Preparing a strong performer to lead in a new environment
Discussions with a coach increase a leader’s awareness and confidence when relocating to a new office in another country.
A senior marketing manager at a large entertainment company’s local office in Russia was appointed to a new position in London. Her role would be relatively unchanged, but her responsibility would now be global. She would be moving to London together with her husband, and both of them were experienced globetrotters. However, she expressed concerns about how she would handle this new role. In Russia, she was viewed as an experienced and valued team leader who was known for her diligence, effectiveness, and results-driven approach. From her Western European colleagues, however, she often got feedback that she was too direct and even aggressive.
Through a series of individual coaching sessions, the client’s self-awareness grew dramatically. She learned to understand the effect of cultural values on her behavior and communication style. She also began to differentiate her individual personality traits from culturally driven patterns. Style-switching exercises, experiential learning, and case studies enabled this manager to put her newly gained insights and knowledge into practice. In addition, coaching helped the manager reconcile feelings of being pressed to adopt Western European behavior at the expense of respecting her cultural background.
In the end, this manager from Russia came to know how her cultural values were driving her behavior and how and why her style was perceived differently by various international colleagues. She discovered which attributes were inherent to her personality and how to best use them in her new role. She also learned when to compromise and style-switch in order to be in tune with her colleagues and meet customer needs.