Friday, 21 January 2011

Expat Excellence featuring John Falchetto

This week, we have John Falchetto talk about his experiences as an expat life coach and what he does to help people looking to advance their career abroad and entrepreneurs seeking to start or grow a sustainable business overseas.

Q&A with Expat Life Coach- John Falchetto

1. What is an expat life coach?
I help expats or future expats handle the challenges of designing an international lifestyle.
From childhood we are brainwashed to think we are not good at certain things but we are quite clueless about what we are really great at. My focus is on defining what their expat unique competencies are and developing a strategy to create their dream lifestyle abroad.

2. How did you become an expat life coach?
I have been an expat all my professional life. I left Canada after I graduated and worked in Jordan first, and then moved to Cairo in ’97. I wrote for the Associated Press and did my masters at the American University in Cairo thanks to a fellowship from Sheikh Kamal Adham.
I moved to Dubai in 1999 and worked in public relations until 2003.
In 2003, I l traded my corporate suite with a PR agency for a fleet of Land Rovers and started and outdoor coaching company. We took executives from multinationals in Dubai and helped them get past their limiting beliefs by experiencing the wild mountains of the UAE. Taking them outside the four walls of their offices helped them put a lot of things in perspective. One of our most sought after program was a breakthrough event culminating with a descent into the world's second largest cave.

In 2009 my wife Ameena and I decided we wanted to live in the South of France. That summer we renovated a 200-year-old Templar farmhouse. I now run my coaching business almost entirely online, and try to travel less to spend more time with my 8 month old daughter.
3. What kind of expats comes to you for advice?
I work with seekers, expats who are unhappy with the status quo and who want more from their life abroad. The two categories of expats I work with are the:
  • Professionals who are looking to make a move in their expat career and want help growing and reaching their career goals.
  • Expat entrepreneurs seeking to start or grow a sustainable business overseas.

4. What kind of advice have you given to them?
Most of my advice deals with their fears, hopes dreams and frustrations. We look at strong points in their career or business, and develop a model to achieve their career or business goals.
We also deal with their challenges along the way. The essence of coaching, as opposed to consulting, is not to impose a cookie cutter model on people’s lives. Everyone is different and faces different challenges but I focus on stimulating innate knowledge everyone has to create a sustainable result.
Among others, I use models like the GROW process for problem solving and goal setting. Each expat has a unique set of success skills which allows them to succeed when

5. What kind of problems/issues do you deal with on a day-to-day basis?
Everyone has different challenges. Fears and frustrations of expats cover a large spectrum from health issues to financial difficulties.
As a business and career coach I deal mostly with the business end of expat’s lives. Some common challenges are:
· Finding the right balance between work and family life,
· Creating a healthy lifestyle,
· Dealing with overwhelm due to work, financial or career stress.

6. What has been the most interesting issue you had to deal with?
I had a client who almost lost members of his corporate team in a mountain hike. The event really affected him and he wanted to find a way to give back by creating a mountain rescue team. We worked to create a fundraising strategy for the first mountain rescue team in the UAE. I provided pro-bono rescue training for first responders; other sponsors came onboard for rescue equipment.
It was really great. It showed that expats, who are often compared to mercenaries by the nationals of a country, can bring a lot to the local community.
I believe in helping expat clients, which have a greater purpose and want to be a force for good in the local community they live in. Even if that purpose can be elusive at the beginning, creating a strong vision for an expat business is a crucial sustainability factor.
7. What advice would you give to readers of the Expat Explorer blog?
Expats are a great bunch. But more often than not we live in a box. Even when we move abroad we choose to build a box around ourselves, by looking for home products, befriending compatriots, or becoming a cubicle farmer in an exotic location. The box we build around ourselves defines how we think about ourselves. I believe it is important to find out what makes us unique in life and discover what we can do to bring the most value to those around us. This is much more than thinking ‘outside the box’, it is about looking deep inside ourselves.
We need to stop being terrified of discovering what we are meant to be. Becoming an expat is a great step in that direction.

About the author

John lives with his wife and daughter in a scenic village of the South of France. You can find more about John on his blog and Twitter- @JohnFalchetto

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