intercultural coaching

If coaching is largely about shifting and expanding people’s perspectives in a way that they can translate into daily actions, then working with individual belief systems and assumptions is vital. Beyond these individual creeds, coaching has to explore the embedded collective paradigms, which feel to humans like the water that fish blissfully and obliviously swim in.

Integrating the cultural dimension into coaching is not only necessary to increase coaching’s validity and applicability in today’s intercultural environment. It is also an opportunity to learn from alternative cultural perspectives about crucial areas such as communication, thinking, time, power, identity, purpose, organization, or territory. Bridging coaching and interculturalism leads to a more creative and global form of coaching.

We consider coaching both as a profession and as an important function of leadership. We define coaching as the “art of facilitating the unleashing of people’s potential to reach meaningful, important objectives”. The distinctions made in Coaching Across Cultures allow the unleashing of additional human potential by systematically tapping into the richness of cultural diversity, into the wisdom that lies in alternative cultural perspectives.



Complex nature of human behavior produces many communication problems. It is worth to explore how diverse cultural orientations influence the way we perceive and interact with an increasingly culturally diverse world. The overall purpose of our executive coaching is to understand causes of intercultural conflicts in different communication settings and how to manage them effectively. We can work together on three areas of development:

COGNITIVE means: the head (learning about your own and other cultures, and cultural diversity)
PHYSICAL  means: the body (using your senses and adapting your movements and body language to blend in)
MOTIVATIONAL means: the emotions (gaining rewards and strength from acceptance and success)



TO LEARN how culture, your own and other peoples’, shapes the understanding of intercultural conflict analysis.

TO EXPLORE cultural awareness of ‘self’, ‘other’ cultures and the challenges encountered in interaction between people of diverse culture.

TO ANALYZE cases of intercultural conflicts in diverse situations namely; interpersonal, small group, teams at the workplace and global contexts, and acquire knowledge and skills that increase intercultural conflict competence.

TO GAIN a critical perspective on local and global issues by using service learning pedagogy to address problems ensuing from increasing cultural diversity at the own workplace.


Based on Cultural Intelligence approach we provide an Executive Coaching which integrates the cultural dimension and a global perspective. Using the CQ teaches strategies to improve cultural perception, we look at motivation (CQ Drive), cognition (CQ Knowledge), meta-cognition (CQ Strategy) and behavior (CQ Action) in order to distinguish behaviors driven by culture from those specific to an individual, suggesting that allowing knowledge and appreciation of the difference to guide responses results in better business practice.

Bildschirmfoto 2016-03-14 um 16.35.21

Van Dyne, & Livermore describe four CQ capabilities: motivation (CQ Drive), cognition (CQ Knowledge), meta-cognition (CQ Strategy) and behaviour (CQ Action). CQ Assessments report scores on all four capabilities as well as several sub-dimensions for each capability. The four capabilities stem from the intelligence-based approach to intercultural adjustment and performance.

CQ-DRIVE – CQ-Drive is a person’s interest and confidence in functioning effectively in culturally diverse settings. It includes: Intrinsic Interest – deriving enjoyment from culturally diverse experiences Extrinsic Interest – gaining benefits from culturally diverse experiences Self-efficacy – having the confidence to be effective in culturally diverse situations.

CQ-KNOWLEDGE – CQ-Knowledge is a person’s knowledge about how cultures are similar and how cultures are different. It includes: Business – knowledge about economic and legal systems Interpersonal – knowledge about values, social interaction norms, and religious beliefs Socio-linguistics – knowledge about rules of languages and rules for expressing non-verbal behaviors.

CQ-STRATEGY – CQ-Strategy is how a person makes sense of culturally diverse experiences. It occurs when people make judgments about their own thought processes and those of others. It includes:
– Awareness – knowing about one’s existing cultural knowledge;
– Planning – strategizing before a culturally diverse encounter;
– Checking – checking assumptions and adjusting mental maps when actual experiences differ from expectations.

CQ-ACTION is a person’s capability to adapt verbal and nonverbal behavior to make it appropriate to diverse cultures. It involves having a flexible repertoire of behavioral responses that suit a variety of situations. It includes: Non-Verbal – modifying non-verbal behaviors (e.g., gestures, facial expressions) Verbal – modifying verbal behaviors (e.g., accent, tone)


time is money

If your culture considers time as a scarce resource, that belief might have lead you to learn to manage time quite efficiently …but also to be caught in a permanent juggling act, running from one task to the next. A coach, when stuck in this worldview that “time is money,” could paradoxically exacerbate the problem by helping her clients to succeed at cramming even more into an already bursting schedule. By learning to view time as abundant, an outlook other cultures cherish, coachees are able to slow down and see more clearly what is truly essential. Similarly, believing that you are in control will typically lead you to pro-actively make your dreams happen (self-fulfilling prophecies). Yet taken to an extreme, this belief may incite people to succeed at all cost, including cheating or breaking down. On the other hand, when you respect nature and allow it to be in charge, you have to listen to your body and allow time for recuperation. Considering these alternative belief systems, as they are represented in different cultures, helps coachees to broaden their perspective. By taking care of themselves and of others they may achieve more sustainable success.



Getting involved with someone from another culture is very exciting and rewarding. Your friend or your significant other may show you the colors of life you have never seen, make you hear the music you never thought existed, and open your mind in ways you never realized were possible. Yet there are times when both of you misunderstand each other’s customs and cultures, and there are times when you find it so difficult to communicate that you don’t even try. Coaching has been known to be the tool that helps relationships flourish and succeed, so feel free to get in touch.


“My friends here do not struggle as much as we do. But then again, they don’t have to synchronize two different sets of cultural and religious backgrounds. We often clash over specific issues, like food. It drives me crazy that she doesn’t even let me cook pork. I think our arguments have gotten worse since the birth of our daughter. We weren’t sure how to raise our kid. Whose traditions do we pass on?” 

Mixed marriages – marriages between people of different faiths, races, ethnicities and geographic regions – often face additional struggles and challenges than people from the same cultural background, conflicts often multiply… Experts point to three issues that frequently cause misunderstandings and fights:

COMMUNICATION STYLE: People are so oriented to psychological interpretation that when a wife feels her husband isn’t paying attention to her, she doesn’t realize it’s because he has a different way of listening or of being involved in the conversation,” she says. Depending on what culture people are from, they will differ in how loudly and quickly they speak, and how they argue, tease and listen.

PARENTING: couples are often shocked when they become parents and realize that they have very different perceptions of how kids should act. Specifically, discipline, expectation of appropriate gender behavior, types of toys and the teaching of manners are very much culturally derived.

FAMILY: disharmony can result from differing cultural attitudes toward the extended family.

Mixed Marriage


How can intercultural couples cope and maintain a loving relationship when faced with multiple roadblocks? Here are some strategies:

LEARN all you can about your partner’s culture. Become familiar with his or her cultural and religion background with no obligation to change yourself or convert to the other’s style.
NEGOTIATE and renegotiate dicey issues. Ideally, the time to discuss and make agreements about intercultural topics is before the wedding.
COMMUNICATE with in-laws. It is wrong to assume that older people are incapable of change or that they won’t talk about cultural issues.
BE TOLERANT. You need to allow for more than one right way of doing things.
TRY s a parent to anticipate the knee-jerk reaction that you might have when your partner tries to promote his cultural ways or when your child adopts elements of your partner’s culture.
RECOGNIZE differences in conversation styles, become intercultural competent.
BE OPTIMISTIC about your multicultural family – growing up in a bicultural family can offer children a rich background and lots of additional values.



We would be happy to talk with you about your issues, needs and possible solutions. Please contact us for the first free consultancy.