In a Previous article, I quoted Intercultural competence as the capability to function effectively across various cultural contexts (national, ethnic, organizational, generational, etc.). From here came the concept of Cultural Intelligence (CQ). In the CQ Model above, Drive sits as the corner stone of gaining CQ. In this article, I present CQ Drive and its components and how it grows Intercultural competence. From a practical coaching skills perspective with examples from my most recent Intercultural experience.
In CQ, there are three sub-dimensions to drive. The first is Intrinsic Interest where an individual derives enjoyment from culturally diverse experiences. This is demonstrated in an individuals’ preference for choosing to go on a tour on your own to explore the local neighborhood in a country you decided to visit and speak with local people instead of taking a bus tour guide where you are a distant participant.
When I first arrived in Norwalk, CT in 24th , January 2016, I remember going down next morning with my kids for a walk exploring what people were doing in our neighborhood. I visited the library and found my first Dunkin Donuts. I met few people from different backgrounds who smiled back and said hi. Norwalk, CT is multicultural, and Americans are welcoming in general. I felt happy and settled-in quickly. My adventures in the neighborhood told me something about my ability to enjoy the context and be part of it. It was natural and filled me with joy. Benefits of this walk came back two days later as you will see next.
The second sub-dimension is extrinsic interest which means an individual can be motivated to benefit professionally from an Intercultural encounter. This may ably to certain people whom their career is around being in an intercultural environment, it means they will find ways to interact and grow their cultural awareness motivated by that. For me, this was the ability to learn how to standout in an American competitive market filled with leadership coaches.
The third day after my arrival I was picked up by the ICF-CT president Sheila Wall, from the doors of Norwalk library, which I had explored two days earlier, kindly offered me a return drive to the chapter in-person meeting (that’s why it’s important to walk the local streets where you go). She introduced me as a first timer and I was greeted by 25 professional peers and assigned a one our free coaching which later determined my involvement on the board for a year. I was motivated to position my career through the chapter and made my list of to do things when I arrive in CT a month ahead, one was to call the chapter president and seek information. Luckily, my call came three days before the meeting in the middle of all the unpacked boxes and luggage on the first day of my arrival as it was on the top of my list to do. The guest presenter of the workshop was Marge Piccini and the topic was about positioning yourself in the market as a coach. I had the honor to be coached by her in my own positioning for a free hour as part of a draw gift. I then worked hard to learn more, and I am now the owner of my business in Intercultural coaching. I was highly motivated professionally to situate my self in the market and succeed.
The third sub-dimension in CQ Drive, is self-efficacy. Self-efficacy means having the confidence to be effective in a culturally diverse situation. This is the part that I emphasize during an intercultural coaching session. The strength you have which can be used to enhance your performance. How to capitalize on your past successful experiences. This is exactly what Marge Coached me on in 45 min of the hour she gave me. Quickly that changed my Career direction and focused my thoughts. This is the essence of what I do in my company Fanar when I present CQ training and Intercultural coaching. Therefore, I think I can help anyone who finds themselves in a new transition and a different culture, be it marriage, career or study.
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 Soon Ang and Linn Van Dyne, 2008. Conceptualization of Cultural Intelligence, in Handbook of Cultural Intelligence: Theory, Measurement, and Applications (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2008), 3.