As a leader and trainer for The Coaches Training Institute, I get the pleasure and honor to teach coaching training classes all over the world (Dubai, Canada, Israel, Europe, US, Asia). I love them all. And I learn so much about leadership, cultural differences and similarities, and relationships being with these beautiful people.
Korea this time, is cold and snowy. But I like it. I don’t have to drive or live in it, so it is all good. I did slip and fall right in front of the lobby when I checked in. But thanks to yoga, I bounced up like a kid, without any pain or bruises.
I am surprised that they say that the snow is unusual for them. I thought it snows like crazy in Seoul. After all a few of the things they are known for are their “high quality” thermal underwear and kimchee ladden food to keep their internal system warm. But I guess I was wrong.
I love teaching in Korea, because the people are very dedicated. There is a different quality of dedication and application that the students possess. I wonder if it comes from their inherent values of “working hard, and be a good student.”
I also love it because I naturally gravitate to learning Korean. I love putting words together and teaching myself new phrases. I said to my Korean co-leader yesterday in front of the room, “Chiong Mal kyopte” (you are so cute). It was so endearing and surprising to them to hear me “mispeak” their language so freely. It is my way of honoring them. And they love it.
I guess this is leadership lesson number one: your people will practice and learn new things with abandonment, if you celebrate and champion them as they blunder forward! (remembers, a smile and hand clapping will go much further than a frown and a head shake side way)
Another thing that I get from teaching in Asia, very consistently, is that the participants always come up to me (especially the women) and say “WE have been talking about you, and we LOVE that you are an Asian woman teaching us this foreign stuff. You give us a model of how we can be like. It is so refreshing to be taught by an Asian Female teacher. You are like us. And it’s about time for us Asian women or (just “us Asians if it is a man speaking to me) to step up and lead like you. You have a nice balance of East and West in you.”
Honestly, my reaction is about 20% ego satisfaction, and 80% humility and inspiration. I really get that I represent something important here especially for the female leaders. My sense of freedom, assuredness and ease give them a new model of what a teacher/a woman/a leader can be. It’s like I am reaching for their hands and say “COME ON, let yourself SHINE, let go (of your fears, limitations, or old trainings), and Let’s get to work.”
Perhaps the leadership lesson here is to let ourselves BE a MODEL for people. It feels a bit egotistical or arrogance to say. But like Gandhi said “Be the model of change that you want to see in the world.” I think we are modeling for our world in everything that we do. If we own that responsibility fully, we can be more of service than getting in our own ways with our “false humility, cumbersome shyness, or high maintenance denial of what is true.”
The question to ponder is “What are you modeling everyday?” or even more specific “what do you want to model? and what are you actually modeling?”
Anyun-na Sayoooooh!!! (A Korean Greeting whether you are coming or going) (and you have to sing the words not just pronounce it)