Leah Davcheva

Leah Davcheva

Leah Davcheva, PhD, is the founder and director of AHA moments – Centre for Interculturality, Solutions Focus and Host Leadership. She is an international trainer, coach, researcher, and (co-) author of books, articles and learning materials. Most important for her is that the people she works with move forward in the direction they desire.


Host Leading and Zones of Interculturality: Noticing Connections and Developing Common Ground

A curious connection has grabbed my attention in the Intercultural and the Host Leadership strands of my work. The idea of shared ground between the two - conceptual and practice-oriented – has come about as an outcome of my current work with “globe-trotting” senior executives from global and transnational companies with branches in Bulgaria.

I have noticed that no matter what direction our conversations take within the intercultural coaching programmes these executives enrol in, we inevitably arrive at issues concerning their performance as leaders in the novel multicultural contexts they find themselves in. They want to engage with the sensitivities of the people on their teams and draw them in, in culturally appropriate ways. But looking into the huge geopolitical divides, e.g. East-West, or delving into the big-scale cultural dimensions theories that are part of the more traditional cross-cultural training agenda is not exactly what they want to do Rather, they are keen to develop and amplify spaces whereby, with their team(s), they can act and build things together.

And where exactly is the point where we can jointly employ ideas from Host leadership and Zones of Interculturality. Host leading is about building relationships – at work, in the community, in society, at home – to engage with others. Equally, engagement with people is a key ingredient in intercultural interactions. Another common thread is a shared emphasis on the dynamics of performance. Stepping into and out of the six host leading roles and dealing one’s identity cards in zones of interculturality both manifest themselves as work ceaselessly in progress.

Helping people see these connections and thus develop their intercultural and host leading performance conjunctively is, therefore, worth a try.

In this session, we explore some of the commonalities between Host Leadership and Zones of Interculturality. No doubt we can coach and train our clients without having to untangle any of these connections. We can achieve results by merely introducing the two steps, four positions and six roles model of Host Leadership and/or mechanistically follow the prescribed path of the “Living and working abroad” programmes. However, I trust that establishing a common philosophical ground between Host Leadership and Zones of Interculturality is an opportunity to construct a firmer foundation for our practice to the benefit of everybody concerned.