Not every start is a perfect one

Coaching for expats

About ten years ago, on one September Sunday, I lifted my suitcase from the conveyor belt at the baggage pick-up point at Saint-Exupéry Airport in Lyon. I was about to embark on almost three years living and working as an expat in France’s culinary capital. A new team was waiting for me—and a quirkily furnished apartment in the old town just a stone’s throw away from a weekly market with the best cheese soufflé in the world. It was not my first extended stay abroad. And compared to Brisbane, Australia, where I had studied for a year, Lyon was practically just around the corner. I had respect for the new task, but above all I was looking forward to it. It was going to be great, I thought to myself.

My birthday was two months later—and I spent it admitting to myself that things weren’t going well at all.

Looking on from the outside, it seemed like I had everything. But on the inside, I felt insecure and that I was in over my head. I missed my friends and family. Despite making every effort to be a good boss, I could hardly “read” my French team members and their needs. I tried to find my place in the international management team there and strived not to lose my connections to decisionmakers “at home”. I was surprised about how hard it was for me to live in a foreign language. I often felt a little out of place.
My only constant companion at the time was my imposter syndrome. Its job was to convince me that, at any moment now, my cover was going to be blown. I worked with determination, slept badly, and was unable to appreciate or even notice the many pleasant moments which were still there despite everything.

So how did the story continue?

It took a few more weeks before I admitted to myself that I wasn’t going to make much progress alone. So, I looked for a coach. I spoke openly with him about my situation, started to develop myself further, and found my way back into the driver’s seat. But, more than anything else, I began enjoying my time abroad with all the challenges and opportunities it presented to me.
Are you in a similar situation and are looking for an English-speaking* coach?
Do you want to build yourself a good (working) life?
Is your job a huge chance for professional and personal development, yet you still feel it’s all too much?
Do you face (intercultural) conflicts and challenges?

Are you or your family finding it difficult to settle in?

Do you want to be successful in your new location and work on the next steps of your career?
* Coaching unfortunately did not change the fact that I still don’t speak fluent French today. C’est vraiment d’hommage!

Working abroad is not only a great opportunity, but it is also a personal and professional litmus test.

Many expats are in charge of a larger team abroad and are confronted with very different demands by internal and external stakeholders. Language and cultural barriers also come into play. In my coaching for expats, we will reflect on the opportunities and the challenges facing you, and develop strategies that will help you achieve more self-efficacy, focus and joy in what you do.

Work with me

Are you looking for a good coach or a skilled sparring partner? Then I would love to hear from you. Feel free to arrange a non-binding online appointment where we can get to know one another.

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