A Coaching Model Created by Kalaivani Mattern
(Cross-Cultural Coach, INDIA)
Everything you possess of skill, and wealth, and handicraft, wasn’t it first merely a thought and a quest?― Rumi
This coaching model is based on my belief that every one of my clients is a hero and that they all want the best for themselves and the people around them.
Although my model was inspired by many of the fairy tales, mythology, fantasy fiction and movies I grew up with, it became what it is, because of my own ICA journey.
See your clients in all their potential― Bill Turpin
My heroes are men and women living and working in a culture (“nationality”) that is not the one they grew up in. It might be the call of adventure that made them set out on this road or perhaps it is a chance of wind, an opportunity worth their while, some times even a circumstance not of their choosing.
Whatever may the cause be, these adventurers are on a quest – a quest to win over new markets on behalf of their corporates and increase productivity in multi-cultural teams.
This kind of magic is especially tricky when the value system one grew up with (“cultural blueprints”) is challenged at the root-level. My clients come to me because they are aware of this cultural gap.
What they are looking for, is to find their own path without compromising on their core values or their identity. Some of their challenges could be :
The Pact at the “M & M” Inn
It all starts with a discovery session where hero and coach meet and greet each other at the “M & M” Inn : Mutual respect and Mindfulness.
These are the two pillars that hold up our coaching space. These are also, in my opinion, the magical fairy-dust that makes any cross-cultural relationship flourish.
Expectations and responsibilities of both hero and coach are clarified at this point.
The quest is some times assigned to the hero and is not of his/her own choosing (posting/deployment). In such cases, the agreement and boundaries should be clear to all parties concerned (hero, coach and the quest-giver=corporate).
All concerned parties shall check back with each other at pre-set intervals to see if the partnership is providing value and if the adventure is moving forward.
At this point, we are probably still sitting at the Inn quaffing gallons of coffee/tea/beverage of choice!
Welcome to the Quest!
And so it Begins
If a man knows not to which port he sails, no wind is favourable.― Seneca
After the initial discovery session, if we both agree to work together, I would request the hero to explain the quest in detail to me. The goal of the quest could be just for that session or for the entire period of contract. It could be a shadow of a goal too which will become more concrete as we proceed.
A deeper querying of the expectations and goals can help the hero look below the surface at his/her personal need for coaching rather than seeing the process as a quick way to fix a problem.
These queries also give me an opportunity to understand why the hero undertook this assignment and provides me a framework for future sessions.
Whatever be the reason that brought the hero to coaching, the path ahead lies open as long as there is a willingness to change the status quo: off we go….
Begin, be bold, and venture to be wise.― Horace
My heroes have chosen to live and work in a new culture and/or working with a culturally diverse team. Some of their challenges are unique to that lifestyle.
They are looking to apply the cultural competencies they have acquired and willing to change the status quo. Some times my heroes find themselves looking for alternate routes to their goal and yet at other times be path-breaking pioneers.
My firm belief is that my heroes usually know what they want and should do, even if the details are not clear to them at the beginning of a session. At times they need only a mirror, at times a sounding board and more often, a quiet space to reflect upon: the possibilities open up.
Coaching would provide them with this space: a canvas to paint a picture of what their deeper consciousness has worked out. The challenges could be then seen as doors to be opened and not barriers.
Go into a session telling yourself ‘I know nothing’. ― Katerina Kanelidou
As my heroes become more aware, battle and triumph over their struggles, my job will be to keep the momentum going, the fire burning and check back with them on how best I can support them.
I shall support my hero with open and non-judgemental questioning which may shed new light on issues and lead to deeper exploration. This, in turn, creates awareness and focus.
Playing the role of a sounding board and providing space for reflection, helps heroes work out feasible plans, organise priorities and separate wheat from the chaff.
The campfire is the place to brainstorm, explore the provisions at hand in peace and work out the resources to be acquired. We shall dream and visualise the victories together. It is a place of growth for both coach and hero. And laughter shall provide the music at our camp fire!
Culmination of each session and the process as a whole, will be at another “M & M Inn” (it is a chain :). We would rehash the journey, touch upon the highlights of the road taken and celebrate together.
We might even end up singing a song of this epic, late into the night!
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.– Maya Angelou
I shall check back on my hero’s feeling at this point and encourage him/her to capture this moment as a talisman for the future.
It could be that the hero stands again at the dawn of another quest or it could be that we have reached a milestone we set out to reach – together we decide if we part ways or go on another quest together.
Group coaching application
This model can be adapted to group coaching with the same elements. The campfire becomes a jolly place as more heroes come together – as they say “the more the merrier”.
One way to adapt this model for a group, is to make the gathering around the campfire an activity based one, depending on if the group as a whole has one set goal or is a group of random members with individual goals.
In my experience some of the issues cross-cultural clients have to deal with are competing cultural values, handling pressures, confident communication and self-care. Hence, exercises to explore these facets could be the base of coaching. Self-assessment tools might be useful and can be brought in, if so desired.
Then the campfire truly crackles with energy and enthusiasm and becomes a fount of ideas. The coach will facilitate and keep the fire going while the power of the group can be harnessed into producing amazing discussions and ideas.
These discussions could lead to awareness, which in turn can be distilled into action items for the individual members or can be consolidated into a plan for the entire group.
Don’t adventures ever have an end? I suppose not. Someone else always has to carry on on the story. ― J.R.R. Tolkien (The Fellowship of the Ring)
 “Teaching Psychological Skills: Models for Giving Psychology Away” Edited by Dale Larson
 Welcome package includes contract and know-your-client form
 Cultural training, Emotional intelligence, Diversity training etc
 Appreciative Inquiry
 vision board, mind map etc
 MBTI, DiSC, Learning styles etc. Chosen by clients and to be administered by qualified professionals