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As more business is being conducted globally, business owners may find it useful to recruit the services of an international business coach to help them succeed in foreign countries and gain the confidence to strike out into new territory.
In general, an international business coach is a support person or a support team for an international company, whether it is a two-person microbusiness or a Fortune 500 corporation.
"The coach works collaboratively with the individual to help find a solution that works best for them," says Dean Foster, president of DFA Intercultural Global Solutions, an intercultural coaching and consulting company based in New York. "It's a guiding, supporting kind of a role."
— Dean Foster, president of DFA Intercultural Global Solutions
The services provided by an international business coach vary widely based on a coaching company's philosophy and the individual needs of the business.
Foster says his coaches assist employees and international companies doing business in foreign countries on a variety of issues, mainly intercultural, such as building business relationships, understanding social norms in foreign countries, mastering different negotiation styles, understanding the roles of managers in a new country and learning the protocol for women in certain foreign countries.
For example, coaching services may be useful for a Canadian business owner who wants to follow through on a rigorous expansion plan in Indonesia, or a U.S. sole proprietor struggling to find an appropriate work-life balance while working in Beijing. Or, an English business owner working in Croatia may turn to a coach simply for an objective opinion - which is a struggle for many small businesses that don't have boards of directors or other associates with a broader point of view.
International business coaches aren't only for experienced business owners. Tuffy Habib, president of Harkness International Corp., a consulting services and coaching firm based in Gainesville, Fla., says he has been receiving a lot of coaching requests recently from college students from foreign countries who want to expand a family business into the U.S. "At college, you don't learn everything you would like," he says. "You learn the theory, but you really don't have the hands on the dough, as people say." That's where a coach with real-world business experience can come in handy.
Regardless of why a business owner may seek the help of an international business coach, making foreign payments for a service can be an easy and straightforward process. Using a trusted online foreign exchange service that offers relevant resources and helpful insights on currency strategy enables a business owner to make foreign payments in his or her domestic currency on a one-time or ongoing basis.
Hiring an international business coach may be especially important for small businesses, Foster says, since smaller businesses tend to lack a deep pool of resources, such as a human resources department or expat employees.
"They don't necessarily have the resources to fix the mistakes," Foster says. "Smaller companies have to be very nimble. They've got to get it right from the start. So it becomes that much more critical to have a cultural coach."
For example, if a Canadian business owner travels to Shanghai to engage in some important negotiations with Chinese vendors, a business coach can help that individual hone her negotiation skills ahead of time either face to face or virtually.
"A coach [is] someone who understands the culture, can step in, listen to the issue, help the individual clarify what's going on and help them think about some best practices to overcome it and deal with it," Foster says.
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