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  • Claudia Disco

What does your ideal suitcase look like?

The life of the expat is filled with new discoveries, changes and challenges. It can be thrilling to discover another part of the world and learn about a new culture. On the other hand, all the changes, cultural differences and the distance from our family and friends can make us feel lonely and misunderstood.

Expat coaching aims at making the client reach their true potential and improve the quality of their life during any stage of an expatriation. This can be from the first stage of deciding to look for an expatriate assignment, moving on to another expatriate assignment, to returning home.

For me, as an expat, an important symbol of the expat’s journey is the suitcase. The suitcase and its contents are one of the few constant items throughout the different phases of expatriation. Our symbolical suitcase carries our identity, values and believes, and capabilities. Somewhere on our life’s journey we may discover that the suitcase has become difficult to carry. We might have forgotten about some precious memories we carefully packed away a long time ago. Or we realize our lightweight cabin suitcase has to be replaced with a supersized rolling suitcases to accommodate our growing family. Coaching can help you see things more clearly.

Metaphorically I will use the suitcase to explain what my coaching process can look like.

1. Check-In: After a free introduction session the client decides if they want to check-in their suitcase?

2. Destination: Once checked in, it is time to define the goal of the suitcase’s coaching journey. What suitcase do you want and where do you want it to go.

3. Identity: What is the story of the suitcase the client is carrying? What kind of suitcase is it and what is inside.

4. Capacity, Capability and Reality: What is the capacity of the suitcase? What are its capabilities? Where is the suitcase now?

5. Action, moving forward: Building on the previous stages, what does the client need to complete their journey and reach their goal?

Before starting the coaching sessions a free introduction session will help clarify if the client wants to check in their suitcase. First of all, it is a moment for introductions. Secondly, it is about demystifying what coaching is all about. Finally, the

client’s expectations will be discussed.

The client is free to decide if they want to pick up their suitcase and start the coaching journey. Coaching has no space for judgments, it is all about the client and every suitcase is unique.

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