I recently read a response to someone’s complaint or request for advice, in an online expat group, that read “Why is everyone always trying to solve things by selling something? At one point, we could ask for advice and receive it in a community without having to pay for it.”
The expat space is particularly burgeoned with coaches, workshops, webinars, service providers, and more. And moving isn’t easy! So it’s not a surprise that an industry has developed around it – with a fancy name (global mobility), certifications, and more.
As I reflected on the responder's question, I realized that they had touched on something critical. How do we develop or find our communities of support? For some groups it exists by virtue of shared experience and some other identity. But, the larger a group gets the harder retaining the qualities of trust and mutual investment become. Hence someone asking a question in a group of 20K members on Facebook being seen as an opportunity to bill a client as opposed to supporting an individual.
As a coach and facilitator in the repat space, I wondered what do I add to the equation that you might not get from your community? After all, the grief of loss and change and excitement all pass to a new baseline sooner or later. Is it worth paying someone to get over this or better to accept that it is what it is, knowing that it will pass.
In her workbook, The Re-Entry Roadmap, Dr. Cate Brubaker talks about our ability to acknowledge and recognize how re-entry is different from other experiences that we may feel simultaneously. How it can impact these other experiences and often be misattributed, resulting in us carrying around rocks or templates or assumptions for years, without resolving them into a new flourishing identity. I think that in addition to her book, this is where coaching comes in.
The ICF definition of coaching is: “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”
So, how does coaching address what we’ve identified as some of the repatriation challenges: (btw, this isn't the only space folks are asking if they should be hiring a coach, this article two days ago from the Harvard Business Review asks the same thing and has some great pointers about where you need to be to prepare for coaching!)
1. The first part of the definition says partnering. You get a partner in your coach, someone who is willing to listen to you without judgement, with unconditional positive regard, and with empathy. This in and of itself can be powerful. How often are we truly heard? It’s also the sense of community that we are often seeking as we try to find our way in a new environment (whether that be external or our orientation to it).
“Priya is perceptive, thorough, and kind in her coaching approach. Her observations and assessments come from a place of deep listening and the ability to recognize her coachee's helpful and/or hurtful motives, expectations, and fears.”
2. In the midst of our move – dealing with pack-outs, ensuring we have all the papers we need, getting everything in order to say farewell and get excited about the transition – it’s hard to imagine time to reflect in any way, but particularly in thought-provoking or creative ways. It can also feel too overwhelming to think in a creative way. Through coaching, your partner (the coach) helps facilitate exploration of your own creativity and thinking. This can help us re-center ourselves, resource ourselves, and see opportunities where we were previously stymied.
“I was going through a significant life transition and Priya helped me address specific issues that I was confronting, in part by engaging me in a way that allowed my to look at these issues differently.”
3. While inspiration is easy to overlook in this definition, coming home can feel rather bland. We may be prepared to know everything or find ourselves feeling complacent. Partnering with someone looking through your same lens, but bringing an external perspective can help us start to discover new things about our situation and find inspiration. Working with a coach can help you find ways to tap into that creativity and develop whatever it is your seeking. One of my clients once told me:
“I have to credit you…for the phrase that I’ve made the theme of my goal board: ‘If you can’t find what you need, create it.’”
4. And finally, maximizing professional and personal potential. A coach sees each client
as full of untapped or unknown possibility. Our goal is to make that potential known to our clients to help them discover their own potential and develop it. A client I had already knew how to hold herself accountable and process her own feelings, but by partnering with someone that had no assumptions about her and allowed her to fully manifest in that way, she was more prepared for her own transition:
Priya offered concise, thoughtful and helpful counsel. Through her guidance I was able to move forward more each week than I ever would have on my own. She showed me how I can be play a more active role in a happier and fuller life by showing me how to set clear and achievable goals that will help me with whatever comes next.
Thinking coaching might be right for you? Ask yourself the following questions regarding your re-entry experience so far. If you answer yes or agree with one or more statements, reach out and schedule an initial discovery call with me! We’ll see if we’re a good fit and if coaching is a good fit for your journey at this moment:
--Do I feel like I need a little extra support in this journey right now, and I'm not sure where to get it?
--Do I feel unheard and like no one really understands what I'm going through, am I seeking that understanding?
--Do I feel stagnant or caught up in the grief of the changes?
--Am I uninspired by this change and focused on how to get out of it or survive?
--I feel overwhelmed by my own expectations of growth and fulfillment or unable to see how I might meet those goals.
--I struggle to hold myself accountable to my goals.
--I see opportunities in the world but am unsure how to pursue them.
--I feel too overwhelmed to see opportunity and am trapped in survival.
--I am seeking a change in perspective or narrative to take back ownership of my journey and choices.