Coaching — Not Just for Athletes Any More!


Photo by Elizabeth Buie

Lots of people today work with life coaches to help them with their careers and personal lives, and expats are no exception. A coach’s objective is to help the “coachee” reach his or her full potential.

I interviewed six experts recently to find out more about expat coaching. Each has professional coaching training and are expats themselves.

I gathered a wealth of information, which I’ll break down into several posts. But first, let’s introduce you to the coaches.

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Emmanuelle Archer is French and lives currently in Vancouver, Canada. She’s the president if Winning Away, where she offers coaching to help you thrive in your life abroad. She also blogs about the expat life and coaching here. Emmannuelle speaks French and English.

Anne Egros had 20 years experience in business management with Fortune 500 companies where she trained and managed employees in 20 countries. She has relocated 11 times, and currently lives in Brussels. She offers coaching services for international small business owners, expat executives and managers. Anne is a native French speaker and coaches in English as well.

Heather Markel is a “culture transition specialist.” She helps expats and their families feel at home anywhere in the world. A native of the USA, she has lived in England, France and Switzerland and traveled extensively throughout the rest of the world. She coaches in both English and French. Heather has just introduced a new online program to help expats develop their social networks overseas more easily.

Evelyn Simpson describes herself as a 20-year serial expat. A native of Scotland, she’s moved six times, living in several European countries, a couple of Asian countries and the US. She currently lives in Belgium. Evelyn specializes in pre-move consulting and coaching accompanying partners.

Margarita Gokun Silver offers individual coaching, helping expats manage culture shock and cope with the frustrations and learning required to live successfully in a new culture. She also works with organizations and companies to help their expat staffs deal with communication and cultural issues. She was born in the Soviet Union and has lived in the US, Argentina, Italy, Austria, Poland, and Uzbekistan. She is tri-lingual (English, Spanish and Russian).

Louise Wiles works with people who are considering an overseas move but aren’t sure it’s the right move for them, and with expats who are finding it difficult to build happy, successful and fulfilled lives abroad. Louise hails from the UK and lives in Portugal.

So What Is Expat Coaching Anyway?

Coaching is not psychotherapy or counseling, and is completely results driven. Expat coaches use their expertise to help expats achieve their full potential in their lives abroad and the coaching is all results driven.

Louise points out that an expat coach often focuses on the cross-cultural issues of living and working abroad. That requires an understanding of cultural differences and “learning how to apply that understanding to help achieve personal or work related objectives.” Margarita adds, “Expat coaching is coaching in a niche that’s built around expatriates and the experience of expatriation.”

That doesn’t mean that every aspect of the coaching is concerned with cultural issues. According to Evelyn, “a coach leads a client through a process of personal development and growth.” This can include:

  • “Helping the client to identify goals which are consistent with her or his needs and values
  • Providing the client with the tools and structure and motivation to accomplish more than would be accomplished working alone
  • Encouraging a commitment to action and the development of lasting personal growth
  • Holding the client accountable for commitments made, thereby maintaining momentum towards goals”

Click here to see an article titled “What is Coaching” by Louise.

How Is Expat Coaching Different from Other Types of Coaching?

“The foundation principles are the same” with all types of coaching, Heather explains. “At the base of any type of coaching are life and career and relationship challenges. But expat coaching is related to the specific set of challenges that are associated with relocating overseas.”

Louise explains:

“There are a lot of similarities and parallels. The expat coach adds an

  • Understanding/knowledge of the challenges involved in working and living in cross cultural or multi-cultural environments. Helping clients to develop a personal awareness of the differences and how they can best operate cross culturally.
  • Understanding/knowledge of the issues involved in making big life transitions, likely adaptation issues such as culture shock, initial loneliness and overwhelm.
  • Recognition of the uncertain nature of expatriate life for people on assignment and how this can cause additional pressure and frustration.”

“Expat coaches know where you’re coming from, because they have first-hand experience of living overseas. They specialize in dealing with your main concerns as an expat: job search, culture shock, changes in your lifestyle, personal relationships, etc.” Emmannuelle states.

Margarita clarifies that the coaching tools and strategies are no different, but the niche is distinctive.

In the next post in this series, we’ll discuss the benefits of expat coaching and who can use the service.
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