December 9, 2019

Cartus Cross-Cultural Coaching for Assignment Success

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Cartus Cross-Cultural Coaching for Assignment Success

Posted by: Dana Breitenstein – Global Director, Intercultural & Language Solutions. 

This month marks my 20th year at Cartus in Hong Kong, and my 30th year in the intercultural field. When I started my career, fax machines were still cutting-edge technology. In 30 years, I have seen many changes in cross-cultural training, but none more important than the innovative approach of the Cartus Cross-Cultural Coaching program that we are launching this month and the value it can deliver for our clients and their assignees.

The first time I heard about executive coaching, I was struck by the thought that the coaching approach is an ideal solution for international assignees, because a coaching format provides the flexibility assignees need throughout their transition. Although assignees consistently rate our 1-2 day Cartus Cross-Cultural Programs as “very valuable”, and the vast majority say they are “very likely” to recommend our programs to their colleagues, assignees have also given feedback that they would prefer more flexibility, with shorter sessions that could begin pre-departure and continue through their transition period post-arrival. This valuable feedback from our customers has been the fuel for us to transform our programs from cross-cultural training to cross-cultural coaching.

Coaching vs. Training: Service Innovation Driven by the Voice of the Customer

Coaching, by definition, focuses 100% on the coachees’ priorities and the goals they want to accomplish. To support those ongoing goals, an assignee works with their Intercultural Coach in multiple coaching sessions over a 3-6 month period.

 By comparison, training typically occurs as a full-day session and is often a one-time event. It is no wonder that the value of coaching is perceived as significantly greater than that of training, which is why the $2 billion (USD) coaching industry continues to grow, whereas training is increasingly moving toward online solutions.

What is Cartus Cross-Cultural Coaching? ILS blog image.png

Cartus’ coaching program is an innovative new product that combines intercultural expertise with country-specific content and a flexible coaching-delivery methodology. In our coaching program, Cartus-certified Intercultural Coaches utilize our proprietary SUCCESS framework, developed from insights gathered over our 25+ years of cross-cultural training work, delivered in 93 countries.

Our coaching solution gives assignees the choice between meeting with an Intercultural Coach in person for a 1- or 2-day long program, or meeting with a coach virtually who is based in the destination country. In the pilot phase of our Cross-Cultural Coaching program, 45% of assignees chose the face-to-face interaction, whereas 55% preferred the coaching sessions delivered virtually. Giving assignees a choice on their preferred format is very important to our clients as well, so we ensured that there was no difference in the cost.

Two Levels of Coaching Support

In order to provide even greater flexibility to our clients and customers, Cartus is offering two levels of coaching support.

  • Coaching Core Support – includes four 90-minute coaching sessions and three months of post-arrival transition support
  • Coaching Extended Support – includes six 90-minute coaching sessions and six months of post-arrival transition support

Real-time Access to an Intercultural Coach

A significant added benefit of Cartus’ Coaching programs is that assignees can communicate with their coach anytime between coaching sessions. This access line of communication, beginning pre-departure and continuing through their transition period of 3-6 months post-arrival, is invaluable to help ensure the assignees and their entire family have the support they need to adjust and perform quickly, and to manage their transition successfully. Another key benefit of the coaching program is that couples can choose to share their coaching sessions by participating in some sessions together and some sessions separately to focus on their individual priorities.

Maximum Delivery Flexibility

Our goal with our coaching product was to provide the ultimate flexibility and maximum relevance to each assignee and accompanying partner. Feedback from both our clients and assignees has been tremendous. Assignees value being given the choice on which delivery methodology works best for them, and clients value the expansion of support the assignee and spouses receive for their entire transition period at no additional cost to the organization.

The development of our Cartus Cross-Cultural Coaching solution was the result of a global team effort collaborating to design a more flexible offering based on voice-of-the-customer and client feedback. When I look back over the past 20 years of my career at Cartus, I am proud to be a part of this team and thrilled to be launching our new Cross-Cultural Coaching program to our clients and assignees.

If you would like more information about Cross-Cultural Coaching or any of our Intercultural & Language Solutions, contact us at or visit our Resource Hub on

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