This past week I have had the privilege of working with a group of global leaders from countries and cultures as diverse as India, China, South Africa, Australia, France, Belgium, Thailand, and the United States.

While this global leadership program does not explicitly utilize TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic), it does involve the very powerful 360-degree, multi-rater feedback tool, The Leadership Circle Profile, which is built around the same Reactive (Victim) Orientation and Creative (Creator) Orientation found in The Power of TED*.  

The coaching conversations this week have again validated how the Orientations and the behaviors associated with them show up in various ways in all cultures.  The Victim Orientation, with its problem-focused, anxiety-driven ways of reacting, is the “default orientation” of much of humanity.

The history of every culture is full of the toxic interplay between the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT) roles of Victims, Persecutors, and Rescuers.

Every person with whom I have met this week has affirmed and sees the value of the Creative Orientation and how it is, in the long run, a more resourceful and effective way of being.

However, it is not sufficient to merely say that the roles and relationships that TED* fosters translate in all cultures in the same ways.  How The Empowerment Dynamic, and the roles of Creator, Challenger and Coach are expressed, does vary and consideration of the cultural context is critical.

The role of Creator is probably the most consistent of these three roles across cultures.  Focusing on outcomes and choosing one’s response to life experiences is a way of being.

On the other hand, how a conscious constructive Challenger provokes or evokes learning and growth can vary widely.  In some cultures, a Challenger may be very direct and very blunt, while still conveying the learning intent behind their actions.  In other cultures, the Challenger may be much more subtle and suggestive in their approach.

The way in which a Coach frames their questions and supports others in envisioning outcomes, discerning current reality, and committing to baby steps may also vary in different cultural contexts.  The variations can range from “leading” and closed (yes/no) inquiries to very open explorations of dreams, desires and daring baby steps.

Discovering and describing the nuances and variety of ways in which the Creator Orientation and the TED roles and dynamics manifests in different cultures promises to be interesting and exciting.  Yet this way of being and developing more resourceful and effective relationships is, indeed, cross-cultural in its essence.

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