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On Field Support, by Keith E Webb

May 1st, 2009 | By | Category: Missions Coaching

There’s a gigantic gap between pre-field and on-field support for missionaries. Coaching is helping to bridge that gap. Read on…

An average of 21% of missionaries do not complete their overseas assignments.

Why do so many leave early?

In their book, Managing Cultural Differences, authors Moran, Harris and Moran outline the basic expatriate cycle:

1. Pre-field assessment

2. Pre-field training

3. On-field monitoring and support

4. Re-entry

The authors point to a significant gap: while organizations may have adequate pre-field assessment and training, few provide on-field monitoring and support. This lack of on-field monitoring and support is thought to lead to a higher turnover and decreased productivity.

Organizations are hard-pressed to provide on-field support. Workers are spread out, everyone is overworked, and finances are limited. In the end, geography is limiting factor.

Coaching provides one solution. Coaching is often successfully done over the telephone. In fact, 40% of executive coaching is over the telephone. What are the advantages:

  • Save time and money on travel. Who needs more travel?
  • Support all of your workers, no matter how remotely they live.
  • Quick response time. Since coaching is often done every two weeks, topics are fresh and implemented immediately.
  • Your best people can coach. With only two calls a month you can tap into your busiest and often most talented staff to coach others.

In the past year I’ve coached ministry leaders in Australia, China, Indonesia, Russia, Taiwan, Thailand, UK, and the USA – all by telephone or Skype. Some of these leaders I’ve never met face-to-face.

I sure wish I had received telephone coaching when I was living in Northern Japan. The technology wasn’t up to it.

How about you?

The technology is here now. Are you ready to coach your people over the telephone or Skype?


Copyright © 2007 Keith E. Webb & CRM     Dr. Keith E. Webb is a cross-cultural leadership coach helping organizations, teams, and individuals multiply their cross-cultural impact.



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