I am a female expat. How can I support my stay at home husband?

As a female expat, how can I support my husband who now has to be a stay-at home dad?

Female expat has a stay at home husband

Female expat has a stay at home husband

This is perhaps the biggest worry of most female expats. While we are confident about the expectations of our role, and our technical ability to do the job, we may be concerned about our spouses’ adjustment in a new environment. Generally, children adjust quickly to a new environment, the structure of the school, new friends and routine activities help children adjust smoothly. In general, female spouses get very busy setting up their new households, meet new people in their children’s schools, groceries and know how to keep themselves occupied.


The female expat’s biggest worry is their spouse. Male spouses suddenly find themselves out of their comfort zone as stay at home dads, now caring for brand new responsibilities like child-care, attending parent teacher meetings and conducting various household duties. Here are some tips for female ex-pats to help your spouse adjust to their new life while you are immersed and focused on your new expat assignment:


  1. Local networks. Finding the STUDS was a life saver for us when we moved to Belgium. STUDS stands for Spouses Trailing Under Duress Successfully, husbands or significant others of female ex-pats from all over the world with common interests. They have a biking group, wine tasting events and my husband quickly joined the golf group. They played golf every morning they could and hang out together for lunch comparing grocery sale prices, dry cleaners, Parent-teacher information and commiserated about local cultural differences. Encourage your spouse to check out local meet ups in your city and find the time to create new friends together.
  2. Hobbies and interests. Aside from golf, my husband became the coach of my daughter’s little league team and with other chaperone mothers, traveled to different cities in Europe to compete. The mothers and kids were pleased that they had a dad with them.
  3. Acknowledge loneliness or homesickness. You are both fish out of water in this new place and the feeling is real, it is normal to feel this way. Plan your next home leave or tour your new environment, the assignment will move so fast that before you know it, it is time to go back home. If your relatives and friends can visit, invite them over.
  4. Time for each other. You or your children may be traveling and this can cause some anxiety for you or your spouse. I’ve accepted that we are a global family and whatever city I was in, I would say to myself, I am home. Home is not a physical place, it is where my heart is. I would take our family picture wherever I went and it is the first thing that I would unpack and place near my bed. My husband and I would call each other daily, no matter where I was. With free video calls, it is possible to feel connected and make time for each other even when you miles apart.


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I need this overseas assignment to work. Do I need an expat coach?

“I am going on an expat assignment.  What do I need to know?”

Global leader on an expat assignment

Global leader on an expat assignment

Being an expat global can be overwhelming, with many moving parts and critical priorities that all need your attention. A lot is at stake. You feel the pressure to produce. You may be constantly jet lagged due to travel and late night conference calls. You do not want to disappoint your bosses and you certainly want to ensure your family’s happiness and well-being while away from home.


In order to ensure that you are successful in your ex-pat role, there are a few items that need to be top on your priority list.


  1. Be clear with your stakeholders on the goals & objectives of your assignment. How will your success be measured, how quickly does your boss expect to see these results
  2. Decision Making – As an ex-pat, you are going to make several decisions, some simultaneously, some urgent, some without all the information that you need.  What decisions do you need to run by headquarters and which decisions are you empowered to make.
  3. Team – ensure that you have the best team in place or move quickly to have the right people. You will heavily depend on your local team and you need to be able to trust them.
  4. Communications – what is the frequency and method of communicating back to HQ and how often do you need to provide updates? This is where most ex-pats get frustrated. Agree upfront with your bosses on how to proactively connect with each other.
  5. Cultural and Language training – do not pass up the opportunity to learn about the cultural nuances and local language of your host country. Many ex pats feel that this is not necessary and pass this up. Local language is generally more of a necessity for day to day living than it is in the office since most business conversations are conducted in English.
  6. Global leadership development and ex-pat coaching – Cultural and language training is not enough. In order to be effective, you need to acquire new leadership skills that will help you succeed in a global multi-cultural & multi-lingual environments. Our Transglobal Leadership TM workshop (Sharkey, Cooke et al) can be customized to your needs. It includes an extensive 360 assessment of your global readiness, strengths and areas of development; ex pat coaching and a strategic action plan for your first 100 days. We do an individual customized program or a group program tailored to your company’s needs. My ex pat coach in Belgium was a life saver who eventually became a close family friend. I confided in him and his insights and advice have been invaluable. Please contact me for more information.

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Can a global leader fail after moving to another country?

How can my top global leader fail after moving him?

Can a global leader fail after moving to another country?

Can a global leader fail after moving to another country?

I have an executive who was very successful in Europe. We promoted him to the United States to head a larger group.   After two years, he has been unable to replicate his success in Europe. He has alienated his team and has not achieved expectations. He also has the lowest employee engagement scores. How has this happened and can an executive coach help him?


It appears that his success formula in Europe no longer works. It needs to be updated. This is not surprising. A new expat leader needs to build a new success strategy in a new environment. Definitely, an executive coach can help him.


Before you contract with an executive coach, it is important to find out the willingness of the executive to work with a coach. Establish a clear contracting agreement with your executive on the value of an executive coach. Honestly point out what is at stake, identify the problem that needs to be solved, and document the expected outcomes. Document the consequences if this problem is not resolved. Once this is clarified, the accountability lies on the executive being coached. He or she needs to take full responsibility to contract with the executive coach. He needs to set the goals of the engagement, set the expectations and work on improving behaviors that will make him more effective.


I establish trusting working relationships with my clients where we can be totally open and honest with each other both ways. We identify the specific areas that need development and create a 100 day strategic plan to accomplish our objectives. Depending on the specific need, I may recommend an assessment, interview key stakeholders, observe the executive at work or facilitate a leadership session with the executive’s direct reports. Each executive coaching engagement is unique and customized to meet the expected outcomes.


Most often the success formula in one’s own home country does not work automatically in another region. This happens unless it is purposefully redesigned to adapt to the new environment, culture and expectations of the new team.  This is where most leaders make the mistake and fail.  They naively think that their local leadership style is transferable.  In this particular case, the European leader had an authoritarian style that made him successful in his local market.  The US team did not appreciate being told what to do, did not feel that he was communicating with them and was paralyzed when he started firing a couple of leaders who have been with the company for a long time.  They lived in fear that they would be next, thus results are down, attrition is up and employee engagement reached an all time low.


We had our work cut out for us.  We first had to establish a high level of trust before we could begin to work on our tough issues.  This took a long time because he was in total denial that his success formula no longer worked.  Once we got past that, we did a 360 assessment so he could identify what areas in his own leadership worked against him.  There has been some incremental progress. Results were starting to improve and he is starting to get more relaxed.   Unfortunately, these kinds of changes do not happen overnight.  This leader has his work cut out for him and it will take several executive coaching sessions to see more visible results.


Going forward, it would be better to hire an executive coach at the very beginning of the expat assignment.  This way the level of awareness and change can happen during the first months in a new country.


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How do I identify a local leader who can become a global leader?

How can I identify local leaders who can become global leaders and lead my overseas operations?

Can I find local leaders who can become global leaders?

Can I find local leaders who can become global leaders?

In order to expand globally, I feel we have to hire staff native to the market we choose. How can I get my local office up and running and staff it with the right people. How can I identify local talent who can be a global leader?


Liza Sichon says:  Your instincts are right, the key to building a strong local presence is to hire a top local leader who has the qualities to attract and retain local talent while at the same time can serve as a global leader, liaison and interpreter back to headquarters.


It might be necessary at first to send one of your own trained staff to transfer technical knowledge or set up systems and processes that would link to your home office.


However, you will want to quickly identify someone local who can communicate effectively, a self-starter, respected in his local community and has the qualities of a Transglobal leader. Not all local leaders can transition to global leaders. The Transglobal Leadership Survey can help determine the local leader’s strengths and development plan to be a global leader. To learn more about Transglobal leadership, contact me at liza at

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Do I have global leaders? How to tell if they are already on staff.

How can I tell if I have global leaders already on staff?

Do I have global leaders?

Do I have global leaders?

My Board wants me to expand into Asia next year. I do not know if I have the right people to make the expansion work. How can I tell if my people can be global leaders?  Where do I begin?

This is a common problem most leaders face as they expand globally. Do you have the global leaders needed to grow your business overseas? Are you planning to send people on expat assignments? They are costly but have long term advantages. Do you plan to send someone on a short term assignment that would last around 6-12 months with frequent trips back home?

Your global leader selection process involves interviews, 360 assessments and executive coaching for the duration of the assignment. Unless you have the right combination of talent, skills and interest in a global assignment in your current staff, it is safe to assume that you do not have global leaders ready. With the right development however, your people can be developed into global leaders.

1. In-depth Interview. Some of they key questions you need to ask during the interview relate not only to their technical knowledge but also to their personal and professional leadership skills. Once you are convinced about their technical ability and leadership experience, you need to probe deeper.  Find out their personal willingness. Find out their family’s willingness to move and adapt to a new environment, especially a culture that may be considered very different from their current one. Are they willing to pay the price and endure the sacrifice to be a global leader? Yes, working abroad is not fancy and glamorous. It entails a lot of sacrifice and difficulties. Find out if they have been in situations where they were totally out of their comfort zone. How did they handle the situation. What was the result? Ask what would they do differently if they had to do it all over again. Global leaders are not easily intimidated when they are out of their comfort zone.

2. Assessment. An assessment will provide you and the candidate an objective measurement to assess their readiness to be a global leader. The assessment that I like to use is the Transglobal Leadership Survey. It is a proven and reliable 360 assessment based on the research conducted by Sharkey and Cooke on top global leaders, who created positive constructive cultures that resulted in successful business results.  The candidate completes a self-assessment. They ask their bosses, peers and direct reports to assess their global leader readiness. Based on the results of the survey, you can identify which candidate will be a successful global leader.   Be aware that there is no perfect global leader who will score high on all the Transglobal leadership behaviors. The survey’s value is to point out their strengths and areas to develop.

3. The third suggestion is to hire an executive coach for your top global leader candidate. Get a coach with prior global experience and expertise in transitioning local leaders into becoming a global leader. The coach is a trusted adviser who will help the candidate navigate through complex and sometimes confusing cultural landscapes and nuances of working and living outside your home country.

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Will future employers check you out on social media?

Yes. You have to expect your future employers will check you out on social media


Check you out on social media? Potential employers will. You can bet on it.

Check you out on social media? Potential employers will. You can bet on it.

“Social media is where the world is today, whether we like it or not” Sichon of Executive HR Coach said. You have to expect your prospective employers, customers, friends, business associates, potential girlfriends or boyfriends, future in-laws to check you out on social media. It’s like asking someone, “Do you eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner?” It’s the way it is. It’s not a new strategy or a fad. It’s not a policy for the moment. It’s just the way the world is today and who knows what it is going to be like in the future.


High school students are now being coached to be very careful about their social media presence. They learn that college admissions officers will most likely look at their social media profiles. It’s the same advise I give job seekers. Employers may look at the social media profiles of their candidates, how professional their profiles are and would they want you to be associated with their company?


My social media manager tells me one if his clients does social media checks on job applicants. These people are applying for minimum wage jobs. If someone applying for a minimum wage job is getting their social media presence reviewed, you can expect a prospective employer to check your social media presence too.


Start by checking out what your social media presence looks like. Google yourself and see what comes out. List the sites you visit often. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Pinterest, You Tube, Instagram. Look for anything that you would not like to see. Look for pictures that do not paint you in a positive light.

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Why is emotional intelligence important?

Help me understand emotional intelligence and self-control in leaders. Why are they important?


Why do I need to understand emotional intelligence in leaders?


We have all read about very smart and intelligent leaders, politicians, celebrities or athletes at the top of their game getting involved in scandals due to apparent lack of self-control or anger management issues.


If somebody excels at emotional intelligence, they are able to control and redirect their emotions. Do you unconsciously wear gloves to work and are ready to defend and verbally punch anyone who disagrees with you?


Emotional intelligence quiz

What are some ways to handle your negative emotions? Take this short quiz and find out:

  1. Take a break and eat ice cream or chocolate, this will makes you happy.
  2. Take a short nap.
  3. Talk to your best friend.
  4. Meditate for 10 minutes.
  5. Walk around the block for at least 20 minutes.
  6. Continue working, you do not have time to handle your feelings.
  7. Lay in your couch and watch TV


If you answered yes to # 2, 3, 4, 5, you are handling your emotions constructively. Passive activities like snacking on junk food, watching TV or suppressing your negative feelings will only make your situation worse.


Think about the last time you ignored your feelings, did it just simply go away?  Or did you just bury it? or did it blow up on something totally unrelated?


Liza Sichon is the founder of Executive HR Coach. She coaches executives and their teams on how they can meet their financial goals, advance their careers and live fulfilling lives.  For more information, visit her website and

How can I tell if my boss is lacking emotional intelligence?

It is easy to identify when a boss has good emotional intelligence, and when he doesn’t

Does my boss lack emotional intelligence?

Does my boss lack emotional intelligence?

You already know it.  Think about your best boss. Let’s examine his or her behavior, shall we? Think about why you consider this person to be your best boss. Think about the relationship you have. As you answer these items, mostly likely you will say this is not the boss who micro-managed you, who embarrassed you or did not provide you with learning opportunities. This is not the boss who made you feel small. This is not the boss who was impatient.


Rather, this was a boss who cared about you as a person. This boss was concerned about developing you.  They  managed their emotions especially when they were angry, they did not let it out on others.  Your boss encouraged you to achieve goals that you may not even think you can achieve and gave you the support and tools to succeed.  Your boss fostered positive relationships with others and encouraged you to do the same. You will likely say you had a strong emotional connection with that boss. This boss most likely had high emotional intelligence.


You don’t park your emotions in the parking lot when you come to the office every day. You bring your emotions with you. Emotions are like the flu. When the boss enters the room in a bad mood, everybody catches that mood. The tension and stress in the office increases. Fear increases. People start looking over their shoulders, afraid to make mistakes and are paralyzed in making decisions. Productivity goes down, job satisfaction goes down, attrition goes up.


Whereas if you have a boss with high emotional intelligence, the environment will be far more pleasant. This boss is willing to develop you, values your contributions and sees you as a person. He does not see you as just a subordinate. When you have this type of boss with a high emotional intelligence, you will most likely want to stay and do your best. You have a pleasant and rewarding environment. Studies have shown that 50% of life satisfaction comes from the relationship with your boss. If you don’t have a relationship that’s positive, most likely, you will leave.


My social media manager told me about a company where the boss needed emotional intelligence help. She berates her employees, shows them little respect and talks about them behind their backs. She thinks this is normal…everybody should expect it. She also has a high attrition rate. Only one person has stayed longer than a year. That person is a remote worker 800 miles away.


Liza Sichon is the founder of Executive HR Coach. She coaches executives and their teams on how they can meet their financial goals, advance their careers and live fulfilling lives.  For more information, visit her website and

What is emotional intelligence?

Help me understand emotional intelligence

What is emotional intelligence?

What is emotional intelligence?

Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, Annie Mackee and Relly Nadler are prominent published authors and researchers in the field of emotional intelligence. Nadler, through his research and published in his book – Leading with Emotional Intelligence said that IQ alone is not enough for leadership success.


IQ is your cognitive and analytical ability.  A lot of people get hired through IQ and experience and a lot of people derail because they fail to understand and develop their own emotional intelligence.


Emotional Intelligence refers to your ability to understand and manage yourself and others. Emotional intelligence helps you keep your job and grow your career.  Whether you like it or not, you will have to learn how to deal with people, their emotions, what makes them tick and manage your own in the process as well.

Are You Born with Emotional Intelligence or is it Learned?

Some researchers suggest that emotional intelligence can be learned and strengthened, while others claim it is an inborn characteristic. While IQ is relatively fixed, we believe EQ can be developed. In order to improve your emotional intelligence, it is important to first know where you are in the emotional intelligence scale.

  • Once you know what your strengths and areas of improvement are, you can improve your emotional intelligence by focusing on one or two areas to develop.  Try not to be overwhelmed by the data, choose only one or two areas that you want to further strengthen or develop
  • Next, ask your direct reports, bosses, peers to do an assessment of your emotional intelligence. Compare their answers to your own self assessment
  • Identify 1-2 areas that you want to focus.  Do not try to change everything at once.  Develop new ways of responding to people, use new behaviors and consistently practice. Overtime, you will learn new habits.
  • In order to improve your emotional intelligence, work with a peer coach or hire an executive coach.  We all know that left to our own devices, we do not really know how to change our behavior. Find an accountability partner, someone who will hold you accountable to the change that you want to see in yourself.


At our emotional intelligence workshops, Dr. Nadler and I ask the participants questions to trigger their knowledge of the topic. A sample question reads: “One of your co-workers has a habit of taking credit for your work and this bothers you.


How do you respond?

Take this short quiz and figure out your own emotional intelligence:

  1. Highlight your co-worker’s comments in the discussion and add that you personally have been working on this very issue.
  2. Make a complaint about the behavior to your supervisor.
  3. Talk about your coworker behind his back.
  4. Keep quiet and let it pass. You do not want to cause any conflict.


Yes, it is a rather intellectual concept, but it is all about understanding and managing your emotions. You can learn more about emotional intelligence by taking the quiz or attending one of our workshops.


Liza Sichon is the founder of Executive HR Coach. She coaches executives and their teams on how they can meet their financial goals, advance their careers and live fulfilling lives.  For more information, visit her website and

Three reasons why you should have a career coach

Why should you have a career coach?

Career Coach Liza Sichon

How can I help your career today?

As you progress in your career, you will need to plan and strategize how you can grow with someone you can trust. What are the key learning experiences that you need to have to realize your dream career? A trained career coach will help you grow your leadership and your career.

Some of the many benefits you can get from your career coach

  1. A career coach can hold up the mirror and reflect back your problems, thoughts and ideas back to you. Your career coach will listen attentively and objectively. She will ask you deeper questions on matters involving your career that you haven’t considered. Sad but true, people need extra training on how to listen. Coaches have that training. Therapists have that training. Coworkers, spouses and friends…probably do not.
  2. A career coach is a trusted confidant. You get a supportive and trusting professional relationship focused on your career goals. You share your concerns confidentially with your career coach. You work together and create a strong bond. You may explore different options and avenues that you didn’t know existed. A career coach will create a secrecy pact with you. Coaches are bound to keep your conversations confidential. You can be open and honest with your coach. Your thoughts and feelings will remain private. Can you say the same about secrets you tell your friends, neighbors and coworkers? Is your career advancement worth a conversation with a coach?
  3. A career coach will challenge you to think outside your boundaries or free you of your limiting thoughts. The career coach may push you out of your comfort zone to explore areas where you haven’t ventured. You can expand your thinking about where you are taking your career. Friends, neighbors and coworkers will tell you, “You have a nice car, a nice house and nice clothes. You have made it.” A career coach will challenge you to evaluate your career and be clear on your long term vision. You will set higher expectations and enjoy the rewards.

I have a new client, Daphne. She thought she would remain a middle manager forever. “That’s just how it is with women in the workplace,” she told me. “We have a glass ceiling. Career growth is not as promising as it is for men. Also, I am already 48. I cannot advance.” Her employer knew she had potential and brought in a career coach for her. I am helping her overcome those self-limiting beliefs.

In just a few months, she has reevaluated her career. She sees more senior level opportunities. She is asking what she needs to do before she can become a serious candidate for a VP role. She no longer thinks only men can advance. Daphne believes the sky is the limit.

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Why Hire a coach?

Top Reasons Coaches are Engaged:

(HBR Jan 2009)

    • Develop high potentials or facilitate transition: 48%
    • Act as a sounding board: 26%
    • Address derailing behavior: 12%