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Towards Greater Cultural Understanding in Coaching

J Plaister-Ten International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring 2009

This study investigated the experience of coaching in an executive or business cross-cultural coaching context. A phenomenological approach explored the possibility that the coach can facilitate the understanding of cultural worldviews in the cross-cultural coaching relationship. By means of semi-structured interviews, key factors were identified that contribute to greater cross-cultural awareness, adaptability, understanding and effectiveness. The findings highlight: the diverse meanings of cross-cultural coaching; an exploration of the background, experience and qualities of cross-cultural coaches; the building of key cross-cultural coaching competencies; and the facilitation of cultural understanding in the cross-cultural relationship. The study also highlights the need to recognise that the concept of ‘self’ varies across cultures and that divergent psychological constructs reflect differing values with differing definitions of success. Consequently, amongst the conclusions is a call for a culturally sensitive approach to coaching.

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