This is the second part of a series on life coaching for expats. If you missed the first, you can read it here. In Part I I introduced the six coaches who contributed to this discussion, and reviewed what life coaching is and how expat coaching differs from general life coaching.
What Are the Benefits of Expat Coaching?
Coaching can help an expat thrive. With coaching, the new expat can adjust more easily to the new culture, get over homesickness more quickly, make friends and become part of the new community.
Louise also pointed out that a coach offers unqualified support, a focused and objective approach to creating a successful life in the new community, and better performance.
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Emmannuelle shared three benefits her clients report:
- Reaching their goals faster
- Increased focus and motivation
- Increased confidence
Evelyn works primarily with accompanying partners — the significant others of people whose companies send them on assignments overseas. She discussed a raft of benefits.
“Often when families move overseas, the impetus is one partner’s career and many times the other partner either puts their career on hold or takes a detour from their career path to accommodate the move.
“For those clients, the key issues are working though their sense of loss of identity and independence and guiding them to a way of life which gives them purpose and fulfillment. In addition, any accompanying partner can feel lost as they embark on life in an unfamiliar country and culture without their support systems of family and friends. Their partners go off to work their children go to school and there they are in a sea of boxes with no friends.
“Even a trip to the grocery store can seem intimidating, which is a horrible feeling for a person who is used to being independent and self-sufficient.
“Coaching can help those clients to renegotiate their relationships with partners, friends and family, it can give them the confidence to engage in the challenges of their new lives and perhaps most importantly it can help them to re-establish their identity and even discover new facets of their identity.”
The expat experience, added Margarita, “while being one of the most amazing things life can offer you, can also be among the most challenging. And so the benefits of having an expat coach is to have someone who can support you through all the ups and downs that the lifestyle brings with it and to help you have the best expatriate experience of your life.”
Expat Coaching: Who Can Benefit?
Heather feels anyone who will relocate in the future or has already done so can benefit from working with a coach.
Emmannuelle and Evelyn both commented that, although new expats are the most obvious group to benefit from coaching, any expat who is experiencing a challenge or who feels stuck can benefit. For example, Evelyn says, an expat who is about to become a parent overseas can really use a coach!
What sorts of issues, problems or concerns can an expat receive help with? The coaches provided a long list of issues, including:
- Work-life balance.
- Handling culture shock
- Relocation decision
- Preparation for the move
- Cross cultural understanding
- Coping with children and their relocation and adaptation issues
- Career/job search
- Starting a business
- Family issues
- Transition issues
- Identity crisis
How long does a coaching program last?
Depending on the results you’re looking for, it can be as short as three sessions or as many as 12, replies Anne.
Heather feels a decision to relocate might only take one or two sessions, where other issues can take longer.
The longest program Louise offers is eight sessions.
Emmanuelle agrees that more complex issues might require up to eight sessions.
Margarita generally recommends a three-month program.
Evelyn’s programs are completely tailored to the individual coachee.
Tips from the Coaches
Here are a few extra tips the coaches passed along.
To receive the most benefit from coaching, you must be willing to take responsibility for your own actions and your results. It works “when you are ready to change and have time to invest in yourself,” Anne states.
Louise adds, “Coaching is not about being told what to do in any way!” Instead, coaching is all about helping the coachee “overcome limiting beliefs about what they are capable of doing and make change that creates the life that they want.”
Anne warns prospective coaching clients to always check the coach’s credentials. Being an expat doesn’t make you a coach – you need formal training.
Heather suggests starting your coaching program before you move for best results.
Margarita pointed out that you don’t have to do everything yourself as an expat – help from a coach is just a phone call away.
Evelyn said most coaches offer a free trial session to see if you and the coach will be a good fit. Don’t be afraid to ask for one!
Emmanuelle summarized nicely: “Bring an open mind and a willingness to take responsibility for your own success overseas, and there are no limits to what you can achieve with your coach’s support!”
This was the second post in a three-part series. Read part three here.
Have you worked with a coach? Was it helpful? What were the biggest benefits for you?