Coaching World Issue 7: August 2013 - Page 29

her colleagues and developed a strategy to help her acculturate to her American office and to life in the U.S. By mastering tools for communicating more productively with her coworkers while at the same time channeling her ambition and energy into a community-service project outside of work, Helen was able to fulfill her own needs without stepping on her coworkers’ feelings. A WORLD OF RESOURCES “Developing Global Leaders: Policies, Processes, and Innovations,” by Torsten Kuhlmann, Mark Mendenhall and Gunter K. Stahl (Praeger, 2000) Communication is very personal, in part because we bring our own sense of cultural norms into every interaction, interpreting not only what is said, but how it’s said (tone, body language, et cetera). By learning more about Helen’s communication style— and understanding its relationship to my own—I was better able to help my client. Although navigating cultural differences between yourself and your client adds a new layer of complexity to the coaching interaction, understanding the nuances of intercultural coaching doesn’t need to be stressful. By mastering theories of intercultural communication and adding some best practices into your own coaching, you will develop the confidence to step outside your comfort zone and partner with clients from a variety of contexts and backgrounds. “Evidence Based Coaching Handbook: Putting Best Practices to Work for Your Clients,” edited by Dianne R. Stober and Anthony M. Grant (Wiley, 2007) “Geert Hofstede on Culture,” www.vimeo. com/29036835 Research First Proper preparation is the best way to demystify the crosscultural coaching process. Use research to better understand your own culture so that you will ultimately recognize your client or prospective client’s cultural context. The organizational development scholar Edgar Schein describes three levels in organizational cultures: artifacts (visible or audible elements, such as clothing or inside jokes), espoused values (stated philosophies, goals and rules) and basic assumptions (embedded and often unconscious behaviors at the heart of a culture). Fons Trompenaars and Charles Hampden-Turner build on Schein’s layers to explain cultures: the outer layer, aka explicit culture; the middle layer, aka community norms and values; and the inner layer, aka deepest, implicit culture. Observing aspects of the outer layer, such as clothing, food preferences, language, architecture and art, can provide insights into a culture. Other expressions of culture include patterns of eye contact, physical contact and emotional expression, as well as notions of modesty, parenting, leadership and success. “Global Coaching: An Integrated Approach for Long Lasting Results,” by Philippe Rosinski (Nicholas Brealey Publishing, 2010) The Power of Silence “Riding the Waves of Culture: Understanding Diversity in Global Business,” by Fons Trompenaars and Charles Hampden-Turner (3rd ed., McGraw-Hill, 2011) “Global Solutions for Teams,” by Sylvia B. Odenwald (Irwin Professional Publishing, 1995) “Process Consultation Revisited: Building the Helping Relationship,” by Edgar H. Schein (Addison Wesley Longman, 1998) One of the most identifiable intercultural differences coaches must be attuned to is the role of silence—specifically, pauses— in a conversation. Individuals’ conversational rhythms are shaped by their cultural background and primary language. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE > Coaching World | August 2013 29