Expatriation and support for your managers

On paper, expatriation is a dream. For some, this concept evokes the exoticism of having the possibility of being on a semi-vacation all year round in a country. A new place where culture, landscapes and gastronomy allow you to escape from the daily grind. Here is the watered-down vision of expatriation. And then there is the expatriate vision. Those who experience the turbulence of each phase of expatriation. Certainly the exotic can be there from time to time, however the challenges weigh more heavily on the scales. In this often poorly assessed context, ensure the support of your expatriate managers by aprofessional coachmay be the lifeline that the manager did not dare to ask for. Do you doubt this necessity? I invite you to read this article.

1 expatriation, 3 stages

Most people spontaneously associate expatriation with living and working in a country other than their country of origin. It is totally true. However, as an organization, it is important not to reduce expatriation to the simple fact that the manager will work for a given time in a third country. There are actually 3 phases inherent to any expatriation, and each of them has its share of challenges.

  • Preparation for departure.
  • Adaptation once the manager is established in his new position.
  • La preparation for return.

Each of these phases includes crucial preparation steps for the smooth running of the next one. However, if one of these phases does not go as the manager wishes, he will experience repercussions on his work obviously, but also on his self-confidence and even on his leadership. He might even view the experience as a personal and professional failure and wish to leave the company. A heavy price to pay for the organization which, on the contrary, wanted to allow the manager to develop professionally.

The issue over the sundae: expatriation with family

These three phases of expatriation demonstrate to what extent making the decision to work abroad involves challenges. I mentioned here the issues concerning the manager who leaves. However, there are also many other challenges to take into consideration if you undertake the great adventure of expatriation with your spouse and children. In the same way as when he is based near the headquarters in Montreal, if he experiences issues in his personal life it impacts his professional life, the same goes for expatriation. The effect is even increased tenfold since the network of relatives he used to rely on is no longer geographically present. Time difference can also be another frustrating factor when 8 a.m. in your new country means 3 a.m. in Quebec.

Coaching: a successful asset for the expatriation of your managers

For all these factors, investing in the services of a professional coach can only be beneficial for the manager who is going abroad. It is not a question of frightening him and making him reconsider his desire to go abroad. This involves supporting them so that they are best prepared for all the challenges inherent to expatriate life, both professionally and personally. The coach will allow your manager to prepare for change, to consider different scenarios in order to have a range of possibilities when new situations arise. The coach will allow the manager to help him take a step back from the new norm that will welcome him into his new work environment. This will allow him to better manage the resulting stress. The coach will support the manager in his intercultural management which impacts, among other things, time management, communication and interpersonal skills.

  • In the new country

When arriving in the host country, it is essential that the manager is equipped. This is so as not to make any mistakes which could then cost him long weeks of work before rectifying the situation with his new colleagues and his new team.

  • On the way back

During the 3rd phase, that of preparing for the return, the coach will have the mission of supporting the manager in redefining who he is at the end of this experience abroad. How does he position himself in the face of this bi-culturality which is now within him? How does he function with the new values ​​that have imbued him? What professional development does he envisage? So many questions that are crucial to answer. Indeed, as a company, you cannot afford to let a manager in whom you have invested and who has such expertise in your organization escape to the competition. It is a powerful asset for your future development.

Optimize the success of your expatriates

The question of expatriation support is vast. I myself have been expatriated in Europe, Asia and the American continent. I have supported many expatriates in their expatriation process. Whether upon departure, once there or when preparing for their return. I would be delighted to discuss with you the challenges and ways to optimize the preparation for departure, adaptation and impatriation of your managers. To do this, I invite you to make a discovery meeting with me to explain your context. We will thus be able to consider how I can support your company and your managers in their expatriation journey. (I should point out that at Iceberg Management we do not offer any “relocation” services, we provide professional coaching support for expatriates and their spouses.)

Hope to meet you.


Ophelie Therrien

Certified professional coach and trainer

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