Coaching for Expatriates: Living abroad-Decision making

Coaching for Expatriates: Living abroad-Decision making

Coaching for Expatriates: Living abroad-Decision making

Sometimes our decision has already been made, but sometimes we need to think about it, and the more you analyse the better. All is about living in your country or not. When you decide to leave is important to consider being in a state of clarity and well-being.

Always remember to consider not making a decision or doing nothing and keep in mind that both options are actually potential solutions in themselves. Set a time scale and decide who is responsible for the decision.

When deciding how much time to allow for the decision-making process, it is helpful to consider the following:

  • How much time is available to dedicate to this decision?
  • Is there a deadline for making a decision and what are the consequences of not meeting this deadline?

Deciding a term is not arbitrary, it has to be taken according to a rational and objective criterion and considering: Force majeure.

What are you approaching?

What are you away from?

What would happen if you do, if you don´t?

What wouldn´t happen if you do?

What wouldn´t happen if you don´t do it?

  • Is there an advantage to making a quick decision?

Anticipate a situation that has a deadline (travel), pandemic, health, security, wellbeing…

How important is making a decision?

How important is it that the decision is correct?

Remember that sometimes a quick decision is more important than "the right decision, and sometimes the opposite is true."

This idea of ​​accountability also highlights the need to keep track of how any decision was made, what information it was based on, and who participated. You need to keep enough information to justify that decision going forward, so that if something goes wrong, it is possible to show that your decision was reasonable in the circumstances and taking into account your knowledge at the time.

Information gathering

Before making a decision, all relevant information should be gathered.

If there is inadequate or outdated information, the wrong decision is more likely to be made. If there is a lot of irrelevant information, the decision will be difficult to make, and it will be easier to be distracted by unnecessary factors.

Therefore, you need accurate and up-to-date information on which to make decisions.

However, the amount of time spent gathering information must be weighed against how much you are willing to risk making the wrong decision.

Weigh the risks involved

A key question is how much risk should you take when making the decision? Generally, the amount of risk a person is willing to take depends on:

  • The seriousness of the consequences of making an incorrect decision.
  • The benefits of making the right decision.
  • Not only how bad the worst outcome might be, but also how likely it is to happen.

It is also useful to consider what the risk of the worst possible outcome might be and decide if the risk is acceptable. The choice may be between "doing everything possible for success" or making a safe decision.

Decide on the values

Everyone has their own set of values: what they think is important. The decisions you make will ultimately be based on your values. That means the decision that is right for you may not be the right one for someone else.

If responsibility for a decision is shared, one person may not have the same values ​​as others.

In such cases, it is important to reach a consensus as to which values ​​should be given more weight. It is important that the values ​​on which a decision is made are understood because they will have a strong influence on the final choice.

Weighing the pros and cons

It is possible to compare different solutions and options considering the possible advantages and disadvantages of each.

Advantages: from most important to least.

Disadvantages: from + to -

A good way to do this is to use a 'balance sheet', weighing the pros and cons (benefits and costs) associated with that solution. Try to consider each aspect of the situation in turn and identify both good and bad.

However, it may also be useful to rate each of the pros and cons on a simple 1 to 10 scale (with 10 - most important to 1 - least important).

In scoring each of the pros and cons it helps to consider how important each item on the list is in meeting the agreed values. This balance sheet approach allows this to be considered and presents it in a clear and straightforward manner.

 Making the Decision

Finally, it is time to make the decision!

Your information-gathering should have provided sufficient data on which to base a decision, and you now know the advantages and disadvantages of each option.


You may get to this stage and have a clear ‘winner’ but still, feel uncomfortable. If that is the case, do not be afraid to revisit the process. You may not have listed all the pros and cons, or you may have placed an unsuitable weighting on one factor.

Your intuition or 'gut feeling' is a strong indicator of whether the decision is right for you and fits with your values.

If possible, it is best to allow time to reflect on a decision once it has been reached. It is preferable to sleep on it before announcing it to others. Once a decision is made public, it is difficult to change.

For important decisions, it is worth always keeping a record of the steps you followed in the decision-making process. That way, if you are ever criticized for making a bad decision you can justify your thoughts based on the information and processes you used at the time. Furthermore, by keeping a record and engaging with the decision-making process, you will be strengthening your understanding of how it works, which can make future decisions easier to manage.

Having Made the Decision ...

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, once you have made a decision, don't waste your time thinking about 'what ifs'. If something does go wrong, and you need to revisit the decision, then do. But otherwise, accept the decision and move on.

To be effective at problem-solving you are likely to need some other key skills, which include:

  • Creativity. Problems are usually solved either intuitively or systematically. Intuition is used when no new knowledge is needed - you know enough to be able to make a quick decision and solve the problem, or you use common sense or experience to solve the problem. More complex problems or problems that you have not experienced before will likely require a more systematic and logical approach to solve, and for these, you will need to use creative thinking.
  • Researching Skills. Defining and solving problems often requires you to do some research: this may be a simple Google search or a more rigorous research project.
  • Team Working. Many problems are best defined and solved with the input of other people. Team working may sound like a 'work thing' but it is just as important at home and school as well as in the workplace.
  • Emotional Intelligence. It is worth considering the impact that a problem and/or its solution has on you and other people. Emotional intelligence, the ability to recognize the emotions of yourself and others, will help guide you to an appropriate solution.
  • Risk Management. Solving a problem involves a certain amount of risk - this risk needs to be weighed up against not solving the problem.
  • Decision Making. Problem-solving and decision making are closely related skills, and making a decision is an important part of the problem-solving process as you will often be faced with various options and alternatives. Is the problem real or perceived?

All problems have two features in common: goals and barriers.


Problems involve setting out to achieve some objective or desired situation and can include avoiding a situation or event.

Goals can be anything that you wish to achieve, or where you want to be.


If there were no barriers in the way of achieving a goal, then there would be no problem. Problem-solving involves overcoming the barriers or obstacles that prevent the immediate achievement of goals.

Talking to others about problems is not only therapeutic but can help you see things from a different point of view, opening more potential solutions.

Stages of Problem Solving

Problem Identification:

This stage involves: detecting and recognizing that there is a problem; identifying the nature of the problem and defining the problem.

Carmen Martinez - Psicóloga y Coaching

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Celia Martínez Psicóloga
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