Globalization has made international business deals more common than ever. More staff are being sent on an international assignments, participating in global teams or working with overseas clients, colleagues and suppliers. Interaction with people from different cultures is now an everyday occurrence. Assignments can fail and lucrative deals can be jeopardized or lost when international associates or clients are offended by staff who are unaware of other countries’ customs, culture or manners.
Intercultural coaching is a form of executive coaching that is tailored to help international executives and global companies engaging in global business. This form of coaching is extremely effective in helping executives who need to conduct business with a different culture. The success of any business engagement that involves working with another culture relies heavily on the executives who are responsible to business decisions abroad and use their management skills and business acumen in a different cultural setting from where they are used to.
This is similar to the process of learning a new dance or sport, or learning to play a musical instrument. Mastering any of these new skills requires a process of first learning the mechanics of the tool being used, aligning our bodies and brains accordingly, and practicing until the desired new skill becomes second nature. Brain theorists refer to this as creating new wiring.
For global managers to be most effective in intercultural communications, they need to internalize cross-cultural communication skills. Beyond Intercultural Training I propose that we go beyond creating awareness of intercultural distinctions, to internalizing the differences both intellectually and emotionally via intercultural coaching.
This new wiring of cross-cultural communication skills allows the executive to focus their energy on the business at hand, and liberate their mind from the confusion caused by miscommunication due to intercultural differences.
Perhaps a more effective approach is a phase process that focuses on empowering the executive to gain cross-cultural competence through one-on-one coaching sessions. The executive expands their range of thinking and communicating in order to become aligned with the culture(s) which are important to them.