How do you tell someone they need cross-cultural training?

Slide from my type and culture presentation Depends.

  • Are they asking you?
  • Is this your opinion because you don't get along, and you think it's cultural?
  • Are you their manager and see them struggling?

I saw this question on LinkedIn and think that I would try and understand what's holding them back. Do they have the time, the budget, but just not the will? Or are they in denial and think they don't need it?

Either way, here are some thoughts:

1. In corporate settings, support from the executive or C-suite is crucial.

If the bosses don't BUY it, aka believe in the value and pay for it, the expats won't GET it, aka understand the value and learn to ask for it - without having to worry "This is hard, so I'm asking for help, but does that make me seem incompetent?"

No, it doesn't. It makes you seem like a smart planner and self-aware leader committed to personal and professional development.

2. Training or coaching can only land when the expat is open to it.

Especially in coaching where trust is essential, the expat cannot have the slightest doubt that the coach is in their corner. The relationship is usually stronger when the client chooses the coach. This may sounds contrary to 1., but there's a difference between making it available, encouraging employees to take advantage of them - and forcing it down people's throats. Great trainers and coaches can try and turn "prisoners" (i.e. participants in a training room who don't really want to be there) or unwilling clients around, but that starts the whole process off on the wrong foot.

3. Training or coaching is most effective when you can explain the benefits in your client's language

If I don't know the person I'll be working with, I like to add Temperament language that speaks to all four types. For example, "So you're abroad and your leadership style isn't working, but you're not sure if you should spend 3 hours on a training. What would it mean to learn how you can better meet your targets and get the results you have to deliver? (Stabilizer SJ) What would a significant increase in your ROI mean for your department? (Improviser SP) Think of the growth potential for your career and network! (Catalyst NF) You're new in this country and there's a learning curve - aren't 3 hours a reasonable investment if they can increase your effectiveness faster? (Theorist NT)"