Intercultural coaching for the leaders of 2025
Jun 16, 2019 · by Richard Farkas
Skills for 2025 already in demand now
Looking to the year 2025, Manuela Marquis sees a world where priorities have shifted. New skills are in demand: intercultural competence, virtual collaboration, participative leadership. She founded CrescenTalent to help key individuals and organisations who are already targeting the skills needed in the mid-2020s.
Targeting change in the real world
CrescenTalent is beginning a major initiative to make coaching the trigger to change. Coaching, according to Manuela, goes far beyond skills. “The concept of coaching is fundamentally different to training” says Manuela. “Skills may be activated or developed through training, but the target of coaching is direct change in the real world. This is a solution to the oldest problem of training: transfer from the classroom into work.”
Research-based intercultural coaching
Manuela follows published research on business competences. “The World Economic Forum in 2016 was a particular turning point in my thinking,” she reflects. “Since then, the WEF and other organisations have produced important trend data on current developments and predictions about business skills. We are starting to face the realities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is why I am in collaboration with other intercultural coaches and consultants who want to offer a constructive response to that challenge.”
IMC-coaching, Ceran, ICF, SIETAR, CrescenTalent, ICF and SIETAR
Manuela’s connections to several leading networks mean that she can exchange and develop ideas with fellow professionals from the widest variety of cultures and industries.
IMC, or Intercultural Mobility Coaching is the network of professional coaches with expertise in communication and international management. Ceran is a large training organisation providing intercultural training and consultancy services, with a particularly large community of intercultural consultants. CrescenTalent is a consultancy founded by Manuela. The term crescent originates in the Latin word crescere, which means “to grow”. CrescenTalent focus on developing talent, creating bridges of understanding between humans to boost performance and thus increase competence in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous VUCA world. CrescenTalent help businesses to adapt to organisational and technological change in an international environment. The International Coach Federation (ICF) is the world’s largest organization of professionally trained coaches, where Manuela is actively engaged in organising international events for the members in Paris. Finally SIETAR (Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research), an association for interculturalists, is another inspiration for Manuela.
“Teamwork and collaboration come naturally after working in an American corporate environment” says Manuela “and independence and agility are essential to my business. As the founder of a specialised consultancy firm, we need to be agile in order to conduct change-management fast and effectively”.
Serious intercultural business at Disney
Manuela’s intercultural journey began when she left her native Germany at the age of 20. After some time in hotel and event management in London, Cannes and Luxembourg, she took a role at Disneyland Paris, in their giant conventions business. “Opened in 1992, Disneyland Paris was at first known for its theme parks but not for the convention business. An internal training was organised to explain the difference to the employees as the clients’ expectations were totally different. ”
From her position in Disney’s business event management, Manuela soon found herself managing multi-lingual, multi-cultural teams with similarly diverse clients where all the normal challenges of international business are heightened: integration and diversity, high-profile, quality-conscious, on-schedule delivery of complex projects, layers of national and organisational culture, fast-paced formation of new teams, and a focus on recruiting and developing talent locally and internationally.
Training for a multi-cultural business environment
“Disneyland Paris was a good school for me” says Manuela, considering her ten years in the business-convention field. “With guests from all over the world, we dealt with every possible kind of intercultural interaction. But in our business, hierarchy was the cultural difference we experienced most sharply. I moved into training and became fascinated by the concepts and the pedagogy. Training methodology has a big impact on success.”
In harmony with changes in technology
After leaving Disneyland Paris, Manuela trained as a professional coach, got an ICF Certification and dived deeper into the blending of skills and technology. “Today there is less expatriation, more virtual collaboration. This often divides the generations and different individuals on a team. A personalised approach is important to achieve results.” Manuela enjoys getting hands-on with technology and works creatively with teams to implement new tech and establish successful working practices for online collaboration. “These are becoming essential intercultural skills” she suggests.
Measuring the impact of coaching
“My clients, who are often executives, Directors, VPs or HR people, have always had a clear view of what to expect from intercultural coaching”, claims Manuela. These clients often want their employees to listen to outside views, to get a new perspective through a non-judgemental coaching dialogue. “They want increased self-awareness, to find bridges to other people and work better together. In short, intercultural collaboration skills.”
“With technology, today diagnostics can be done very easily. We can very efficiently do “before- and after” -studies.” Many HR departments among Manuela’s clients need help converting their goals into metrics. “There is much more interest now in measurability, but it is surprising how many top leaders recognise the importance of soft-skills and do not demand a data-driven approach to coaching.”
In a typical 5-10 session coaching series, Manuela targets business transformation. She concludes “During one coaching series we can find the strengths and weaknesses in the team and put them on a path towards solving the challenges of international business they decided to address.”