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Compromise and Collaboration for International Career Couples - Some Prompts.


‘Healthy compromise is built on an overriding openness to respect and hear out another’s attitude and feeling. It rests on overarching mutual respect for each other and a general sense of coming to the discussion in good faith.’



Whether you are leading with both your careers or both earning but following one career, when living and working on the move there are often compromises.

We know that managing our expat careers is complex and there can be a lot going on that impacts how we compromise – lack of time, sense of guilt, other people’s opinions, what we feel we ‘should’ do, our own desires, our own worldview and experiences, feeling that things are not good enough, perfectionism, expectations…


So how do we compromise and collaborate as we align and grow our careers?


It takes work, commitment, open communication, engaging your stakeholders and more but as a starting point, here are some prompt sentences that explore compromise and collaboration:

(You might want to reflect on/complete these for yourself and then discuss them with your partner)


1. Being true to myself would mean…

2. Compromising on this would mean…

3. When I think empathetically about my partner’s needs I feel…

4. Being true to our values would mean…

5. If I compromise I am afraid XXX might happen.

6. If I do not compromise I am afraid XXX might happen.

7. In our partnership and our careers, collaboration means…

8. Collaboration in our expat journey would look like…

9. The possibilities in our careers that come from collaborating are…

10. In order for us both to move forward we need…


These prompt sentences come from real coaching sessions and I have noticed that compromising often keeps good company with feelings of protecting each other from perceived adverse outcomes, putting others first, giving in, not knowing what someone wants or needs and, sometimes, resentment.



But compromise should be driven from respecting each other, trust and mutual collaboration, building consensus and open communication.





When we work from a place of positive compromise and collaboration we are able to more objectively consider challenges and opportunities. When we can be honest about what we are able to compromise on without attachment and understand what we need in place to collaborate, we are better able to make decisions and move forward.


Let's keep moving forward. Reflect on the prompts sentences to see what they mean for you!

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