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How I Empower Ericsson’s Global Workforce

E3 (Enabling, Empowering and Emotional) is Ericsson’s internal intensive coaching program. The aim is to create a culture which supports organizational change and empowers people to create movement to accelerate progress towards results and work in a community which is self-directing. The enabler for the change is employees who grow as individuals and as human beings.

Ladies with Indian dress
Kati Ilvonen 

Change driver and Head coach at Ericsson R&D

Category, topic & hashtags

How I structure my coaching sessions in Finland.

I have had the privilege to run and attend several coaching sessions both internationally and with my co-workers here at Ericsson's R&D Center in Finland. This story tells about our experience when preparing for an intensive coaching session in Bangalore, India.

In the intensive coaching session, we discuss and explore topics like:

  • Our own beliefs and thinking patterns
  • How to encounter other people
  • Necessity of learning and growing
  • How to lead ourselves
  • How to influence others

More daringly we discuss and practice what love and caring means in work context, how to empathetically listen to others, and what are the benefits of vulnerability, etc.

These are all universal things which are connecting all human beings. However, there is always a cultural (company, national, religious, ethical, etc.,) twist in everything we do. Minna Hallikainen and I, with Finnish background, being immersed in closeness of nature, simplified communication and Finnish perseverance, living in a country which in total has less inhabitants than most Indian mid-size cities, need to be humble in order to adjust our coaching style and the content to such a different culture from what we are used to in our daily life. It is very challenging, but at the same time a very rewarding learning experience.

How do you enable a multicultural workforce?

Luckily, Ericsson is a multicultural company appreciating diversity, so we at our office in Finland have people from over 40 different nationalities. What a privilege to work in such environment! Thus, no wonder that we also have some Indian people working in Ericsson having understanding of both cultures. With the help of some of these employees, we had really interesting preparation for the international sessions. We had many discussions about history of India, cricket, cast system, marriages, hierarchy, organizational cultures, regional differences, yoga, food, family relations, etc., in order to understand the environment and the culture we are going to visit. Minna had been working with Indian developers already couple of years and visited India four times.

With this understanding we created a mindset how to approach some of the difficult topics, what things to discuss and what to do in conflict situations or how to get people more involved into discussions or exercises.

We also decided to show respect for the Indian culture by dressing accordingly, which seemed to be much appreciated by the locals.

I think the preparation for the session was one of the best learning experiences in my work life. Session itself went very well and we are so happy about what we learned and how we were able to share our knowledge and experiences and coach the participants to become better version of themselves. Last but certainly not least, we also got to know many new colleagues and got our Ericsson family enlarged again.

None of the sessions is identical; people come from diverse backgrounds with diverse viewpoints which make it every time a challenge and a surprise. This gives us unlimited possibilities for the trainers for learning and creativity. There is no such a thing as "just another day at office" in my work.

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