Any global leader would tell you that our world grows smaller with every international flight and 2 am video conference call. While a leader may quickly learn how to survive in cross-cultural settings, what’s more difficult is learning how to “thrive and succeed” as an outsider in a “new and foreign” world. In her article, Ang argues that coaches must first understand their own Cultural Intelligence Quotient (CQ), or “the capability to adapt effectively across national, ethnic and organizational cultures,” before they can coach cross-culturally. The model she presents is aimed at coaches but it has important implications for leaders who must communicate with, manage, motivate, influence, and inspire diverse groups. What Ang discounts is the primary importance of understanding the individual. I agree that recognizing cultural differences is essential to leading and working in a global world because it provides context and background for understanding the individual. However, you can’t categorize individuals based solely on cultural differences; that can lead to some dangerous stereotyping. In the end, your CQ doesn’t trump your EQ (“Emotional Intelligence Quotient”); it only supports in making your EQ better.

Read the full article in ICF’s Coaching World magazine by clicking here.