KNVB WorldCoaches - Akteos

KNVB WorldCoaches

Further refine and apply intercultural communication

The in-company Cultural Awareness: dealing with cultural differences training has delivered “a greater awareness of intercultural differences and how they can be bridged with practical skills and insights” to the KNVB instructors who train local WorldCoaches.


The KNVB started the international WorldCoaches training programme in 2009 as part of its social responsibility towards the global football family. Football coaches are trained in their own neighbourhood or village so that they can then serve locally as trainers. At the same time they also serve as role models in their own immediate communities by educating young people about relevant local issues. This is how WorldCoaches make a difference. The programme operates in Africa, the Middle East, the Caribbean and Asia.


Fnaan Woldegiorgis, Project Coordinator at WorldCoaches: “The motivation for doing the in-company training came from practical experience: in certain contexts cultural communication poses a challenge and we have also received feedback about this, both from our teachers and from our local partners. So, we decided to give our teachers an in-company training course. Nine KNVB teachers and three colleagues from the department were trained. The level of experience in communicating in different cultural contexts varied per participant.” The KNVB teachers train key figures in the community – mostly in developing countries – to become football coaches.

Intercultural communication

For this two-day course, several geographical areas were defined and we focused on the various parts of the world, with their own cultures, where we regularly provide courses: Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and the Middle East. “We took a longer look at the Middle East. We have not been working in this region for very long, relatively speaking, and we have encountered various challenges,” says Michael van der Star, manager at WorldCoaches.

“The goal of the training was for us all to get a clear picture: what do we come up against in practice? Do we all feel the same way? To make our teachers more consciously aware of cultural differences.


Someone in our personal network recommended Akteos to us. After making a shortlist, we decided to go for Akteos. They have extensive experience in this field”.

Woldegiorgis: “First, we had a call with a programme manager from Akteos to discuss the content of the training course. We were very happy that the trainer – Fanny Spruytte – was present during the first meeting with Akteos at our office. That was really nice, it meant we could immediately switch gears and spar about the content of the training. That certainly benefited the needs analysis and the proposal.

The two-day training course was a mixture of learning skills and gaining insight into other cultures using NOMAD’s Culture Profile. This is an online tool that gives you insight into the culture of a country, your own cultural behaviour and preferred styles. “We all took this test. That provided a good basis for discussions. We then compared them with the average scores of people in the countries in which we operate.”

Van der Star: “I also took part in the training, along with two colleagues, to help encourage better discussions. The trainer, Fanny, had a very pleasant, enjoyable and professional approach. After all, she was dealing with a group of teachers who are used to being in front of the class themselves.


“The training was very useful. The results of the country analysis from the NOMAD Culture Profile are now part of the briefing when we send teachers to a particular country,” says Michael. “The training has also led to good internal discussions. We are now much more in step with each other and can better interpret concepts. The umbrella terms have been given meaning. And we can see that the material has sunk in. The teachers regularly talk among themselves about being ‘high context’. That is a very positive development.

Our teachers are keen to put the insights and skills into practice, as soon as that is possible again. Unfortunately, due to the current situation, this is still very limited.”

Akteos – customised courses
Client: KNVB WorldCoaches , Zeist
Sector: sport and education
Size of training course: 9 teachers and 3 employees
Training: Cultural awareness: dealing with cultural differences
Goal: Make coaches more aware of and skilled in intercultural communication
Result: Increased awareness of intercultural differences; now ingrained within the coaching team

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