Article posted on 12 December 2017

You coach the way you are

Yes, I have this saying I like very much: “You coach the way you are”. This is especially available when you coach people, exceptional people, who come from other cultures than your own.

I have worked with executives from 14 countries so far. From West Europe to South Africa, the executives I have known thaught me a very valuable thing: you never know where you will end up at the end of a coaching session. It’s the trip that is always fascinating to me and the unknown “grounds” I discover along with my clients.

Many people often ask me what it takes to be a coach at an international level. I believe it’s the so-called humbleness towards the client that one should always keep that is the most important. The culture is inside a person’s mind, character and definitions of external reality, so, as a coach, you often work and challenge other people’s assumptions. I always work with the things the person in front of me offers, without judging what I receive and listen.

The challenges are great, for me, as a coach and as an individual, and for my executive clients as well. I was once put in the situation of coaching a skeptical executive. “So, how can you help me? What’s in it for me? How is it possible that this will work for me?” I always say that coaching is about accompanying another person to discover what they themselves can do with what they already have (but not always know how to access). It sometimes takes a while for some executives to understand and see this. But when they do, it’s one of the greatest feelings and accomplishments for me. It’s the best reward for a professional.

“You make it look so simple, Lilia”, a vice-president from a Northern country once told me. I don’t know if I could say it’s actually simple, but I helped him simplify and sort out his things by himself.

I have lived in different cultures so far and I have dealt with various people. I have studied, read and prepared. But sometimes this is just not enough. No matter how much one would study the theory, reality is always unexpected and different from everything one could imagine. Theory might prepare you, but learning through the actual experience gives you a different feeling than what you find out from books.

In the end, more and more people show an open attitude towards coaching. They are curious, they want to understand the process and they are willing to give it a try. I’m there to support and encourage them ☺