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Here at the-Coaching Blog-run by Gerard O’Donovan, our aim is to constantly bring value to those seeking to improve their lives. Therefore we have a policy of publishing articles and materials by guest authors whom we value and appreciate. Today’s guest author is Beáta Kovács (Hungary).
Language coaching is such a new area of coaching in my country, Hungary that I usually need to clarify what it means, even to my professional colleagues. Therefore, I would like to give a brief description of what language coaching is before elaborating on the various areas of career coaching that can be enhanced by it.
A language coach supports people who have some difficulties in using a foreign language. They might have obstacles in their language learning processes (having trouble with speaking, progressing very slowly etc.) or they might be professionals who need to give presentations, take part in negotiations, write e-mails, make phone calls in their jobs or participate in foreign language job interviews. In all these cases a language coach helps the coachee eliminate the obstacles that prevent them from performing these tasks in a stress-free and persuasive manner by finding and relying on their strengths, getting rid of their limiting beliefs and widening their comfort zones. Hence, they will achieve more of their potential at work.
Career Coaching covers a really wide area ranging from helping hesitating students who need support to choose their educational track to professionals who have hardship in their current positions. Some are hesitant whether to change their workplace, positions or even their professions or to stay and cope with the difficulties they encounter in their current jobs.
One of the obstacles these people are often faced with is their foreign language knowledge. In the Hungarian corporate environment, knowing at least one foreign language is essential to pursue a successful business career. Progressing up the career ladder is often disturbed by the lack of appropriate language skills. Although very often people do possess the necessary command of foreign language, they deprive themselves of so many career options just because they are not confident enough in their foreign language knowledge. They claim their command of the required language is not enough, their colleagues speak the given language better and I could enumerate an endless list of excuses that I hear from my coaching clients. They claim these because they lack self-confidence, their self-esteem is low and do not assess themselves correctly.
This is the point where the assistance of a language coach can give the necessary boost and encouragement to these people. In any of the above-mentioned cases, a language coach can give support in defining the ultimate goal and planning how to reach that with the given language knowledge and skills of the coachee. I apply techniques that help the coachees find and exploit their strengths, get rid of their limiting beliefs and leave their comfort zone to have a more successful and satisfying career and private life as well.
In the following part of my article I will describe how it works in practice, what fields of the corporate environment can be supported by language coaching:
Giving a presentation even in your mother tongue can be a stressful situation, not to mention doing the same in a foreign language. At language coaching sessions we examine the potential circumstances, obstacles of the presentations, use imaginative and visualisation exercises to release the stressful aspects of the presentation. Even the preparations are discussed, how the coachee will prepare for the day of the presentation, what they will wear, eat and do to be as relaxed as possible. During the coaching sessions the coachees rehearse their presentations, act them out more times and are regularly given feedback to reassure and improve their performances. In case some language improvement is needed, and the coachee asks for it, some useful language patterns and expressions are also taught.
I use quite similar techniques that I have mentioned in the case of presentations, supplementing them by roleplays in which I take up the role of the interviewer and ask questions that can occur in the interview. Sometimes extreme or unexpected interview questions are used as well to broaden the comfort zone of the coachee. If they can practice how to act in an unexpected situation to stay calm and confident and learn certain techniques that work for them, they will be self-confident applicants at the real interview situations. As a result, the coachees will leave their comfort zone without getting into the panic zone and freezing there, since they have already encountered and practiced similar situations during the language coaching sessions.
These are present in everyday corporate life. What I have seen many times that people tend to overcomplicate how they should express themselves, they think that such a special and unique language is needed to accomplish these tasks. Of course, much depends on your position, circumstances, but very often they realise that it is not only the words that matter. My favourite areas are body language and intercultural behaviour where you need to consider the culture of your business partner and be prepared for it if you want to accomplish a successful negotiation with them. At the coaching session we also cover these areas to improve results for individuals.
In all the cases I find solution-focused and strength-based coaching the most effective. Owing to the supportive and encouraging environment the coachees find their potential more successfully. I also like using mindfulness techniques, I practice them with clients to decrease their anxiety, which they can use later when they have to carry out the previously practiced performances.
After the coachee has accomplished their challenging task I suggest a closing session in which we examine how the coachee implemented the previously acquired techniques, which of their own resources helped them succeed and how they will be able to exploit them consciously in the future in a similar situation. This closing session strengthens their self-confidence, raises the level of their self-esteem and motivation, all in all it makes the benefits of the coaching session long-lasting.
All in all, language coaching supplements career coaching very efficiently. I am convinced if more and more people working in the corporate environment get language coaching support to overcome their obstacles, many aspects of their career will be improved by getting rid of the obstacles that are rooted in their attitude to their foreign language skills.
About Beáta Kovács
Beáta is a qualified language coach and an English teacher. She is also a trainer of coaching skills and techniques for teachers. Beáta is the founder and leader of iCoachU Studio in Budapest, Hungary.
Language coaching, time and energy management are the key areas of Beáta’s coaching practice, where she applies solution-focused coaching techniques. At language coaching sessions, she supports her clients to overcome any obstacles they encounter when learning a foreign language. She helps them get rid of their limiting beliefs, become self-confident and apply learning techniques that suit their individuality the best. She also helps them prepare for the challenges.
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