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Interviews

Personal coach Amanda Wilby

"Giving birth and raising a family is a huge time of transition and change. Living abroad can add to the challenge significantly, especially if you have enjoyed a close personal support network at home. The idea of birthing abroad can seem quite scary and fear is the last thing you need in the birthing suite! For a great experience with birthing and parenting it is important to understand what your parent values are and how to work from those values. These values help you make the right decisions for you and your family. People are concerned, in particular, about whether to send their children to the local school or to an international school, or whether to live in the areas where the expats congregate or have a more local experience. They are big decisions. One of the key issues is that there are often so many decisions to be taken within a small time frame, it can be overwhelming, and this is where working with us can really add value." (AW, April 2013) 

 

  • Coaching for Expats

    What does Global talent coaching offer and when was it set up?
    When I was living abroad I had so many times when I really struggled with living in another country, and create a life for myself. I can remember opening envelopes from the local council and crying from frustration because I didnt understand what my mail said! I was a full-time mum at home most of the day with very small children, trying to find friends and get things done in countries where I didnt speak the language and didnt seem to fit in. We had no corporate support as my husband is an independent consultant so I had to figure out everything the hard way, which when you are raising small children, you have little time and energy for.

    When I decided to create a business two years ago, I wanted to make a difference to people who (like me) were outside of their regular support network who really needed someone to facilitate, coach, encourage and champion them to create the lives they deserve, wherever they may live. Having trained to be a coach in 2001, I decided to refresh my training in 2011, got certified as a Co-Active Coach in 2012 and the result is Global Talent Coaching which went live in January.

    What is your background?
    I graduated from University with a degree in Psychology and the majority of my career has been spent supporting, designing and delivering corporate change programmes for Blue Chip Companies (with a stint in TV production halfway through!). In 2003 I changed my life radically - I rented out my house, and sold or gave away most of my possessions and bought a backpack. I travelled around South America for a while and then on to Australia where I met my French husband. We lived and worked for two years in Sydney, two in Nice and 3.5 in Dusseldorf, and had a baby in each country. Ive given birth in English, French and German. In my youth I also worked in Greece for 18 months, which probably gave me a taste for adventure. Right now we are having a break from travelling around so I can focus on building my business amongst other things.

    Who specifically is Global Talent Coaching aimed at?
    People that truly want to get the best out of their experience of living abroad, and not be limited by it. Our clients are people who back home would probably consider themselves very capable people - high achievers, but are finding the challenges of life abroad intense or that life isnt what theyd hoped it would be. Clients are professionals, stay-at-home mums, entrepreneurs, young adults and retirees. Anyone whose life or work currently isnt matching up to their expectations, needs or desires.

    Can you explain the difference between counselling and coaching?
    The focus is different. Counselling focuses on analysing the past and working through issues in order to create healing, whereas coaching focuses on the present and the future and creating action - the by-product of which can be healing. Counselling works with serious behavioural issues such as alcoholism, depression, drug dependency and sexual abuse whereas coaching is focused on creating change in your life starting from today. It draws upon many disciplines – psychology, therapeutic interventions and neuroscience and the results of coaching can often be immediate and life-changing. In its absolute essence, coaching is about facilitating and stimulating your natural creativity, and as certified coaches we are all rigorously trained in how to do this.

    What are the main reasons why people want to relocate abroad?
    I think the majority of people who move abroad do so for two main reasons - work and lifestyle. Many business are becoming global and there is a growing trend for working abroad in order to further your career and improve your CV, so there are many expatriate workers. There are also many people who are looking to create a lifestyle for themselves that would not be available at home. Its great that we live in a world where we have so many choices and opportunities, and its not always easy to transplant ones life either.

    What are peoples main fears and concerns when they are embarking on a new life abroad?
    Each person is different - for women who accompany their husbands as (what is often termed a trailing spouse - I prefer Accompanying Partner!), the fears and concerns mainly centre around settling the family, creating friendships and finding some kind of structure or purpose. This can become a real issue if the spouse is career-minded and have moved to a country where they are not allowed to work. For professionals it can centre around working effectively in a cross-cultural environment, performance and work-related issues - they also worry about their families settling well. For teenagers there will be fears of creating a new set of friends and fitting in. For people who are leaving behind elderly relatives and children at Universities or boarding schools, moving far away can be a big worry too.

    How do you manage to allay those fears?
    Many things. At the very start we look at creating an ideal version of how the client would like their life abroad to be. We visit personal values, interests and passions and develop a magnetic and compelling vision. We also work through all the concerns and worries and develop strategies for effectively managing them. Its important to fully explore those worries and fears fully, because if you dont then they can inadvertently drive your behaviours and create negative outcomes.

    Do you think that all people are suited to moving abroad or is it suited to some people more than others? What about age? Does that come into it?
    I dont think age plays a huge part - weve all met people who seem old or young for their years so I would say that it is the personal mind-set which predicts the most success in living abroad. In my travels Ive noticed a traits I would say are prevalent amongst the internationally living community - things like openness, curiosity, a sense of adventure, resilience, empowerment and willingness to connect and adapt - those are the traits Ive seen in the most successful expatriates, and I think all of us are capable of practising those traits too, it just depends on your level of desire to do so.

    As far as families are concerned, do children adapt to a new life in different ways to adults? And if so, how?
    This question is outside the remit of coaching, and more in the area of a child psychologist.

    Do you often come across parents who are fearful or giving birth or raising children in a foreign culture?
    Yes, absolutely - giving birth and raising a family is a huge time of transition and change. Living abroad can add to the challenge significantly, especially if you have enjoyed a close personal support network at home. The idea of birthing abroad can seem quite scary and fear is the last thing you need in the birthing suite! For a great experience with birthing and parenting it is important to understand what your parent values are and how to work from those values. These values help you make the right decisions for you and your family. People are concerned, in particular, about whether to send their children to the local school or to an international school, or whether to live in the areas where the expats congregate or have a more local experience. They are big decisions. One of the key issues is that there are often so many decisions to be taken within a small time frame, it can be overwhelming, and this is where working with us can really add value.

    In your experience, what are the main positives about living abroad?
    For me it was about the ability to live in different cultures and explore new places - along the road Ive picked up new ideas, different ways of thinking and doing. Its given me a different perspective on where Ive come from and I look at my home country through different eyes. There are things Im now proud of that I wasnt before yet Ive taken off any rose-tinted glasses and know that other countries do things differently and get better results in some areas, and yet we have so many wonderful things to offer the world too. I love the richness and depth of experience that living abroad has given me - its one of the biggest gifts life can offer I think.

    On a practical level, how do you go about your sessions?
    For personal clients I normally work on the telephone or Skype Phone. A coaching month usually entails 120 minutes of coaching, divided into 2 or 3 sessions, with email and text support in-between sessions. I offer a free 40-50 minute consultation to everyone who is considering coaching to see if we are a good match, and then I ask the client to choose which coaching package or plan they wish to work with. I also offer consultations with my colleagues - particularly for relationship coaching or working with teenagers which tends to be more specialised.

    Are you able to continue the sessions when clients have moved abroad?
    You can be anywhere in the world and get your coaching - thats the beauty of working on the telephone. Ive never met most of my clients in person and yet we still have extremely effective coaching sessions. Lots of people like the freedom and the anonymity of the telephone.

    How much do you draw on your own personal experience of living abroad?
    Very little - we coach the person and not the issues at hand and we dont give advice (were very happy to get creative and brainstorm though!). If a client asks me directly for my experience then Im happy to share, but this is not coaching - it is more like mentoring, and I make that very clear.

    You have lived in several countries, how much does the experience of living abroad vary from country to country?
    It can differ very considerably - the economic development of the country and its culture play a big part in the experience of foreigners of course, yet I think a great deal of the differences stem from the decisions we make on where to live in the country we are moving to. Cities tend to be cosmopolitan, with reasonably good facilities and it can be easier to be an expatriate there - you are likely to meet with others from all over the world as well as local people. Smaller communities offer the opportunity to live like a local - you have to work smarter to integrate into more rural communities but it can be worth the effort. In essence, it comes down to what experience you want to create in your time living abroad and what action you are prepared to take to get it.

    If people are interested in your services how should they contact you?
    People can email me at info@globaltalentcoaching.com, or telephone me on +44 (0)20 7193 7251 or book a consultation session directly into my diary using the following link: https://globaltalentcoaching.satoriapp.com/book

    To get our weekly blog, with hints, tips and articles for people living abroad, go to www.globaltalentcoaching.wordpress.com and hit the subscribe button.

    April 2013