Culture

What exactly does an Expat Coach do? Helping expats make friends abroad with Sarah, friendship and expat coach.

Welcome back to my series all about Expat Coaching! 

If you didn’t know, I’m on the hunt to find out exactly what Expat Coaching is all about. To do that, I’ve asked five expat coaches to provide me with answers to some of my burning questions.

Take a look at the first two posts in the series here:

What the f*** is an Expat Coach w/ Sarah Expat Coach

Meet Sarah 👋 she’s a German expat living in London and a life coach helping other expats build and maintain friendships.

Sarah Expat Coach provides services on making friends as an expat.

I really wanted to get her take on coaching because I think making friends has been one of THE hardest things to do since moving abroad and I don’t think the importance of friendship is talked about enough.

Here’s her take on expat coaching!

1. What is coaching?

Coaching is a process where a coachee and a coach work together and form a partnership in order to find out what it is the coachee would like to create in their lives and how the coachee will achieve their goals and dreams. 

During this process, the coach uses several coaching techniques such as asking powerful questions and active listening to ‘hold the space’ for the coachee. This enables the coachee to access their own wisdom to formulate goals and solutions that will eventually be formed into an action plan and a clear picture of the way forward.

2. Are you a therapist, a guidance counsellor or a consultant? Or none of these things? Or all of these things?

Actually, I am none of those! 

I am not offering therapy, counselling or consultancy. I would describe myself as someone who is forming an equal working relationship with the person I am coaching in order for them to access their own wisdom that each and every one of us holds within us. I am achieving this by using professional coaching skills and tools.

I believe that everyone knows exactly what they want and how they can achieve it, but most of us are blocking ourselves from accessing this knowledge and so I am the person who helps them to get access to it.

I help you to help yourself.

3. Define an expat.

An expat, short for expatriate, is someone who does not live in their own country, so someone who moved abroad.

4. What is an expat coach?

An expat coach is a person who is supporting expats to identify what is important to them, formulate goals, and overcome obstacles that stand in the way.

Expat coaches can work with expats on specific or rather general topics. I am a friendship coach for expats, so I am focusing specifically on supporting them in building a social life that makes the person happy and fulfilled.

Sarah Expat Coach

5. What inspired you to become a coach?

I have personally always enjoyed supporting people on their individual paths and with their individual topics. Throughout my professional life I have worked with people from different backgrounds and of different age groups.

In coaching, I particularly love the focus on the future and on the finding of individual solutions. Not one size fits all but everyone and everything is individual. I love the way that clients are seen in coaching: as full and whole, full of wisdom and everything is exactly the way it should be – why? Because it is!

That fascinated me and was the reason for me to become a coach. I love appreciating the person for who and where they are, it doesn’t matter if you have 0,1,2,3 or 10 friends. You are worthy no matter what. And you know what is important and right for you, no matter what.

6. What credentials do you have to support your coaching business?

I have worked with many different people throughout my nearly 10 years of working experience in the field of social and support work. 

The time I spent working with people within my professional career has enabled me to build a strong skillset of interpersonal and professional skills, e.g. motivational interviewing, questioning skills and simply holding the space for someone.


Throughout my working experience I had the chance to attend many courses and workshops such as a course for a mental health first aider, that equipped me with knowledge and expertise to work with people with mental ill-health. Something that is sadly very common in our current world.

Additionally to my practical experience, I hold several degrees.

After I finished my A-Levels, I completed an apprenticeship as a social care worker that formed my whole personality and gave me a great insight in communication skills, empathy and how to work with and support people.

I also hold a Level 2 degree in counselling skills, which means that I have had the chance to gain listening and communication skills in a professional manner.

And of course, I also hold a degree as a Life Coach.

7. What do you do exactly? I mean, how do you help people?

In my coaching practice, I use a coaching model that is able to address and solve any problem that we can possibly have. It addresses the connection between the external world, our internal experience and our behaviour. Teaching my clients this model gives them a great understanding and knowledge about why they are having the issues they’re currently facing and how they can solve those.

Apart from that specific model, I am also using general coaching skills like mirroring, questions, listening skills, etc which are incredibly powerful and a very effective way to help people to unravel what it is they really want and to become aware of the obstacles that stand in their way of achieving their goals.

Most of the time, the obstacles are connected to our mindset and the way we think. This is something that I work on with a lot of my clients using the model that I have mentioned.

To cut it short: I use a mixture between professional coaching skills and a specific coaching model to give clients an insight into their own minds, the possibility to formulate their dreams and goals, space to identify obstacles and together we create a clear action plan of how they can overcome obstacles and ultimately achieve their goals.

Sarah Expat Coach

8. What do you not do? Who do you not help?

I hold several certificates and I am a trained life coach but I am not a therapist or counsellor, therefore I am unable to provide therapy or counselling to anyone. 

It is very important to distinguish between coaching and any form of therapy. 

That means that if someone with severe mental health issues would like to be coached by me, or someone who is looking for therapy, I would be happy to signpost them to the right support, but I would be unable to support them myself. I wouldn’t be able to do so until their mental health is in a stable enough condition for them to focus on the life coaching process.

Of course, I want everyone to get the right professional support which I am not always able to provide myself.

Also, as a Lifecoach, I am not there to solely give advice to people. I believe that people are capable of finding their own individual solutions to their problems and I am there to support them in finding those.

I am also not able to fix any problems and/or issues for my coachee. Sometimes I speak to people who want to give all their power and responsibility away and just want someone to fix all their problems for them. First of all, this is impossible most of the time and secondly, this not what we want to achieve.

I want to support you in developing into a version of yourself where you are ready to take on the responsibility and the power over YOUR life and empower YOU in a way that will result in you feeling ready to tackle issues and problems yourself.


9. Talk me through a typical expat coaching session. What exactly is my money getting me?

Every coaching session is tailored to the individual, but there are some things that are always similar. 

It would depend on what support you have sought, if you have enrolled in my FRIENDSFORMATION program or if I am supporting you in any other way.

My FRIENDSFORMATION program has pre-planned topics for each session that we are discussing all the way through in order for you to be prepared and ready to go into the world of friendships and take actions towards making friends. However there is also some flexibility around these pre-planned topics. Ultimately I want you to have the best possible experience throughout the program.

You would also have the chance to prepare for each of our sessions by completing the worksheets that are explicitly created for this program. I am there to support you in between sessions as well, should you have any questions or should anything come up for you.

In each of those sessions we would discuss a topic, e.g. confidence, and I would ask you questions about your individual experience with these topics, aiming to find out more about your mindset and thoughts about it. For example, we would find out how confident you currently are, why you are on that level of confidence etc. Following this, we would look at your goals going forward, e.g. how confident would you like to be? This also helps us to identity any obstacles that stand in your way. At the end of each session, you would go away with clear action points for you to work on in order for you to reach your goal of each topic.

In the following sessions we would take a few minutes to review those action points and how you felt moving forward in between sessions.

This is just one part of the services I am providing. You can also work with me in a single 90-minute, one-off intensive session or we can work together over several weeks to work through your issues and problems you’re facing.

The core of each session is similar. We go through a reality check, a goals check, an obstacle check and the creation of an action plan. After each session, you will leave feeling heard and seen and with clear action points on how to get closer to your goal.

Sarah Expat Coach

10. Do you think the expat experience is often hyped up too much online and can therefore have an adverse effect on aspiring or new expats who feel like they should be happy and wonderful all the time?

I think that many people have an idea of ‘the expat life’ but I would argue that this idea is not always true. Many people might think that being an expat is very exciting, the feeling of holiday all the time. The reality is, at least in my experience, that you have the same life as anyone else, just in a different country.

In most cases, you still have to do the usual day-to-day tasks and most of the time it is not as glamorous as you might see on many Social Media posts.

In fact, it can be more difficult for expats to actually adjust to life abroad. Needing to find a new job, new friends and adjust to a new language, culture and life in a new country can be challenging. It is important to make sure that this side of the expat life is being portrayed as well as the exciting, adventurous side.

Sarah Expat Coach Services:

  • You can book a FREE discovery call with Sarah here.

  • Grab a FREE copy of her workbook here.
  • Download the Ultimate Expat Checklist for FREE here!

  • You can also sign up to her FRIENDSFORMATION program and her intensive coaching sessions here.

You can find Sarah online here:

💻 Sarah.ExpatCoach

📱@sarah.expatcoach

She is also working on expanding her services, so make sure you keep an eye out for more!

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