Mentoring & Coaching Across Cultures

Mentoring & Coaching Across Cultures

Western business values include the expectation that a business leader will not only direct subordinates but also develop them to be capable of better on-the-job performance and, often, of assuming a leadership role.  One common way for leaders to do this is through individual mentoring or coaching.

"Mentoring and Coaching Culturally Different Colleagues" is a groundbreaking 1-day workshop that addresses this need of leaders who are responsible for subordinates who are culturally different from them.

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The Learn More button will bring a swift response from managing partner Cornelius Grove.

The Cultural Values Underlying Mentoring and Coaching

A constellation of values and assumptions drives the expectation that one adult can and should guide another adult to self-improvement.  These values and assumptions are not shared among everyone around the world.  Here is one example of a difference in assumptions that affects an individual's acceptance of the expectation that another adult can and should help him or her learn and "develop" in beneficial ways:

Individuals learn and grow rapidly as children and youth, after which they continue to be fully capable of improving themselves.

Assumptions of people in different world regions.
Individuals learn and grow rapidly as children and youth, after which they go forth into the world prepared to deal with all of life's eventualities.

Given this and other hidden values and assumptions that differ across world regions, how can mentoring or coaching be successfully accomplished when the business leader is from one culture and the subordinate or colleague is from another culture?

Our workshop is "groundbreaking" because, as senior business interculturalists, we have deliberately set out to meet the need for cross-cultural training on the mentoring and coaching of culturally different colleagues.

Learning / Performance Objectives

The objective of the 1-day workshop is to provide managers with awareness and insight about the unexpected challenges of mentoring or coaching culturally different subordinates or colleagues.  Addressed are contrasts in the expectations that people acquire during their early years at home and in school, the nature of senior-junior relationships in all walks of life, cognitive traits (e.g., styles of persuasion) and their associated emotions, and the varying characteristics of business cultures worldwide.  The goal is for attendees to depart with ideas they can use at once regarding how better to approach the mentoring or coaching of a culturally different colleague or subordinate.

Course Outline

Section I.  The first section explores the hidden social expectations and cultural assumptions that underlie participants' attitudes, beliefs, and personal experiences of mentoring and coaching with culturally similar others.

Section II.  Among the cross-cultural factors available for inclusion in this central section of the workshop are...

  • Expectations gained during people's early years with parents, teachers, religious leaders, etc.
  • Differences in how "people who know" [i.e., experts] are regarded and treated.
  • How, and to what ends, people build relationships and trust with those who are senior.
  • How individuals' delineate their public and private selves; who is admitted to the private.
  • The coachee/mentee's sense of propriety vis-à-vis the social status of his coach/mentor.
  • Styles of thinking & persuasion found worldwide, and their impact on coaching/mentoring.
  • In-group / out-group factors related to coaching and mentoring.
  • Unexpected problems in coaching/mentoring generated by an egalitarian mindset.
  • Characteristics of business cultures that impact coaching and mentoring.

Section III.  Each participant is given an opportunity to describe and then diagnose the challenges that he or she faces, or expects to face, within a cross-cultural coaching or mentoring relationship.  The challenges may arise within either role -- that of coach or mentor, or that of coachee or mentee.  The goal is for each participant to develop one or two alternative ways of responding in order to be more successful within an existing or anticipated relationship.