Exciting Takeaways from a Europe vs Australia Coaching Culture Comparison
An Ask-Me-Anything session with Sally Clarke
It is an exciting time for the coaching community, with cross-border and cross-cultural coaching on the rise. Fuelled by the growth of remote work, more and more coaches are working internationally.
But, there is not a lot of data comparing coaching cultures across the world yet. So, we hosted an AMA with Sally Clarke, who generously shared her experience of coaching in the Netherlands, California, Australia, Portugal and Morocco.
We were very excited to do a deep dive into this topic with Sally, and in this post we share our top insights from the session.
Here is the full recording of the session, for those more inclined to watch the video:
Sally is a burnout recovery Coach, Co-Director of Human Leaders, Podcast host, and Author of two books on burnout; and her coaching has taken her all across the world and has given her many international clients.
So she is uniquely placed to share her observations on coaching cultures across the world. Her journey into coaching is incredibly moving, read our Coach Tales post from last year to find out more.
1. The Netherlands leads the way in workplace mental health legislation
This has helped to normalise the need for coaching, and has led to many companies building internal coaching expertise to support their staff.
For example, when people are diagnosed with burnout in the Netherlands, they are eligible to receive 2 years of paid time off to support their recovery. This type of legislation helps to validate the experience of burnout, leading to more support and conversations on the topic. This in turn means that more people take steps to avoid getting burnt out, and if they do, then there is a lot of high-quality support available.
Legislation is not everything, however. Culturally too, there is an open attitude towards coaching in the Netherlands compared to Down Under. Sally has observed this through many years spent in both Australia and the Netherlands. In recent years, Australian people are starting to become more open too, and she’s seeing a big increase in the number of people reaching out to her for support from Australia.
2. Australia is a more competitive market for coaching
So defining your coaching niche clearly can increase your client pipeline and create differentiation. Sally’s advice is to not be afraid to make your coaching niche super specific: finding your niche is a process of self-discovery and uncovering your own values.
Niching ‘down‘ can be scary because often coaches don’t want to exclude anyone from reaching out to them for support. But, it is an empowering process to clarify your speciality, and to lean into your strengths! Find the topics and conversations that make your heart shine, and they will guide you to defining your niche clearly.
Most of Sally’s coachees discovered her organically through word-of-mouth or social media like LinkedIn. She also relied on her voluntary coaching hours (performed as part of her coaching certification) to build up her coaching network.
3. Coaching when applied at global scale, can change the world
Coaching has so much untapped potential, and Sally is excited to see the younger generation across cultures have a much more open attitude towards seeking help. She believes (and we agree!) that coaching can be revolutionary. Coaching can be a core aspect of how people discover themselves and develop self-leadership. When we scale that up to millions of people and thousands of organisations, coaching’s impact can be off the charts.
There will of course be barriers to realising this potential, but Sally is a realistic optimist, and believes that the kind of self-transformation that is possible through coaching at the individual level can be evolutionary when applied at the global, humanity scale.
We could not agree more!
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