Travel & Expat Lifestyle Magazine

6 Reasons To Hire An Expat Coach

weathervanebybobmacinnesEd: The following is a guest post by Emmanuelle Archer, a French expat living in Canada. As a coach and consultant, she works with expats, diplomats and accompanying spouses to help them live their expat lives to the fullest. Emmanuelle’s focus is on addressing the emotional and motivational aspects of expatriation through her company, Winning Away Coaching Ltd., and her blog.

Living in a foreign country can be challenging for anyone, even experienced expats.

If you are having a hard time adjusting, the good news is that a) it is perfectly normal and b) help is just a phone call away.

An expat coach can be your best ally and a key partner in a successful relocation.

6 reasons to hire an expat coach:

1. You are a first-time expat and you want to ensure a successful relocation

unsurebyjasoonAs a soon-to-be expat, you likely have a lot on your mind: excitement, uncertainty… and a long to-do list. Save yourself stress and time by hiring an expat coach who will bring you emotional and practical support, while helping you plan ahead and prepare for your life abroad.

2. You have ambitious goals and you need support to reach them

You want to put your time overseas to good use. Maybe you want to write your first book, or start an online business. Consider partnering up with a coach who will support you every step of the way, from brainstorming with you to keeping you accountable for your goals and making sure you celebrate your accomplishments!

3. You feel isolated

Being away from friends and family is tough, especially if you cannot meet local friends easily because of language or cultural barriers. Your expat coach cannot replace your best friend, but he or she can wear many hats: supporter, sounding board, mentor and even shoulder to cry on when you need it.

4. You are suffering from severe culture shock or homesickness

If you find yourself feeling completely overwhelmed, angry at your host country or afraid to leave the house, an expat coach will help you get through this rough patch. Together, you will work through these negative emotions so you can move forward and enjoy life again.

5. You are an accompanying partner and you need help adjusting to your new life

As an accompanying partner, you are faced with specific challenges: isolation, lack of recognition, career interruption. An expat coach understands what you are going through and will help you design a life that fits you and your unique situation.

6. Expatriation is taking a toll on your family or your couple

International relocation can put a lot of strain on your closest relationships. Don’t let tensions and resentment build up; hire a coach who will help you assess the situation objectively and give you tools to keep your home life harmonious.


8 thoughts on “6 Reasons To Hire An Expat Coach

  1. Hi Emmanuele,

    Great list!

    Another reason to add to the list:

    Research reports that most people become expatriates because they are looking for a different lifestyle. They want more freedom, adventure and new experiences.

    Unfortunately, without a fulfilling professional life, that new home country, once full of promise, can sometimes become a prison. Expatriates can feel trapped because there aren’t opportunities to use their skills or experience. The credentials may not be recognized, or language barriers may limit their options. They may take jobs that don’t “fit” who they are because they believe that is what they must do. They miss being challenged and connecting with others professionally.

    Without a network and lack of knowledge about current methods of career management in the global marketplace, an expatriate may not be in a position to enjoy their new adventure abroad.

    Hence if you are a professional, getting a coach who specializes in helping you build a successful career abroad will help you maximize the enjoyment of your time overseas. As expat coaches have different specializations, sometimes getting different coaches to address different areas of your expatriate experience can be a good idea.

    Additionally, loss of professional identity is one of the reasons why accompanying spouses struggle with an overseas assignment – and hence one of the reasons why so expatriate assignments fail. So if your reason for going overseas was your partner took an job overseas, insuring both people are getting the support they need for a fulfilling professional life is also very important.

    All the best,


  2. interesting article. i think the most important one that i would need help with is how to meet other expats. even though the communities are tight, it’s hard finding out where they are at first. it took me 2 years to get social while living in Costa Rica. I’m hoping, when i move to Guatemala, it won’t be that long!!!!!

  3. @Megan: Great point, thank you for adding that! Many expat coaches do focus on specific areas, so it is definitely important to choose a coach whose specialization / background / personality is the right fit for you.

    Do you find that aspiring expatriates are doing more research and career planning these days due to the current economic climate? I am noticing that new expatriates tend to be increasingly well-prepared, whereas the feeling of being trapped is sadly becoming more prevalent among longer-term residents who are losing their jobs or being put on a local package. Many of them feel they have no other options but to give up their dreams and leave their host country.

    @marina: looking back on your experience in Costa Rica, what made it easier for you to meet expats there? What worked for you, and how could you make it work again in Guatemala?

    The Just Landed expat network (http://community.justlanded.com/en) has a Guatemala community that looks fairly active. They also recently launched a version of their site in Spanish, so they look quite dedicated to attracting and connecting hispanohablantes… it may be worth a try if you would like to make some connections before your move.

    All the best! When are you moving?


  4. @emannuelle – I find that most of the time that expats are undervaluing themselves, don’t know how to communicate their value well in a culturally appropriate way, don’t have strong career marketing materials approriate for target country, and are working with old ideas about how to run their career. Its a new workplace and marketplace that requires the right tools & strategies to succeed. Whether they are new or a seasoned expat who has just moved off a package – these challenges usually apply. This is why my approach to building a career overseas is based in personal branding in a culturally relevant way.

    The process of understanding and communicating your value in a powerful way is something that people usually need support from a professional to do well. Career writing is a skill all its own not taught in schools unfortunately!

    Have a great weekend!

  5. Hi Emannuelle,
    Thanks for the information. I just registered with justlanded.com. Now that I think about what I did in Costa Rica was that I went to an english playgroup for mom and it kind of took off from that. Now I’m finding guatemalan expats thru blogs and other ways. plus, my husband is guatemalan and everyone knows a foreigner, so that helps too.
    The Travel Expert(a) and an Expat with a Twist

  6. I live in Ecuador and it is a wonderful country. Its people are so nice and kind, they will give you the most warming welcome. I have put together a helpful fact sheet, and also an article on Ecuadorian manners and customs

  7. Hi Emmanuelle,

    I am also French and expat coach and I have been in Tokyo, New York Atlanta and now Brussels. I found your list very good.

    I agree with Megan that loss of identity is one of the reasons why accompanying spouses struggle with an overseas assignment. It is really a priority to make sure the family is happy and excited to live abroad and get the support once they arrive. If possible, live first in a furnished apartment to prospect the best location for school, traffic jam, commutation etc. If you only have one week to find housing, contact a local expatriate club search blogs, ask questions on Linkedin and other social network to get the best advices. Most of the time,local real estate agents and relocation companies take advantage of your ignorance and will give you the wrong advices.

    Many people also do not search for basics topics to be negotiated with their company BEFORE accepting the expatriation like pension plan for the following spouse, compensation for loss of second income, support to job search, child care, health care, outplacement for trailing spouse, repatriation plan etc. An expat coach will be able to support the expat for negotiating international contract too.

  8. Does anyone have any advice on where to find a good expat coach? I moved to Greece a few months ago, don’t speak Greek, and feel very isolated and am experiencing a bit of identity loss (I received my license to practice law in NY 3 months before moving here [and never praciced] and now I work in a bakery in a small village). Any help would be appreciated. Thank you!

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