What every coach should know about international culture

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1. Leo Schmitt International Coaching Federation INTERNATIONAL CULTURES: WHAT EVERY COACH SHOULD KNOW 2. Overview Where culture fits into the conversation How preconceptions color our understanding Discussion on what culture is Hofstedes cultural dimensions Individual and Collectivist Cultures Power Distance Uncertainty Avoidance Quality of Life vs. Quantity of Life Short-term vs. Long-term Orientation Indulgence vs. Restraint 3. Questions Because there are a lot of ideas to cover in a short time period, we will not have time to cover each question as it comes up. I will ask you to ponder some questions throughout the presentation. At each point, I will take one comment and give some feedback. I encourage you to write down any questions. At the end, I will be happy to stay and go into more details on any area that you find of particular interest. 4. Exercise Take a piece of paper. Roll it into a ball. Try to throw it into the waste-paper basket. Winners will get it into the basket. Was this a fair exercise? What influenced the unfairness? How did you feel about this? Who was more likely to feel it was unfair? Or at least to complain about it? 5. Culture (Disclaimer!) Culture is an extraordinarily complex phenomenon. There are multiple views of what culture is and should be. This presentation aims to give insights for practical coaching applications. It is not definitive and discusses tendencies rather than indisputable truths. Culture affects many aspects of our lives and colors our perceptions of how the world works, how it should work, and what our role in it is and should be. All of this means that people come with varying needs and desires, especially in an increasingly globalized world. 6. Universals We are all the same 7. Questions? What would you expect to be invariable from New York to the jungles of the Amazon to the Himalayan Mountains? 8. Individuals We are all different! What is a real American? WASP? Cowboy? Gun-loving? Steak-eating? Loves Baseball/Football/Basketball? Loves Democracy/Freedom? Loves Mom and Apple pie? 9. Question s What would make someone who holds a US passport NOT American? Can you be more or less American? Is there a real America? If so, what characterizes it? 10. Their Preconceptions Foreigners will often create their understanding of Americans based on their experience of Americans (generally via media). They are naturally less developed than experiences in person developed over a lifetime. 11. Our Preconceptions In the same vein, our preconceptions are often built up over the partial experiences we have of other nations. What are your understandings of France, Mexico, or Italy? How about North Korea, Iran, or Turkmenistan? 12. Exercise Take a piece of paper. Write the name of someone or something that means a lot to you. This could be God, Jesus, your mothers name, USA, or any other name that you value. How would you feel if I asked you to put that on the floor and stamp on it? Do you think all humans feel that way? Would an Amazonian tribesman have a problem with this? We can value things that have no value to another human being. And they can value things that have no value for us. 13. What is Culture? An integrated system of learned behavior patterns What varies from one community to another? Food Art Music Religion Ceremonies History Dance Names Languages Expectations? Interpersonal relations? Personal worldviews? 14. Othering We recognize difference among our group It is much easier to dismiss such differences among other groups. This leads to stereotyping or othering. 15. Questions What are some differences you associate with another nationality? What percentage of those people would you expect have those traits? 16. Hofstede Disclaimer: This way of looking at culture is one way. It can be a useful springboard for discussion. However, there are multiple interpretations to culture and this is not definitive. Much of the original culture allocation research was done 40 years ago and cultures have changed. 17. Hofstedes View Individual and Collectivist Cultures Individualist (E.g. US, Western Europe) Personal achievement above the cost to the group Highly competitive Independence is valued; relying on others is shameful Collectivist (E.g. Asia, Africa) Encouraged to do what is best for the group Working with others is the norm Rules support the group over the individual 18. Questions How willing are you to make personal sacrifices for the group? What is that group? Family, neighborhood, city, country, humanity? Is there a difference between grand gestures (e.g. dying to save your childs life?) and repeated small gestures (giving up on your own dreams to help a sick relative). 19. Power Distance The extent to which unequal power is accepted High Power distance (China) Accept that uneven power distribution is a fact of life Expect authority to be obeyed Subordinates are expected to follow orders Low Power distance (US) Feel more comfortable challenging power Consulting with and even contradicting superiors is acceptable 20. Questions Were all the bosses you have known open to being challenged or at least willing to listen to your ideas (at least in some circumstances)? Would you expect a CEO to listen to a janitors views on how the company could run better? How far does the power distance need to be? 21. Uncertainty Avoidance How comfortable are you with uncertainty? High Uncertainty Avoidance (Russia, Korea, Mexico) Tend to follow rules and to like structure Tend to be stressed and/or emotional Teachers should have all the answers Tend to be careful and considerate Low Uncertainty Avoidance (US, UK, India, China) Tend to require few rules Tend to have informal interaction with others Tend to be calmer and/or more entrepreneurial Tend to engage in more risky behavior 22. Questions Are there certain rules that MUST be followed? Which rules are those? What do they tell us about our cultural priorities? 23. Quality of Life vs. Quantity of Life Also called Masculine and Feminine Quality of Life (Nordic countries) Relationships matter People are important Solve conflict through negotiation Quantity of Life (Japan) Focused on achievement in life Money and things are important Solve conflict through force 24. Questions Coaching aims to help people find their own goals. What are some goals that you have encountered? How would you describe people who favor quality of life over quantity of life, and vice versa? 25. Short-term vs. Long-term Orientation Do you worry about today or ten years from now? Long-term Orientation (East Asia) Tend to save more Tend to persevere more More likely to adapt traditions to changing contexts Short-term Orientation (Africa, US) Tend to respect traditions Focus on achieving quick results Leisure time is important 26. Questions What advantages do you see in a short-term orientation? How could you help people with a short-term orientation prepare for longer term goals? 27. Indulgence vs. Restraint The extent to which impulses and desires are acted upon. Indulgent (Americas, Western Europe) Life is to be enjoyed Restrained (Asia, Middle East) Impulses should be regulated through societal norms 28. Questions What are some advantages to a restrained lifestyle? How can you help advise people who have trouble shifting from a restrained lifestyle to an indulgent one, or vice versa? 29. Thank you Questions? Leo Schmitt tschmitt@gc.cuny.edu