by Karen Glerum*, Global Connection
A Global Connection Needs Assessment is far from a standardised test, as expat partner Sylvain** discovered. “My consultant offered help that was based on what she learned about me, instead of scores and graphs.”
Sylvain is a French professional living in Strasbourg (France). His wife, who hails from Italy, recently started working in Zürich (Switzerland) about 230 kilometres away. Sylvain is keen to join her there. He turned to Global Connection for advice on this international move. When he met with consultant Josien Berkenvelder*, he was pleasantly surprised: “We didn’t dive into the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or any other kind of psychometric questionnaire. Instead of putting me in a certain box, Josien took her time to get to know me. The conversation was really relaxed. It was based on trust.”
Like all Global Connection consultants, Josien has lived abroad herself. This helps set the tone for the Needs Assessments, which can be very intimate. There are smiles and occasionally tears. “As consultants, we don’t shy away from asking very personal, probing questions. We ‘respectfully dig deep’ to clarify your values, interests, objectives, and drivers. Why? Because the better we understand the expat partner, the better we are able to identify the support that is needed,” says Josien.
She put Sylvain in touch with career coach Anne Galloway*. Together, they explored both short and long term career perspectives. “It was very helpful,” says Sylvain. “It is always good to talk to people with experience to get a different point of view. I gained clarity about myself, and about what my wife and I are aiming for. It became apparent to me that Zürich will not be our last stop on the expat trail and that I have to find a way to shape a career that will accommodate for this.”
Chance to be together
Sylvain is staying put in France until a work opportunity arises that will allow him to follow his wife abroad. “My coach and I concluded that a job with a multinational company will be best for me. Not only because I enjoy working in an international environment and with people from different backgrounds, but also because such a company will offer the best chance for me and my wife to end up in the same place.”
Outside the norm
So for now, Sylvain and his wife are enjoying a long distance relationship. “We are not a typical couple,” he smiles. “We have an international outlook, we are both very career-oriented and we have had a long distance relationship before. But living apart should not be the norm for us. We should be together.”
* Karen, Josien and Anne will visit the 2016 FIGT Annual Conference in Amsterdam on behalf of Global Connection (12 conference attendees).
** Name and some personal details changed at request of interviewee
Adapted and edited from an original article, in Global Connection's media for spouses (B2B subscription).
For more information: www.global-connection.info