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Executive Coaching – still the way to go

September 25, 2015
Executive Coaching Packages from iglobal Coaching

Executive Coaching Packages from iglobal Coaching

Executive coaching is still the way to go,

if you want to become an intentional leader ( rather than an accidental one).

if you want to transition successfully into a new position, country, or both ( rather than play the ‘survival game’)

if you want to stay true to yourself (rather than bend to other’s expectations)

Commit to it!


Conversations with Women Leaders in Vietnam

March 12, 2015
the 2 authors (on the right) with 2 woman leaders

the 2 authors (on the right) with 2 woman leaders

I’ve been spending my last few months doing one of the most interesting and inspiring things I’ve ever done: I’ve been interviewing woman leaders in Vietnam for an upcoming book.

This is the first ever book focused on Vietnam’s women leaders and female leadership in Viet Nam.

At a time when Viet Nam is changing rapidly, and finding its place on the world stage, the book will appeal to both a domestic and an international audience.

In depth conversations with about 20 woman leaders in Vietnam will allow them to tell their own stories – their proudest and most challenging moments, what moves and motivates them, as well as learnings they’d like to share with others who will follow.

We will examine these stories through both Vietnamese and Western eyes, aiming to provide new insights into what it means to be a leading woman in Viet Nam in the 21st century.

Their stories will celebrate women’s achievements, and inspire, move other women into action to realize their dreams and ambitions.

Trailing spouse – the graveyard of ambition?

March 10, 2014

I have yet to read a better description of the infamous ‘trailing spouse’ dilemma.

six degrees north

visa copy School pick-up at an International school looks much like school pick up anywhere in the developed world. Apart from looking like a Benetton ad or maybe morning tea at the United Nations. And sure, there are a disproportionate number of drivers and nannies, say compared to a regular public school in Australia or the US, but the majority of people hanging out in the school yard before the bell goes, are mums.

Mums just like me, and maybe just like you. Women who were brought up and educated to believe that we could do whatever we set my minds to. Highly educated, well travelled, sophisticated, urbane, and overall a broadly privileged set.

We women who came of age in the 80s and 90s, we reaped the rewards of the feminist movement of the 60s and 70s. We are old enough to remember the cat calls, but young enough to remember…

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Executive Coaching in Vietnam

March 4, 2014

We’ve got some more research on leadership in emerging markets.

Research from Grant Thornton said:

“ In markets like Brazil, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam leaders we call the Modernists are evident – they are open to coaching, value creativity and intuition, and are much more likely to be women – or surrounded by women in senior positions.

By contrast leaders in European economies … are so-called Traditionalists – they are far less likely to use a coach, place less value on creativity and intuition and are less likely to be women.”

And, finally, some research on executive coaching in Vietnam:

The percentage of business leaders that use or have used a coach in Viet Nam was however lowest among the Asia Pacific, at only 20 per cent.

My latest intercultural resources now on Pinterest!

February 1, 2014

DSCN2631Discover the latest in intercultural resources on China, Vietnam, Leadership, Executive Coaching and Cross-cultural challenges on my pinterest boards.

I started this blog as an ‘intercultural resource’ back in July 2009.  More recently  I have been using Pinterest to build up a rich resource library of  links to articles, books, videos, info graphics and inspirational quotes. It’s colourful, fun and very informative!

I will continue to produce my own content on this blog from time to time, but until then, enjoy and explore my resources here.

Viet Nam – Three Surprising Facts

September 28, 2013

DSCN2708  I wanted to share with you three surprising facts about Viet Nam, my home for the past year.   It’s a fascinating place!

  1. Viet Nam is Facebook’s fastest growing market in the world.  More than 60% of Viet Nam’s more than 30 million internet users have Facebook accounts.
  2. Viet Nam is on track to export US$20 billion worth of smartphones in 2013, making it Viet Nam’s single largest export.   Over 50% of Samsung’s smartphone production is now taking place in Viet Nam.
  3. Viet Nam’s economy has been one of the fast growing economies in the world over the past 20 years:  GDP per capita has increased by a remarkable 1500% during that time.

Why am I sharing these facts with you?  It’s because often our stereotypes or assumptions about other countries and cultures, particularly those in the emerging world, can be a bit quaint and outdated.

So, it pays to check our assumptions – not least when we are looking to do business across cultures.

When a Billion Chinese Jump

July 24, 2012

Jonathan Watt’s book When a Billion Chinese Jump is thoroughly researched, well written and compassionate, particularly with regard to the Chinese people that suffer the consequences of Western consumption and Chinese economic development.

Watts shows us the ugly side of the miracle of the Chinese economic development, the environmental crises, and how history and tradition has shaped the Chinese view of the natural environment and its habitants.

When I – a vegetarian – studied in China in the 1990s, I was often told by Chinese that Chinese would eat anything that had legs that wasn’t a chair or a table.

“Nature”, as Watts puts it in his book, “has traditionally been valued for its utility and scope for consumption”.

Of course, it’s not so long ago that the West had a similarly utilitarian view of our natural surroundings.  But most Western countries now have strong conservationist movements and policies.

“Until the 1990s”, according to Watts, “the signs on cages at the Beijing zoo identified which parts of each animal could be eaten or used in traditional Chinese medicine”.

It’s hard to change traditions, and even harder now that more and more affluent Chinese are able to afford rare delicacies.

And when a utilitarian view of nature meets economic development then even a Wildlife Protection Law can’t help.  The Law prohibits the killing of 1300 endangered species, and promotes, among other things, captive breeding or conservation centres.

What’s interesting however is the location of these centres. Rather than being close to the endangered species habitats, half of the centres, according to Watts, “can be found near the main markets for traditional medicine and exotic food, Guangdong and Guanxi”.

Bon apetite!


Being global – what does it really mean?

April 23, 2012

Ángel Cabrera believes that global leaders can be made – he’s the president of Thunderbird School of Global Management, so it’s his job to say this.

“Truly global leaders”, he says, “act as bridge builders, connectors of resources and talent across cultural and political boundaries — relentlessly dedicated to finding new ways of creating value. They don’t just think and act global, they are global.”

Thunderbird’s research into how to best develop global leaders, surveying thousands of managers around the world helped them identify three critical skill sets that are essential for effective global leadership:

1. global mindset,

2. global entrepreneurship, and

3. global citizenship.

Associated with these 3 skills set are the 3 tasks of the global leader:

Connecting, creating, and contributing are the three core tasks that make or break a global leader.”

So where are the living examples?

Samuel Palmisano, IBM’s chairman and former CEO, recognized that IBM’s traditional hierarchical structure would not be effective in the 21st century. With 440,000 employees in 170 countries, Palmisano recognized that IBM couldn’t be run solely from the top; and in 2003 he reorganized the company into an “integrated global enterprise” focused on worldwide collaboration.

In a speech on IBM’s 100th anniversary, he said:

The old model of the heroic superman is increasingly archaic. The most active and successful leaders today see themselves as part of the global community and peer groups. They listen as well as they speak.”

You can read up on his own words here.


21st century skills

April 4, 2012

It is my big belief that one of the key social skills of this century is the ability to engage and relate across cultures and nationalities.

This week the New Zealand Management Institute has sent out their newsletter, including one of my articles: 21st century skills – relating across cultures and nationalities.

Engaging with people from different cultural backgrounds doesn’t need to become a ‘project’.

Research and practical experience show that there are basic competencies and ‘techniques’ we can all apply – starting from today.   One of them is:

Suspend judgment

Be mindful of your own reactions to others’ style: observe what behaviour is really hard for you to accept, or is totally different to what you expect. Resist the urge to quickly judge others, or to make assumptions.

Remind yourself that these kind of assumptions or business decisions can be costly.

When and where are you going to suspend judgment?

Long nian kuai le!

January 24, 2012

Happy Chinese Year of the Dragon , Happy Spring Festival!

Yesterday China and other Asian countries and communities all over the world celebrated the first day of the Chinese Lunar Year, or Spring Festival (chunjie).

The Year of the Dragon is associated with new good beginnings and good fortune. Those with an entrepreneurial spirit and into business will see success, it is also a good time to get married, have children or start a new business.

Traditional Chinese New Year celebrations last 15 days and finish with the Lantern Festival.  There will be celebrations all over the world, so look out for events in your area.

If you’re located in New Zealand check out events in Auckland and Christchurch,  as well as Wellington.

So, no need to get in touch with your Chinese business partners or colleagues between 22 January until 28th!


Last year I wrote about the pressure of migrant workers to make it home over the Golden Holidays (this year between 22 – 28 January).

This year I thought I’d share a relatively new phenomenon: Renting a Girl or Boyfriend to Return Home for New Year.

The pressure is on for the 20 something olds from parents and family to return home with a prospective partner. To avoid the grilling around the traditional round table on New Year’s Eve, or to gain face with relatives some seem to resort to hiring a fake partner.
According to them “renting a girl or boy friend” during this traditional festival when they have to return home for a family reunion means to show filial piety to their parents.

The public opinions on this new trend are naturally split.  Xinhua news agency interviewed a psychology professor and a lawyer on the topic prior to this year’s Spring Festival: while it’s not illegal to impersonate someone’s partner, it’s clearly not a long-term solution, and may even cause sadness and embarrassment further down the road.

The English online version of the Chinese People’s Daily even listed the prices people were expecting to pay for ‘Renting girlfriend for New Year” in ten cities last year.   You can check for yourself: put in “租友过年” (renting a friend for the New Year) on google or on baidu , its Chinese equivalent, to see how popular this topic has become.