Coach of the Month – Margie Banin

Name:Margie Banin

Title: Expat Coach

Business Name: Stepping Forward Coaching

Client Testimonials:

Niche/Specialties: Expats abroad not supported by large corporations; for example:  accompanying spouses / family members, cross-cultural marriages, international students, retirees.

Expat Experience: I’m an American who has lived in Russia and Japan.  I’m also married to a Russian (for nearly 2 decades now!) and have experienced the added challenge of cross-cultural communication in a relationship.

Languages Spoken: English (coaching language), Japanese, Russian

Life Experience: I was raised hearing stories from my great-aunt who was an expat in South America in the 1950’s and from my mother who was an expat in New Zealand in the 1960’s – I suspect this set me on my own path before I was old enough to even realize that mono-culturality is the norm for many.  I’m following a varied and fascinating route through life – one where there’s always been an aspect of multiculturalism.  To name a few stops along my journey’s way thus far:  high school and university exchange student.  Marriage to a European.  Involvement in a Russian-American fishing venture.  Serving as a translator and an interpreter (both Russian & Japanese).  Volunteer coordinator/advisor for foreign exchange students and their American host families.  Custom travel specialist for an international tour operator.  Informal support and advisor to many who have found themselves feeling like a fish out of water in an unfamiliar cultural situation.  And finally – the culmination of this life experience! – business owner and Expat Coach with Stepping Forward Coaching.

Accomplishments: I could make a traditional list of academic and business oriented achievements, but the accomplishments that are truly important to me are the ones where I feel I’ve impacted others in a positive manner.  Drawing others into my cross-cultural comfort zone to introduce them to what I love about all aspects of our world.  Supporting others in finding their personal balance in challenging situations.  Listening to what others have to say and acknowledging their worth.  When I get a call or a letter or hear through the grapevine that some past action on my part changed someone’s life for the better, these are the accomplishments I’m proudest to leave as my legacy.

What I Love About Working in This Niche: Those of us in this niche often find ourselves abroad due to a personal choice and quite often this choice has led to a long-term, if not permanent, relocation.  It’s not enough to ‘tough it out’ when there’s not going to be a repatriation in the near future.  I love working with people in this niche, watching how coaching together supports them in moving beyond merely surviving to fully thriving in their chosen lives.

Coaching Style: I’m often told that my style is calm and my voice, soothing.  I feel that is a good characterization of my coaching approach.  Nonetheless, I don’t shy away from the tough questions.  Together we create a safe space to address the issues at the heart of the matter in order to reveal the steps needed to get you to where you want to be.

Favorite Coaching Tool: “What if…”  All too often we discount possible options because we ‘already know’ they won’t work.  It’s a simple tool, but employing the concept of “What if…” allows us to enter into a hypothetical world where constraints and obstacles do not exist.  The answers we find are often surprisingly simple – and in retrospect, obvious.  We simply don’t see them until we allow ourselves to let go of all our pre-determined – and limiting – objections with the question “what if.”

Why Clients Choose Me As Their Coach: Clients might initially approach me because they’re ready to move beyond simply surviving in their cross-cultural environment and want some help doing so.  The ones that ultimately choose me as their coach do so because we feel the type of rapport that allows for trust, a key ingredient in any coaching relationship.

A Tip for My Niche: Rather than focusing on the doors that are closed, start looking for the windows that are open.

Contact Details


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