Ethical coaching across cultures

Ethical aspects of coaching and management in intercultural settings

Essay, 2010

17 Pages, Grade: 1,0


Table of contents


1 Coaching in intercultural management
1.1 A popular definition of coaching
1.2 The main occasions for coaching in intercultural management

2 Ethical guidelines
2.1 Coaching ethics
2.2 Business and management ethics

3 Inferences for coaching on ethics
3.1 The existence of intercultural and international ethics
3.2 Problems, dangers and possible limits of coaching
3.3 Opportunities for coaching
3.4 Summing-up



The development of ethical values in economy and society is the main condition of business, preservation of competitiveness and economic efficiency in post-industrial and global contexts. As Gerhard Winter states in ‘ Handbuch Interkulturelle Kommunikation und Kooperation’ there are three main reasons. Firstly, the increasing importance of the human as ´whole personality´ for the succeeding accomplishment of current changes and sustainable business success. Secondly, the lack of universal, obligatory – national and international – values as the basis of healthy corporate culture and successful intercultural management. And thirdly, the compensation of global economic- and social-political conditions by voluntary self-commitment to avoid extreme regulations and control and to secure business liberty.

Coaching as a type of counselling is in fashion. Personal and life, executive or leadership and business coaching are just a few genres in its’ practice. The history of coaching began in sports and was taken over in the 1980’s by business and slowly has found its’ utilization in the private area of life. But still dominant is its’ usage in the field of business and management. Hence, it appears important to take a closer look at the ‘tool’ Coaching. Does the use of coaching really works in various settings, especially in intercultural management? Do its ethical demands match with the routine of organizations and their managements? May coaching have an effect on ethics in intercultural management?

The following essay is an attempt to show how the codes of ethic of coaching and management in an intercultural setting are corresponding and to compare them to achieve success of coaching in intercultural management.

Therefore in Part I the ‘tool’ Coaching is briefly introduced and presented in the context of management. The codes of ethics of coaching and management are discussed in Part II. Finally, in Part III conclusions and possible problems, limits and chances to coaching, management and ethics.

1 Coaching in intercultural management

1.1 A popular definition of coaching

Coaching is understood as “the art of facilitating the unleashing of people’s potential to reach meaningful, important objectives” (Rosinski 4). This might be more distinguished between the following key elements:

1 Objectives: Coaching focuses on effects and results, to express and achieve aims. The present, current life and the future are at its centre.
2 Meaningful, important: The Client is engaged in an authentic way. Important is the clients’ commitment created by touching his real inner motives, values and objectives. Firstly, the coach helps the client to figure out what is important and truly meaningful in the life of the client. Secondly, he supports the client to serve both himself and to others, and pursue aims in the various stakeholders like employees or shareholders.
3 Potential: The Coach believes in the potential of the client – that they have more potential than is currently evident. With the vision of what this potential might be, the coach enables the client to discover, develop and overcome obstructions to realize that potential.
4 Facilitating: As an interactive and developmental process coaching empowers the clients to find their own solutions, discover new opportunities and enforce actions.
5 People: Coaching is applied in business life to individuals and teams. The work with teams implicates the aim to achieve synergy of the team and help the individual team members to reach their personal objectives.
6 Art: Coaching can be understood as the art of choosing the right, effective and innovative approach in a given situation for the client by combining techniques, models and perspectives to challenges to serve the clients’ needs. Referring to its’ authentic practice, intuition and synthetic intelligence are key competencies of the coach.

1.2 The main occasions for coaching in intercultural management

First it is important to define the situations in intercultural management in which coaching is necessary. Intercultural management involves the following groups of people and fields of activity, like Siegfried Stumpf (247) mentions:

- Specialists and managers who are working as expatriates of their organizations abroad
- Specialists and managers who are representatives of global acting organizations
- Specialists and managers who are working within the scope of international projects with intercultural teams
- Specialists and managers of the head office of an organization who are supervising foreign subsidiary and partner organizations or dealing with foreign costumers
- Specialists and managers of organizations whose employees are multicultural.

With this in mind, the usage of coaching in intercultural management is referring to the following operation levels respective of these target groups:

- Team Coaching
- Individual Coaching
- Executive / leadership Coaching

In concrete terms, coaching in intercultural business settings might be used for a) resolving problems in intercultural teams, building intercultural teams or facilitating a common business direction, b) preparing expatriates for their stay abroad, facilitating them during or after their stays or c) supporting executives in building and leading multicultural teams, cooperating with international companies and behaving in the international sphere of activity.

Moreover, coaching in the setting of intercultural management needs to deal with target groups like expatriates, managers, intercultural teams and employees at all levels and as a result, topics including mergers, outsourcing, cooperation and acquisitions in intercultural and international contexts.

Therefore, it is indispensable to mention shortly the four main strategic orientations of organizations dealing with culture by Mathias Schmelz (278-279): 1) ethnocentric, 2) polycentric, 3) regiocentric and 4) geocentric basic patterns. The ethnocentric orientation is in common use for developing an internationalisation strategy. For instance, technical and economic knowledge of the parent company shall be transferred and coordinated to foreign subsidiaries as well as the communication of an integrative corporate policy and standardization of management skills. This leads directly to ethical and moral matters and questions in intercultural managerial behaviour. And intercultural conditions implicate additional demands to management and coaching and the usage and question and possible need of integrative and universal ethical principles.

Siegfried Stumpf (251-253) states that the encounter of cultural variances requires several reactions to deal with the differences between the parent culture and foreign culture. He distinguishes between:

- Cultural dominance, acting in the purpose of the own culture
- Cultural accommodation, acting by adapting the demands of the foreign culture
- Cultural avoidance, ignoring cultural differences
- Cultural compromises, both ceasing of own ideas and converging at each other
- Cultural synergies, arising new, innovative and effective solutions

However, studies with multicultural teams show that cultural differences in teams tend to be solved by only dominance and adaption strategies. Furthermore, the common tendency of individual attempts of coping with cultural difference in international organizations is the strategy of dominance. This occurs in the background of explicit and implicit organisational strategies of internationalization and globalisation and illustrates the dimension of ethical demands and problems of coaching in intercultural management. Regarding this, these ethnocentric strategies lead to the devolvement of both personal standards and values, and to decision-making pattern and patterns of activity to, for instance, subsidiary organizations.

This tendency of the dominance strategy in intercultural management situations can be considered unethical and provides the necessity for coaching. By having a look at code of conducts in coaching and management below, it can be more refined.


Excerpt out of 17 pages


Ethical coaching across cultures
Ethical aspects of coaching and management in intercultural settings
European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder)  (Kulturwissenschaft)
ethical aspects of intercultural management
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
515 KB
ethics, business ethics, coaching ethics, coaching, intercultural management, management ethics, coaching definition
Quote paper
Alexandra Mietusch (Author), 2010, Ethical coaching across cultures , Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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