Coach Interview: Lisa Ross-Marcus. The Art of Crossing Over

Written by Erin Bankersen

Empower coach, Lisa Ross-Marcus, is an intercultural consultant and leadership coach who draws on her experience spanning multiple continents, careers, and cultures to help people connect with their unique potential and discover a new way of thinking. 

Starting as a professional dancer, Lisa crossed over into corporate communications before branching further into intercultural training and leadership coaching. Relying on her experience in the creative arts while navigating through different cultures, she effectively helps her clients find success in creating a positive impact in their own lives. Like curtains opening to reveal a magnificent artistic performance, Lisa loves supporting her clients to discover the hidden powers they didn’t know they had.

Volunteering with Empower Amsterdam

Lisa first learned about Empower Amsterdam through a good friend and was thrilled to become part of an organization whose goals are so aligned with her own. She is committed to giving back to her community through pro bono coaching; in addition to coaching expats through Empower Amsterdam, she volunteers her time coaching female entrepreneurs and professional actors.

Crossing the cultural and employment bridge

Finding a job in another country and culture, Lisa says, is like being on a rope bridge over a gorge. Even in your own culture, the rope bridge can be hard to cross. However, in another culture, the bridge is missing a few planks, the side ropes you can hang on to are gone, and the challenge can seem insurmountable.

Expats need to be resourceful, brave, and willing to operate outside of their comfort zone. Sometimes, crossing that bridge means calling out to someone for help. This is where coaching comes in: to support the person on the bridge to become confident and devise their own strategy for crossing over to the other side.

What's coaching like with Lisa?

Coaching offers a process for the client to figure things out for themselves in a safe space. In a coaching session with Lisa, the first order of business is helping the client identify their goal. In this way, the client takes charge of their own process and articulates what matters to them. Through reflective dialogue and exercises, the client moves away from feeling stuck, towards a more self-empowered view of themselves and their situation.

For Lisa, the genuine value of coaching is its ability to enhance autonomy and communication skills. By providing the client with a process of finding their own answers, coaching activates the long-term memory area of the brain leading to fundamental change.

These are the moments when insights are gained and behavioral shifts take place. In this way, coaching offers a pathway to tackling future challenges as well. Lisa’s coaching sessions always conclude with the client’s commitment to action. These actions can be big or small; the intent is simply to take a step to apply what has been learned in the session.

Living in the charming city of Amsterdam

Outside of coaching, Lisa lives in her favorite city in the world: Amsterdam. She loves how cosmopolitan and charming the city is, with beauty around every corner. In her free time, she enjoys meditating, walking in nature, reading, and working on, what she calls, “creative research projects”.

These are projects that can span years but are rewarding to her. One example of a project is “Playing with a Full Deck”. For the past 11 years, Lisa has been collecting abandoned playing cards to form a full deck of cards. She has found them in different places and always notes the date and place she found it. She is only missing 3 more cards, then she will be “Playing with a Full Deck”. 

Lisa's advice for new arrivals to the Netherlands

While Lisa lives in her favorite city, she understands that living in another country and culture is challenging. Her advice to any recent arrival in the Netherlands is to not be shy about telling people your ambitions and asking for tips and advice.

A new arrival should leverage every interaction to come away with at least one piece of information. Make getting into a conversation a habit and try to come away with something useful. Most importantly, stay curious and don’t be attached to the outcome. Remind yourself that you are an equal in the conversation and you have every right to ask your questions.

Lisa is dedicated to helping her clients to thrive outside their comfort zones. In crossing over, as she did, from the creative arts to coaching, Lisa recognizes how important it is to be okay with ambiguity and open yourself up to the creative possibilities in life. Being coached by Lisa can help you to crossover the barriers you are finding as well.

Want to connect with Lisa?

Here's Lisa's In-Coaching website or you can reach out to her on LinkedIn.

If you're an unemployed international living in the Netherlands, you can apply for free coaching with coaches like Lisa. Use the Apply button on our Contact page.