Nov 232008

Dr. Earl R. Smith II

Coaching has become an important success factor for companies that are extending their business – both domestically and into the international market. The challenges to companies seeking to do business in foreign countries are particularly acute and often daunting. I have worked with companies – and institutes representing them – from a dozen different countries. These have ranged across the globe – including Asian cultures, Western European companies and Central European associations. The experiences have been different in superficial ways but very similar at their foundations. Attempts to do business across cultural lines seem to bring the same experiences independent of which cultures are involved.

One thing is certain; the traditional approach to coaching is often less than useful in these situations. A fundamental reason is that the coach will be biased towards one of the two cultures involved. This understanding was gained during my PhD work in Scotland. My thesis focused on developing an alternative to cross-cultural comparative analysis. I learned that all such analysis was biased towards the home culture of the author of the study. If you do not believe me, read two of the many books comparing American and British cultures and you will see what I mean. Pick an American and British author. The differences will be startling.

The problems of cross-cultural business have become even more acute as globalization spreads companies across multiple cultures. Coaching needs to advance to a new level. Executive coaching can no longer employ outdated, unscientific, simplistic executive coaching models. Most all successful corporate coaching programs need to be built on validated, behavioral models and accelerated behavioral change techniques. With a behavior-based coaching approach, a member of management can be taught how to self-manage and significantly advance his personal and professional skill sets, feel balanced, in control and empowered – and will be able to make the maximum contribution to his company. The empowered individual now acts instead of reacts, thinks creatively, works well under pressure, makes good decisions and communicates clearly. Global leadership qualities emerge, because as soon as an executive leader, such as a CEO or Chairman, develops his best performance, so does his company.

Creating an effective Corporate Executive Coaching Plan can provide a relatively quick and cost-effective increase in both individual and company productivity and well-being. Using management assessment and leadership development tools, well-trained corporate coaches can develop and implement a plan to assist people to develop competency by identifying the key aspects such as beliefs, values, attitudes, and thinking processes, which affect both professional and cultural expertise. The first step is to recognize that developing an effective corporate coaching program will depend largely on the manner in which the method is used as well as how the necessary behaviors are identified and addressed. However, the key to success in any corporate executive coaching plan is the selection of the appropriate management assessment tools to fit the individual’s specific needs. Not all corporate coaching plans are suitable for everyone. Executive Coaches often tailor-make corporate coaching plans for each individual leader within a corporation. No two plans are alike.

Corporate executive coaching is now recognized as an important tool for executives to achieve successful behavioral change in order to succeed in the business world today. Executive behavior is the sum of professional skills affected by personal skills and behavioral aspects such as beliefs, values, attitudes, motivation, thoughts, and unconscious drives.

A few of the elements that are included in a successful Corporate Executive Coaching Plan are the accurate leadership assessment of behaviors and situations, coupled with behavioral modification and adaptability tools as well as performance benchmarks so that executives can fine-tune their own actions. Another element includes self-monitoring and support mechanisms to assist the executive within the scale of the job functions.

Some of the benefits of corporate coaching by an Executive Business Coach can be identified by the following:

  • Behavioral Perspective: The Corporate Executive Coach recognizes all the assumptions and values that affect the executive’s professional choices and behaviors. The Coach will then employ valid behavioral change techniques to assist the executive through the process of self-awareness and skill building to achieve lasting behavior changes, self-development and performance enhancement.
  • Tailored Approach: Each Corporate Executive Coach observes their own cultural perspectives and beliefs to develop a personalized and rather objective working relationship with the executive – but the cross-cultural coach has the ability to do the same for both cultures.
  • Intercultural Knowledge: The Corporate Executive Coaches role is to apply their knowledge of successful interactions across various cultures to the executive’s behavioral and performance issues that need to be addressed.

Corporate executive coaching equips and encourages executives to meet their day-to-day challenges by assisting them to develop self-awareness of their behavior patterns; cultivating awareness of how others perceive them; capitalizing on their leadership strengths; acquiring new leadership strategies and tactics; and in turn achieving their executive and corporate goals.

The challenges of applying these methods to cross-cultural and multi-cultural situations are that the number of factors to take into consideration multiplies exponentially as additional cultures are added. If you are dealing with a multi-cultural challenge, send me an e-mail and we will arrange a time to talk.

© Dr. Earl R. Smith II



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