In our third and final interview Heather looks to the future impact and benefit that Expat Coaching can have in business and on the expatriates personally as well as how she would like The Expat Coach Association and The Expat Coach Directory to be perceived.

In the short time since we did this interview, Heather has put much energy and work into developing further projects for the Association and Directory. One of the projects I’m happy to be a part of and have championed in a recent blog is that of The Expatriate Coaching Challenge, which is to source an international organisation (or number of) to take part in using and then measuring the impact that Expatriate Coaching has on its expatriate employees, their roles, their productivity, their assignment fulfillment and to the organisation’s Return on Investment (ROI) and bottom-line. Hard and soft benefits to be measured and I have no doubt they will impact.

If Reader, you as an expatriate think your organisation could participate or you as decision maker in an organisation know you could, please contact either Heather Markel or myself for further information! We’d be delighted to hear from you. (See end for contact details)

I’d like both to be perceived as professional resources that serve the needs of multinational corporations and their employees.

1. WHY DO YOU THINK THAT ORGANISATIONS SHOULD OFFER/ PROVIDE THEIR EXPATRIATES WITH COACHING?

As mentioned above, from a purely business perspective, it’s about protecting their investment. Again, I’m speaking from a “bottom line” perspective here, that organizations would relate to. The other reason they should offer coaching is because if a business expects to be competitive in other regions of the world than their corporate headquarters, they need to be able to blend cultures as they expand, so the coaching becomes imperative.

To meet corporate goals, it is then necessary for them to offer employees coaching to help orient them to the culture shifts they will have to learn and adjust to to be effective in business, and also socially, outside of work, so they can create a life for themselves beyond the office.

2. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BEING COACHED AS AN EXPATRIATE?

Some of the benefits include being able to effectively settle in to a new culture – to feel like they fit in, rather than sticking out like a complete foreigner having no idea how to begin friendships or how to go about blending in. Coaching is also a huge aid in deterring the onset of depression which can arise when moving to a new culture, stemming from the self-imposed isolation that can arise as part of the transition process.

Cross cultural team success - greater productivity and engagement

3. HOW CAN THOSE BE DEMONSTRATED TO AN EXPATRIATE EMPLOYER? DO YOU HAVE ANY EVIDENCE?

There is evidence out there, but I don’t think anyone has a good enough handle on it yet. The biggest statistics out there are Return on Investment (ROI) – the hundreds of thousands of dollars it takes to send an employee overseas. Combine that with survey results from organizations like Brookfield, which show the rate of assignment failure, and you begin to make “dollars and sense” out of the importance of expatriate coaching.

My hope for our Association is that we can plug into all the resources out there that have, or are developing, statistics to show the cost of the investment in the employee, versus the benefits of the employee staying in an assignment over time, versus money lost when an assignment fails. One of the avenues I’m pursuing is having some questions asked in the annual Expat surveys related to coaching, so we can start raising the profile of this important service.

4. WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS ON THE FUTURE DEVELOPMENT OF THE EXPAT DIRECTORY AND EXPAT ASSOCIATION? HOW DO YOU WANT IT TO BE PERCEIVED?

As I’ve mentioned above, part of the direction I would like us to head is to help us be more effective working with corporations. I’d like us to plug in to resources and businesses that make logical partnerships for us, and to uncover and bridge the gaps to our being more successful and larger in the world.

I’d like the Directory to become “the single most important and user friendly place to find an Expat Coach”. We’ll need some more feedback from our end-users to make this happen. In the near future, one direction I’d like to go is to add a “search by location” feature, so that people requiring a coach to be on site can easily find one nearby. I think the ability to search by languages spoken is probably another obvious direction.

I’d like both to be perceived as professional resources that serve the needs of multinational corporations and their employees.

5. HOW DO YOU SEE THE MEMBERS DEVELOPING THE GROUPS? HOW CAN THEY BEST SUPPORT THESE INITATIVES?

I think if we keep growing as we have, it may make some sense, in the near future, to have some sort of regional “team leads” that maybe mould the Association in the directions it needs to go.

I think we have to get solid on how we are going to accomplish the tasks we need to, and then I can see there being different leaders for different pieces of the Association so that we can have further reach and success. (Nicola’s comment – this is already happening since the interview!)

6. WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE EXPAT DIRECTORY AND EXPAT ASSOCIATION IN 5 YEARS TIME?

I’d like the Directory to be the #1 resource to find an Expat Coach, and probably, between the two, have developed some standard business practices that make it easy for corporations to work with us, as well as a real community – I would LOVE if we could have live meetings, perhaps once or twice a year, in different parts of the world, to really come together and brainstorm in the same room! I can already tell that would be extremely powerful.

7. WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE THEIR IMPACT TO BE BEYOND THAT PERIOD?

There is a natural merging that is happening between coaching and cross-cultural training. I think that’s going to become more and more apparent. I’d really like the world to know what an impact for positive change we can all have – think about how culture clashes frequently deter businesses around the world. Imagine bringing in a coach who can help businesses to understand one another through cultural understanding, and help them to create happier lives for transferred employees, which translates into higher productivity all around the globe!

This is another benefit Expatriate coaching can have for BOTH organizations and individuals.

8. IF YOU COULD MAKE ONE CHANGE IN THE WORLD THROUGH CREATING THESE GROUPS WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Ultimately, that being from a different culture is not a deterrent to living anyplace you like, and perhaps one day, helping all cultures to reach a point of mutual understanding and effective collaboration in life and in work!

9. HOW CAN OTHER EXPAT COACHES JOIN THE EXPAT COACH DIRECTORY OR ASSOCIATION?

At present, all they have to do is sign up!
The Expat Association is at www.theexpatcoachassociation.com
and to get listed on the Directory, it’s www.theexpatcoachdirectory.com/GetListed

Thank you Heather for the interview and your keen belief and passion to see Expatriate Coaching impacting on the success of Expatriate assignments for both international business and the expatriates individually. I wish you and the Association and Directory every success with The Expatriate Coaching Challenge.

If you or your business would be interested in knowing more about participating in The Expatriate Coaching Challenge please contact either myself via the comments box below or email expatriatecoach@livelifenowcoaching.com

OR contact Heather Markel via email heather@culturetransition.com

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