

Where are the animals?

BP: We are with our lamas in the middle of the Ruhr area, in Gelsenkirchen not far from the Schalke Arena. Who does not know it: the Ruhr area has many green areas and many recreation areas with the typical Ruhr area atmosphere - in the middle of the city and very livable.

And where do the seminars take place?

AE: The venue is located in the city on a meeting farm. We have an open stable, which means that the five llamas are out in the pastures year-round and have a shelter sheltered from the wind where they can protect themselves from the rain. Gastronomy and premises are available on site.

Do you understand your offer more than therapy or training?

OPINION! Beate Pracht & Andrea Eikelmann: Personnel development & coaching with animals

BP: We separate clear between training and therapeutic offers. In llama therapy we start from completely different approaches and goals. Each participant benefits in their own way from the nature of the lamas - be it in training with practical exercises or in animal-assisted movement therapy.

Now seriously: Is this really serious or just a funny idea?

AE: In numerous studies, researchers have shown that positive contact with animals also increases the experience of emotional closeness and Trust empower others. For example, those who pay attention to how animals communicate will also be more receptive to non-verbal signals in humans in the future.

Proven health effects of animals - especially in cardiovascular diseases - allow the conclusion that empathic relationships enable a feeling of calm and connectedness. This improves the handling of stress. And there is evidence that people who have positive contacts with animals are increasingly releasing oxytocin. Oxytocin is associated with feelings like love, trust and calm.

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