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Coaching in Another Language: The Impact on Core Competencies

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Can coaching in another language positively impact a coach’s performance?

Twice a week I mentor coaches in a multicultural environment. Some coaches may think that coaching in a non-native language could be a barrier to effective communication and their performance, but my own experience taught me that coaching in a foreign language gives me opportunities that I probably wouldn’t have if I only coached in my native language.

A survey conducted in January of 2017 proved this assumption to be correct. The first part of the survey consisted of a questionnaire for coaches who coach or have coached in a non-native language. The results showed a considerable impact on the Core Competencies. This impact, as it was estimated by the replies of the coaches, fluctuated between 41 and 80 percent.

More specifically:

Establishing the Coaching Agreement (50-percent positive impact)

There is a need to be absolutely clear. We assume less of the client’s understanding, we pay more attention to the terms that we use, and we more often check understanding with the client. As a result, there is ease in alignment, more accurately regulated expectations and a clear and memorable agreement.

Establishing Trust and Intimacy (52 percent)

The clarity and the attention given when creating the coaching agreement already has an impact on trust. Additionally, the following has been observed:

  • Deeper curiosity
  • Respect for diversity
  • Establishment of rapport not only with words, but also with tone of voice and all additional nonverbal cues

The above can lead to a connection at a deeper level, a stronger sense of intimacy and a safe space where clients open up faster.

Coaching Presence (63 percent)

Coaches reported that they are more mindful, alert, focused, attentive, engaged and concentrated. There is an “extra effort” on the coach’s part. They are more open to not knowing and better tapped into their intuition.

Opportunities here are for better connection and less danger of falling into routine.

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