Sunday, 10 August 2008
Why don't you offer intercultural coaching as an additional service? I asked Cristina, the owner of the "Instituto Intercultural" in Mendoza, Argentina, where, some time ago, I happened to work. What exactly do you mean by intercultural coaching? she wanted to know. Well, I tell my clients - anybody who is interested in foreign cultures - what they should do when being confronted with cultures that are different from the ones they are used to. That is impossible, Cristina said, you can't tell people what to do, you need to listen to them. Besides, they have to find out themselves what is good for them. Of course, I responded, but that is easier if they have some sort of orientation pole. I do not expect them to do what I tell them to do (they won't do it anyway), my goal is to confront them with what I deem useful observations in regards to cultural conditionings. Or with the mistakes that I have made. And, I tell you, they listen. Especially, when I'm talking about my mistakes - then they really pay attention for what they do not want is to make mistakes. Particularly not my stupid ones. Cristina was not convinced. And, as far as the acquisition of clients goes, she was most probably right. Well, what people want is one thing, what they need often quite another.