Research Paper: The Roles of Coaching in Experiential Intercultural Coaching

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By: Darren Chong

Intercultural Coach, POLAND

Research objective To find out how intercultural coaching differs from intercultural training and how both can be conducted in a multicultural team to gain the desired results.

Introduction: What is intercultural Coaching? Remember that old hackneyed proverb that goes something like: ‘Give a man a fish and he’ll feed his family for the day, give him a fishing rod and he’ll feed his family forever.’ Well, the tenuous connection is, that Co-Active Coaching does just that. It provides the client with the means to ‘grow’ through their own endeavors.

Intercultural coaching is defined as “utilizing culture as a force of change to unleash the coachee’s potential”. Both the coach and the coachee will take a look at the cultures that might be involved (national culture, organizational culture, social class, professional affiliation, etc.) and consider how to take them into account for the realization of the coachee’s objectives. Intercultural coaching has the same basic tenets as standard professional coaching but also takes into consideration the coachee’s cultural perspective, and those of the people around him/her.

Intercultural coaching focuses on creating an intercultural climate that allows the coach and coachee to become more culturally aware and adapt their behavior and expectations as appropriate. Traditional coaching has a tendency to assume a worldview that is very Western. This worldview however, does not translate universally across different cultures. People instinctively approach situations in business with their own ‘worldview’ (I.e. personal and cultural perspective). In contrast, in the intercultural coaching process it is important to be aware of the various worldviews that are in play (Richard Cook, Global Excellence Ltd).

Different Perspectives in the Intercultural Coaching Process

Intercultural coaching takes into account the different worldviews, needs, values and expectations that people from different cultural backgrounds can bring to the coaching process. These expectations can be of the coach and of the coaching process itself. In an intercultural coaching session it is important for the coach and the coachee to consider some of the following. What worldviews are in play? How will they impact the various stages of the coaching process? What changes will I need to make in my coaching style in order to be effective?

Intercultural coaching is a tool to leverage Personal, Corporate and Global Business Success. Coaching provides ongoing opportunity for self-reflection in a supportive environment without an external agenda. It allows for unbiased examination of current conditions, goal setting, and creating action plans – always with someone there to ask the tough questions, affirm commitment to action, and monitor results.

Not many will understand what coaching is all about, a simple phrase about coaching is “’helping people to learn through their own experiences”.

Intercultural competence

Intercultural competence is the knowledge, skills, and personal attributes needed to live and work in a diverse world. This includes cultural sensitivity, intercultural communication skills, personal and collective attitudes toward other cultures, and knowledge about other cultures. Both intercultural training and coaching are aimed to achieve this goal.
The components of intercultural competence are knowledge, skills, and attitudes, complemented by the values one holds because of one’s belonging to a number of social groups, values which are part of one’s belonging to a given society (Byrum, Nichols, and Stevens, 2001).

Difference between intercultural training and coaching

Coaching is a relatively new field, It is important to clarify the difference between intercultural training and intercultural coaching to your client before they decide if coaching is right for him at that point of time.