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Bridging Interculturalism and Coaching

Following our passion for bridging across our own “professions” and expertise, we launched an Intercultural Mentor Coach Program to bring interculturalism to coaching. Today, with its First Edition successfully completed, we would like to share with you what we’ve learnt and our plans.

The Intercultural Mentor Coach Program

In our 6 hours Mentor Program we bridge interculturalism and coaching. We interweave the intercultural competence with ICF’s 11 competencies, based on three pillars.

1. Intercultural Competence, Why and How Coaches Should Develop It?

Gone are the days of the absolute and exclusive realm of IQ. Emotional Intelligence (EQ) has now its undeniable place among leaders’ and professional’s competences. Empathy and active listening being widespread notions in coaching, EQ development is easily and undeniably linked to coaching competences. However, there was no need to mention it as a separate core coaching competence.

Now, scholars as Julia Middleton and supporting statistics have shown that in a Globalized World Cultural Intelligence (CQ) is as important as EQ. We think this to be true for coaching competences as well.

Similar to finding EQ in many behaviors of the 11 competences, our strategy in the Program is to revisit them through intercultural glasses. By this approach we also celebrate ICF’s decision not to separately mention Intercultural Competence as one of coaching core competences but to let us explore it through its behaviors.

This approach allows to develop coach’s CQ, to increase intercultural self-awareness and it helps to understand how the coachee’s culture can influence the coaching process … as one of the participants for the first Program stated

“ this intercultural filter on the 11 competencies makes it more exciting” .

These are some questions we propose our mentees to explore: am I aware of where I would find myself in Bennett’s DMIS in my coaching practice? Am I aware of different communication styles, different body language when I coach? Am I aware of time and proxemics when I coach? Am I aware of the different role the notion of ‘mistakes’ has in learning?

2. Translation, an Approach to Deeply Grasp the 11 Competencies

We believe that translation is an excellent way, even a new paradigm as François Ost suggests, to understand our global and complex world. In our Program we use our own as well as mentees’ multilingualism as an alternative way to approach the 11 competencies. Some differences in linguistic versions through ICF Chapters seem to go beyond translation choices and we can learn a lot by analyzing the different linguistic negotiations that took place in translations.

For instance, does it make sense for coaches to solely use Direct Communication with Brazilian coachees? As ICF Competence #7 refers to Direct Communication we can find some questioning on its exclusive approach on some translations.

3. Intercultural Tools

Last but not least, we identified some traditional intercultural exercises that, adapted, can be very useful in a coaching process. For most of these tools we aimed for a double purpose.

First, we chose exercises that allowed the coach to increase intercultural self-awareness.

Then, we explored tools that can be used in a coaching process.

This type of exercise allows, for instance, practicing the classical distinction between describing and judging to develop competence # 5. It can help the coach to accompany the coachee in creating awareness (competence # 8).

Next Step

This journey continues and we have a new edition coming up to create once again

“ an international group to examine ICF’s 11 core competencies with humor and smile” ( Geneviève)

Looking forward to having you on board.

Jimena & Roberta

New Intercultural Mentor Coach Program: September 20th& October 4th2018, 2pm-5pm CET. For more information contact us

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Coaching & Management Interculture - Français
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