There are plenty of reasons you need to find an expat coach. While there is some good information online and from personal contacts, you may need a person who specializes in your area of need. Working with someone who is an expert can help you avoid dealing with inaccurate or misleading information.
The problem is being an expat coach isn’t a regulated space, so it can be hard to know who is worth their salt. If you’ve decided to find a coach but don’t know where to start, here are a few suggestions to help you make the right choice.
A coach is an individual who helps clients pursue and reach their professional and personal potential. This expert is someone who is strategy focused on helping you achieve a future goal. You may also hear individuals refer to themselves as expat consultants. They are not counselors, mental help therapists, mentors or your best friend. Instead, a coach utilizes a combination of their training and experience to help clients develop a pathway to achieving that goal.
However, let’s be honest, there are no specific qualifications to be an expat coach. You will need to review their credentials closely to find the right fit. Here’s a solid strategy to find your next expat expert.
Before you go seeking help, you need to understand what you need help with. It is hard for a specialist to be effective with your time, if you haven’t clarified in your own mind what you need. If you don’t figure out what you need help with, it is really easy to find the wrong match or miss a potential good one.
You might want to take inventory and write down what you hope to gain from coaching. Do you need information on how to navigate living with a specific health condition abroad? Are you looking for specific resources for a country? What are the things that are keeping you from executing a plan?
Pinpoint your struggle areas. This is key because it will make it easier to find the right person who can address these pain points.
Each coach has a method for delivering information. You need to find out if their style works with yours. It is possible to meet a coach that, in theory, has the information you need but has a style that doesn’t work for you. You can ask, “Walk me through your coaching process.” That will help you gain some understanding as to how the coach works with their clients.
Once a coach shares this information, ask for client references. Speak with individuals who have first hand knowledge about the coaching experience. You should ask both about the good and the bad. This will help you compare the coach’s information with a client who has actually worked with them.
Not everyone who coaches is actually a good coach. You want to choose a coach that has developed the skill set to guide others. This is why it is helpful to talk to past clients and ask about results.
A good coach has a mix of experience and training (higher education, certifications or professional development). Does your coach engage in professional development opportunities (in their area of expertise) regularly? Does this coach leverage their educational background, such as a degree in counseling, to help others meet goals? Did this coach work in the area of their career coaching expertise such as an international educator who helps educators identify international education opportunities?
If your coach is leaning on personal experiences, make sure their practical coaching is applicable for your needs. Verify that your prospective coach has actually gone through the experience over a significant period to be able to provide advice. If the coach is too new in their own expat experiences, they may not be able to appropriately guide through some of the challenges that may occur, because, well, their experience is limited.
You shouldn’t expect a coach to provide a free coaching session. Some might as part of a discovery call. Some might not. But a good number of coaches provide avenues for you to see them work in action. You can start with their website (which they should have). Read the general scope of their information.
However, many coaches share a ton of information for free on various platforms. You can watch their videos on YouTube, engage with them via Tik Tok, join a private Facebook group or hear them speak at a conference. This gives you a solid body of work to review, especially if you don’t know anyone personally who has worked with them. You can read their writings, watch them on a screen and even participate in a live chat to get a sense of their work.
Like anything else, consider talking to multiple coaches to compare information and styles. Part of being a smart consumer is speaking with a few professionals so you can truly have some options to select from.
When doing so, have a list of questions that you can ask all your prospective coaches so you can compare responses. Here are some sample questions:
What is your expat coaching experience (number of individuals coached, years of experience, types of coaching situations)?
What type of training or experiences have you developed to prepare you as a coach?
What specific areas do you focus on?
How long have you been coaching?
What types of clients do you most like to work with?
What is your coaching specialty or areas in which you most often work?
What led you into coaching?
What are some of your success stories or results clients have had as a result of your coaching?
Working with a coach is investment on your part of both time and money. It’s important to for you to take the time to find the right individual that will be both a fit and match to help you on your expat journey.