A Coaching Model By Amy Morton, Expat Coach, UNITED KINGDOM
Boxes Unpacked, Partner at Work, Children at School – Now What?
A new start in a foreign country requires courage, a positive mindset, and support throughout the journey. While some expat spouses easily find employment and settle into their new lives simply; many find themselves lost, needing to reinvent themselves and find unfulfilled goals to transition from an unhappy expat to one experiencing a more meaningful and fulfilling life abroad.
Life for an expat is not all siestas and sunsets; often well-educated and leaving good jobs in their home country, spouses can experience social isolation, lack of self-worth, profound loneliness, anxiety and suffer from an identity crisis once the initial ‘honeymoon phase is over.
Corporate Life Working With Expats
I have recently left ten years of corporate life working with expats and their spouses from the initial discussions of a new assignment, during their time on assignment through to the repatriation process. I am now living as an expat spouse myself having to adapt to a very different culture during a pandemic while falling pregnant for the first time. This personal experience together with my professional experience, I believe, has enhanced my already strong empathetic skills to be able to work with expat spouses with this model.
The Glide Expat Model
The GLIDE model aims to work with expat spouses to provide a smooth transition from home to host country during their relocation, encompassing the below fundamental principles of coaching while employing four-core personal characteristics that help lead to a successful assignment. Throughout the 3-6 month process, I will hold a confidential and empathetic safe space for you ensuring my own expat experience does not lead to any judgments or assumptions made on your situation.
The coaching session will commence with exploring your goal of the assignment as a whole and then for each session. It is imperative to gain clarity on goals and understand the importance of these for you arising at the current time.
- What would you like to achieve during your assignment/by the end of this session?
- How will you know you have achieved this?
- What makes this important for you right now?
- How can you make your life abroad more meaningful?
- What would a successful assignment look like for you?
- What is within your control during your time overseas?
We will then move on to obtaining clarity on your values, life purpose, and strengths; exploring these through the use of the Wheel of Life and Strengths Finder coaching tools.
Perceived loss or change of identity is a common struggle amongst expat spouses. Together with the coaching tools, we will work together to reframe your expat identity and discover your authentic self.
- What is important to you?
- What are some values you currently live with?
- What makes you feel fulfilled?
- What makes you feel good about yourself?
- Who would you be and what would you do if no one was watching?
- What activities make you feel light?
Identify Areas Where You Are ‘Stuck’
The move to a foreign country brings about a lot of change which, in turn, often causes uncertainty, a feeling of being stuck, and a lack of energy and perspective. Particularly in an intercultural environment where many things change simultaneously, it is important to identify these roadblock areas to move forward to achieve your goals.
Often when we are stuck it’s simply because we are thinking in ‘Black and White’; with the help of my coaching, instead you will see a world full of possibilities, options, and ideas rather than just two choices.
- What is it that you want?
- What is standing between you and your goals?
- What assumptions are you making?
- Suppose you had all the money/support/time/energy you need, what are the options?
- What would you pursue if you knew you couldn’t fail?
- What skills do you have that you aren’t currently utilizing?
Devise a Plan
Just knowing your values and life purpose is not enough. We will work together to devise a plan of action; setting small, realistic, and achievable steps that will enable you to move closer towards your goal. Once your actions have been identified, we will spend sufficient time exploring these, determining the support necessary for realistic timeframes for their completion to be reached where you will be held accountable.
- What could you do today to bring you closer to your goal?
- What small step could you take to make this happen?
- What support will you need?
- What are you ready to commit to doing (and by when)?
- What would you like to be held accountable for?
- How will you know you’re making progress?
By identifying your key takeaways from the sessions, you will be empowered to acknowledge yourself for the effort and outcomes that you have achieved based on your self-awareness. I will invite you to reflect on your feeling, thinking, and behavioral changes created and evolved in the coaching journey.
The coaching relationship will now shift towards an ongoing support program where you can continue to evolve and benefit from this personal development journey further.
- What have you learned about yourself?
- What can you do to stay feeling empowered?
- How will you celebrate your successes?
The glide model ensures you stay true to yourself, your passions, values, and your potential to live your most meaningful life abroad. Through planning, goal setting, and evolving, you will tap into your natural talents and strengths, gaining clarity about what a fulfilling life abroad means to you and strategies to make that vision a reality.
Herbolzheimer, A., Coaching Expatriates. Kassel: Kassel University Press GmbH.
Wheel of Life