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Value Differences_Final

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>> Hello again. So far in this module we've established why and how to get to know our clients on a cultural level so that we don't make the mistake of imposing our own cultural conditioning on them. Today, we're going to apply this one step further by discussing common cultural differences and values that can come up in the context of coaching. Now if a person wants to be coached, chances are they're at least interested in the core values of coaching, like individual growth for example. It's not likely that you're going to offend them by presenting such concepts. What's key is assessing where they are in relation to these values because there might be struggle in benevolence in some of these areas. For example, you might have a client who's struggling to get her business off the ground, and you see that she's self-sabotaging. The limiting belief that's driving all of this might be that she was taught in her family and in her culture that women were to raise babies, not have careers. While it's not at the forefront of her mind, it could be what's driving her behavior. And so before she can work on expanding her business, she'd benefit from taking the time to explore with you what her culture means to her and how it impacts her life. So we have to respect and be mindful of the fact that for all we know, something like the concept of autonomy might be a new and difficult struggle for a client to really even just accept as a possibility for him or herself. Something that we might not even think twice about might be weeks' worth of material for this client to properly work through to get themselves primed just to do the work itself. We need to provide space for this. To help you stay alert for differences in perspective that we might take for granted, I'll share with you the six major cultural value differences to be mindful of. They are, one, individualism. In general, Western cultures emphasize individualism. Individualist societies condone the idea that a person's life is his or hers to do what they want with and that he or she has a right to live how they see fit, apply their own judgment, and place a high value on living a fulfilling life and pursuing their dreams. The individual is the primary unit of concern. On the other hand, many cultures around the world stress collectivism, which means ensuring that the collective good of the society or the family is valued higher than the needs and wants of the individual. The group is the primary unit of concern. While we may seek coaching to become better parents, lovers, or caregivers, it's a self-oriented pursuit. Self-improvement is centered on the self. So for people who were raised in a society or a home where collectivist values were stressed, coaching may be viewed as selfish. Investing into oneself under such circumstances, could trigger feelings of guilt or ambivalence. You're not going to ask your clients, "Do you believe in individualism or collectivism?" But you can assess this value by asking questions, like, "Were you raised to chase your dreams or to be responsible and take care of your family? Or does anything come up for you when you think deeply about investing in your own self-care and growth?" And metaphor that I love to used to tap into this is to ask, "In life, do you think it's more important to put the oxygen mask on yourself or on a loved one first?" Two, uncertainty avoidance. This is about having a preference for clearly structured situations and apprehensiveness toward situations that are new, risky, or ambiguous. This is an orientation that varies from person to person but it's also culture bound. There are some cultures that discourage taking risks and teach that you should stick to what's consistent and familiar, and then there are cultures that encourage risk and novelty. American culture is based on the ladder. America was a country that was founded by a bunch of risk-takers, and it's expected and condoned in this culture to take chances and try new things to make it big. This is evident in coaching which stresses playing big, pushing your limits, and exploring what life has to offer. But not everyone is a pioneer. If you have a client who was raised in a culture that expects them to do what's expected and risk-taking is viewed as a negative thing, it's going to take time and effort for them to become open to trying something that's high in uncertainty. You need to meet them where they're at if they're totally apprehensive about trying something new, instead of expecting or pushing them to just go ahead and take a chance. So if you have a client who's avoidant, be sure to assess where this came from. Ask if other members of their family were play-it-safe kind of people and if so, where they got this from, what kind of messages did they receive in their life, and was this a transmission of culture? Three, long-term orientation. This is about short-term versus long-term gratification. It's the degree to which behaviors that are oriented towards the future are valued over immediate or short-term outcomes. This comes up most obviously around saving money or perseverance of behaviors. In coaching, we help our clients hold out for that long-term goal. We build action plans and set up accountability and explore limiting beliefs of pattern of short-term gratification that derail our clients from their bigger goals. Sometimes, they struggle with this so much because they were raised in a culture that was oriented towards short-term gratification. Often, this arises in families or communities that experience poverty or scarcity. If good food or an abundance of food appeared, it should be eating right away while it's still around. If the family comes across money, it should be spent to cover immediate needs or as a reward for making it through times without. People raised in these kind of climates find it so hard to hold out for that long-term outcome because it's foreign to them, and no one's ever model delayed gratification for them before. They're afraid that if they don't seize the moment, that good thing might not be available to them again. So they've developed a hoarding mentality that permeates all areas of life. Four, performance orientation. This is the degree to which performance is placed over other values such as social ties and nurturing. By performance I mean, success, talent, drive, or a combination of these. We often see this in gender roles where in many cultures men were raised to be the breadwinners while women were to be the caregivers of the family, but performance orientation varies across cultures too. Some cultures put a great emphasis on working hard, climbing the ladder of success, and being the best you can be while others see work as a means to an end and put greater value on things like social bonding, joy, and relaxation. You can't just assume that everyone wants or is excited to be the best version of themselves. For some people, this comes at a cost. Your clients are coming to you because they're unhappy about some problem or aspect of their life, and they wanted to change, but that doesn't mean that they automatically feel driven. Their ambivalence might be that their desired changes at odds with their cultural value to eat, behave, or perform in a certain way. They may feel like they're disgracing their culture or giving up a part of themselves that they hold dear. You can expect this stuff to surface if you don't ask. It can be telling to ask questions like, "Do you hold yourself to high standards? Did your parents pressure you to perform or achieve at a certain high level or were they more concerned with you finding yourself and exploring your identity? Do you place more value in your career and your personal success or your connection with others?" Five, power and authority. This value difference is about how we see and carry ourselves in relations to others in terms of power and authority. We often see this most clearly as it relates to the elderly and to authority figures. Many cultures give great reverence to the elders in their society. In traditional Japanese culture, for example, honor is given to the elders of the family, and it's expected that they be shown a high level of respect. It's an understanding that adult children will take care of their aging parents and take them in under their care. This is a custom that's taken really seriously. And then there are more individualistic cultures, like America where the elderly traditionally age in their own homes or in nursing homes and there's less of a cultural responsibility for adult children to take their parents under their wing, let alone show them unwavering respect. A coach from this kind of cultural background would make a mistake to assume that their client who's holding back from their own personal goals to shelter and take care of an aging parent, just needs to start living their own life. If the coach were to convey this kind of attitude, they might seriously offend their client or at least leave them feeling misunderstood. And it's problematic when you flip it around too. Let's say the coach comes from a tradition of caring for elders, and their client is talking about putting her mom in an assisted living facility so that she can accept a desirable job in another city. If this coach were to view the situation through his or her own cultural lens, it would create bias. They might think, "How disrespectful. Who goes off and leaves their elderly mother in a home to pursue a career." Another place that power orientation can affect coaching is deference to authority. In some cultures, it's taught that you should always be super respectful and obedient to authority figures. You might be thinking, "How does this relate to coaching?" Well, while we aim not to position ourselves as authority figures in the coaching relationship, someone with this kind of orientation might insist on seeing themselves in deference to you, the expert, the professional. This is problematic because then you get a client who is more preoccupied with pleasing you, yessing you, and looking good rather than getting vulnerable and getting down and dirty with the actual transformational work. This is why it's so important right from the start to explain to all clients, but especially to clients from other backgrounds that you are their guide on the side and not their leader. Six, communication style. Some cultures encourage a direct straightforward communication style in which people are clear on what they mean and are encouraged to speak up and get to the point. In cultures with a direct communication style, confrontation, criticism, and challenge are acceptable while the aim isn't to be insulting, it's typically more important to tell the truth than it is to look out for people's feelings. But there are also cultures out there that view this as totally rude. In cultures with indirect communication style, it's always considered more important to be polite, in contrast to a priority of information transmission. It's more of a priority to say face and to keep things harmonious. It's more favorable to imply and suggest something that's potentially controversial than to come right out and say it. Can you see how this might be problematic in a coaching relationship with a coach who's not tuned in to these types of cultural differences? Let's review what we've covered. The six major value differences to be mindful of in coaching are individualism, uncertainty avoidance, long-term orientation, power and authority, and communication style. When you don't take value differences such as these into account and instead operate from the perspective that your values are shared by all, you're coaching through a biased lens, and you can't really connect with, understand, and help your clients who are struggling with the disconnect between their cultural norms and their desires. Have you run into any of these value differences in your coaching practice? How did you handle it? We'd love to hear about your experiences in the Facebook group, so head on over and join the discussion. Thanks for watching. Bye for now.

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Duration: 12 minutes and 2 seconds
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Language: English
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Posted by: integrativenutrition on Jul 10, 2018

Value Differences_Final

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