A Coaching Model Created by Linda Mueller
(Expat Spouse Coach, JAPAN)
The C.H.O.I.C.E. Coaching Model has been developed to support trailing expat wives as they experience life abroad and the challenges, both large and small, that it is likely to present.
Trailing wives are often not given a true choice in whether or not to relocate. They often lose their sense of identity when they relocate, due giving up a career, social network, community connects, distance from family, etc. They suddenly have a large task at hand in establishing a new life for their loved ones, while their working spouse is often absent a great deal of the time.
While some embrace the opportunity to experience a different culture, others move begrudgingly when corporate duty calls the husband overseas. Regardless of the emotion, most spouses face challenge of culture shock at some point during the assignment duration — immediately upon arrival, at the end of the honeymoon phase, during an unexpected stressful event or even upon learning that the assignment is ending (i.e., reverse culture shock).
The C.H.O.I.C.E. Coaching Model enables the trailing wife to realize that she does have the choice and the power to make her time abroad productive and positive.
During this phase, a connection is created with the trailing wife. As many often feel isolated, this is the first step in empowering her to move to a place of possibility. She will immediately feel that someone is focused on and wants to support her in her transition or through a challenge.
With a clear mind and focus, we will conduct a situation analysis to understand the core issues, values and aspirations.
A safe space in which the trailing wife can begin to make sense of her unique situation will be created. I will honor and acknowledge her feelings – both positive and negative – to begin to dampen the mental clutter frequently resulting from the stress of expat living.
In this judgment-free space, the trailing spouse will set goals for herself and develop an achievable plan to reach them. Accountability will develop.
Observe & Inspire
By listening without judgment as the trailing wife follows her plans; observations will be made – acknowledging success and detecting patterns that will be reflected back to the client in a manner meant to inspire the trailing wife to continue to move forward. Internal and external awareness will increase.
Goals, priorities and action plans will be adjusted, if need be, to reflect knowledge gained.
Empowered by new self-discoveries and progress on goals, the trailing spouse can create a new identity, attitude, outlook. The possibilities are endless. Who does she want to be? What can she learn from this experience? How does she want to handle challenges? What does she want to take away from this time? And so on.
Goals have been met and perhaps new ones are brewing!
Now that initial issues have been addressed and the trailing spouse living with a more positive and productive attitude, it is time to assess what has been learned and what the plan is for moving forward.
Regardless of next steps, it is time to CELEBRATE the wins!