Intercultural Corner: The Masteries as our Support System as we Coach Across Cultures

Intercultural Corner
by Jan O’Brien

Developing intercultural competence enables us to open our minds to new possibilities, improved relationships and reciprocal goodwill with our clients, and as we become aware of our “cultural self” we gain a greater sense of security and confidence when we interact across cultures.

An awareness of our culturally-based values, communication styles and perspectives, is a significant step towards cultural competence, but the “road” can also have its challenges and “culture bumps” and it is not unusual for us to feel resistance or discomfort when dealing with cultural differences. This discomfort can also be described as “culture shock”. It takes us through an adjustment cycle that can be filled with excitement, judgment and confusion. In situations such as these, the Masteries can serve as our support system. They offer us an environment in which to process the disorientation and uncertainty that we experience.

Support Structures 

By using the Masteries to support us as we explore our reactions to unfamiliar situations, we gain a deeper awareness of our thoughts, emotions and judgments. Processing in the Present (Mastery #4) in particular, is a powerful skill with which to process our reactions holistically. The more we operate from a state of “presence”, the more we are able to listen to what our body, mind and heart are telling us and we are guided to a place where new perspectives emerge.

As coaches, our role is to focus 100% on our clients, but when interacting in the global arena, the moments of confusion or resistance that we experience in ourselves can serve to inform us on the road to intercultural competence. Ultimately we learn from and leverage both the differences and similarities that we encounter.

Jan O’Brien IAC-MCC
Jan specializes in Cross-Cultural, Personal Leadership and Spiritual Intelligence coaching. She is committed to exploring the multiple layers of culture, self-awareness and leadership so that her clients develop an integral understanding of themselves and others — personally, professionally, culturally and spiritually.

1 thought on “Intercultural Corner: The Masteries as our Support System as we Coach Across Cultures”

  1. During my 10 year life in China, I learned that underneath culture, people are very much the same. Connecting with individuals in China is something that I learned to do, very successfully in many instances. It feels to me like ‘getting under the culture’ so that you can connect with the fundamental person. Once you have done that, the relationship becomes virtually culture-less. The IAC Masteries are an exceptionally good tool for doing that, because they connect with people at a very fundamental level.

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