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What is the COF?

Organizations today are operating in an increasingly complex, multicultural and global context. Cultural differences are often a source of misunderstanding, frustration and even derailment (notably in cross-border mergers and acquisitions). However, when leveraged, cultural diversity opens new choices. It becomes a source of creativity and opportunity to go beyond current limitations to achieve sustainable and meaningful success.

The COF assessment facilitates the understanding of salient cultural characteristics for individuals, teams and organizations.

User friendly, straightforward, highly flexible and customizable, reasonably priced, the COF assessment is an ideal tool for individual coaching, leadership development, intercultural training, team coaching and organizational cultural audits.

Based on Philippe Rosinski’s groundbreaking book Coaching Across Cultures, chosen by the Harvard Business School as its featured book recommendation in the category of business leadership, the COF assessment goes hand in hand with an inclusive and dynamic vision of culture, beyond the traditional binary and static approaches, which often tend to reinforce stereotypes.

The COF assessment goes further than the sole national focus and allows users to examine the other cultural influencers that make up our identities (gender, profession, generation, etc.). It lets users view group cultural profiles in multiple, customizable ways (e.g., team, organization as well as profiles per categories/fields predefined by users, such as division, nationality, management level, merging entities, etc.) and allows them to add their own customized cultural dimensions to the 17 standard COF dimensions.

Cultural Orientations Framework (COF)

Sense of power and responsibility

Control / Harmony / Humility

Time management approaches

Scarce / Plentiful

Monochronic / Polychronic

Past / Present / Future

Definitions of identity and purpose

Being / Doing

Individualistic / Collectivistic

Organizational arrangements

Hierarchy / Equality

Universalist / Particularist

Stability / Change

Competitive / Collaborative

Notions of territory and boundaries

Protective / Sharing

Communication patterns

High context / Low context

Direct / Indirect

Affective / Neutral

Formal / Informal

Modes of thinking

Deductive / Inductive

Analytical / Systemic

Other

Your customized supplemental COF dimensions

Key features

  • 7 cultural categories of crucial importance to managers and coaches
  • 17 standard cultural dimensions
  • Unlimited number of supplemental cultural dimensions, defined by user to meet specific circumstances
  • Assessment of cultural orientations as well as abilities
  • Easy set up and follow up of COF projects
  • Real time viewing of individual COF profiles and automatic generation of individual COF reports in easy to print PDF format
  • Real time viewing of COF aggregate results and automatic generation of group profiles/slideshows and images for reports and presentations
  • Automatic generation of spreadsheets with individual results
  • Multiple possibilities for aggregating data for subgroups by defining an unlimited number of criteria in addition to the standard ones (gender, country and age)
  • Multilingual versions available – the new software makes it easier to convert the COF assessment in other languages (contact us for more information)
  • New administrator feature to manage COF certified users (contact us for more information)
Why the COF?

Preferred choice for many users

"We selected Rosinski's COF as a conceptual framework and primary assessment tool for several reasons (cultural categories transcend typical categorization, team profile can be utilized for future initiatives, cost effectiveness...). Other models were considered, however the COF framework seemed particularly designed for coaches to have coaching conversations that facilitate leveraging cultural differences and creating new possibilities."

Dr C Carr, PCC and L Seto, PCC (Canada),
International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring

Reference in many books and articles

The COF model has been described in the books Coaching Across Cultures,which integrated coaching and interculturalism for the first time and has been published in 10 languages, and in Global Coaching. Both books have been praised by Harvard University. Appears also in Evidence Based Coaching Handbook, Excellence in Coaching, The Routledge Companion to International Business Coaching, The Coaching Relationship, 52 Activities for Successful International Relocation,Positive Psychology in Coaching, Best Practice in Performance Coaching, The Psychology of Coaching and Mentoring, and more.

Different scope from traditional intercultural assessment tools

While still allowing comparison of individual profiles with various national cultures, the COF assessment has a much broader scope. The COF assessment aims at helping individuals grow by learning from cultural differences of various kinds. Culture here consists of all the characteristics we have acquired along the way, by interacting with various groups of people and being part of different cultural groups (family, generation, profession, company, country, religion, etc.). The COF™ assessment can be viewed as an equivalent, at the cultural level, to a personality assessment such as the MBTI®.

Multidimensional and flexible

With its 17 dimensions (more can be added on a custom basis), the COF allows us to become aware of our inevitable biases (e.g., how we communicate, think, manage time, organize ourselves, deal with power and responsibility), and to go beyond potentially limiting norms, values and beliefs. The COF allows discovery of new options to increase versatility, creativity and effectiveness. Its underlying dynamic and inclusive view of culture, enables us to build unity in diversity by leveraging cultural differences.

Uses of the COF?

The COF has a number of uses:

  • Assess cultures. The COF provides language to describe the salient traits of a culture and focuses your attention on key cultural variables and tendencies.
  • Discover new cultural choices. You may recognize an orientation for, say hierarchical organization and compare it with a preference for a flat structure. Patterns that seemed so natural and universal suddenly appear relative and even biased when contrasted with their opposites. Orientations that had been overlooked or undiscovered offer new choices for dealing with challenging situations.
  • Assess cultural differences. As Stewart and Bennett’s research indicated, "The core difficulty in cross-cultural interaction is--simply stated--a failure to recognize relevant cultural differences". When several cultures are involved, the COF gives you a systematic approach to clarify the nature of cultural differences among them as well as similarities.
  • Bridge different cultures. Having pinpointed specific cultural differences allows you to focus your energy next on bridging the gaps.
  • Envision a desired culture. The COF provides a vocabulary to describe an ideal culture. It then becomes a matter of bridging the current culture with the desired one. The challenge is still great, but it becomes manageable at least.
  • Leverage cultural diversity. With cultural alternatives clearly identified, you can strive to have the best of the two or three viewpoints for each dimension. Whenever possible, you will make the most of cultural differences and achieve synergy.
Usefulness/validity/reliability of COF profiles

This questionnaire will help you determine your cultural profile. As you respond to the questions, we invite you to reflect on the meaning of each dimension and think of your typical inclination in situations you have experienced.

A word of caution: Your answers to this questionnaire will help you to establish a cultural profile that constitutes a useful basis for further discussion, rather than a definite truth or absolutely valid measure.

To make the most of this assessment, you may consider:

  • reading part II of Coaching Across Cultures to gain a more in-depth understanding of the dimensions,
  • working with an intercultural coach certified to use the COF to help bring to the surface cultural characteristics you may be less conscious of,
  • soliciting 360° feedback to help you appreciate how others perceive your ability to use each cultural orientation.

Additional caveats:

Please understand that the cultural profile concept is somewhat of a stretch. Your cultural orientations depend indeed to a large extent on the cultural context (unlike psychological preferences). This means that your orientations frequently change (at least to some degree) depending on the situation (e.g., low context at work, high context with family and with close, long-time friends.)

How could you establish a reliable cultural profile?

  • One solution is to devise a cultural profile in each situation. The cultural profile would be accurate, but only in that situation.
  • The solution we recommend is to accept that your individual cultural profile is only meant to represent your default, your overall tendency.

Your cultural profile does not always determine your actions. For example, you might have an orientation toward competition, yet choose collaboration in a particular situation. Consequently, your cultural profile does not limit your potential. The opposite is true. Aware of your profile, you can discover new options outside your profile and tap into this unexpected potential.

Methodological considerations: usefulness versus validity

For a detailed discussion, please refer to Global Coaching, pp. 129-132.

Individual/group COF profiles

Individual responses can be aggregated to establish collective COF profiles for research purposes or/and in the context of group projects (e.g., the COF team profile used in a team coaching intervention, COF organizational profile used for the cultural audit of an organization, COF profile of each division within an organization).

The COF assessment questionnaire is designed primarily as a developmental tool (both at the individual and group level) and also as an audit tool (at the group level).

Please note that the group COF profiles are obtained here through aggregation of individual COF profiles rather than the aggregation of individuals’ perceptions of the group’s cultural orientations and abilities.

Why does it seem like a COF license has been used whilst the COF questionnaire has not yet been completed?

The COF license is temporarily consumed/debited when a participant starts the questionnaire (state “Q1 started”). The participant has 24 hours to complete the questionnaire. The remaining time is visible for the participant in the list of projects in which he/she takes part. If the participant has not completed the questionnaire within the 24 hours, his/her questionnaire is reset (back to the “Registered” state). The license is credited for the COF project manager and can now be used by another participant. If the participant completes the questionnaire within the 24 hours, the COF license remains permanently debited, the chronometer disappears and the state becomes “Completed”.

The reason for this subtlety is to avoid a scenario where several participants would be starting the questionnaire at the same time but some would not be able to complete it in case the COF project manager has not purchased a sufficient number of licenses. Instead, in this situation, our COF assessment will indicate upfront to a participant who wishes to start the questionnaire that there are no COF licenses available left to do so and that he/she should contact his/her COF project manager.

In any event, we recommend that COF project managers ensure that they always have enough COF licenses left before launching a COF project.

COF Certification

We offer three possibilities for you to become certified to use the COF assessment.

The certification is highly recommended for using the COF assessment with your individual clients and indispensable with teams and organizations.

1. Attend one of our upcoming 3-day ICF-accredited Leading and Coaching Across Cultures / COF assessment certification seminars

Upcoming seminars

2. Constitute a group of minimum 8 participants to organize the 3-day certification seminar at your location!

Contact us

3. Participate in a one-to-one supervision with Philippe Rosinski over the phone/Skype
This typically involves five one-hour supervision sessions, guided self-study and helping you through the various steps of your first COF project.

Contact us
COF Master Certification

After having been certified to use the COF assessment, you have the possibility -at no additional cost- to become Master COF certified. You essentially need to provide evidence that you have successfully used the COF assessment in a substantial client project (e.g., one intercultural team coaching, one organizational cultural audit, or five individual intercultural coaching). Upon successful completion of your project, you need to send the following information to Philippe Rosinski at office@philrosinski.com:

A) Sharing the relevant COF results plus a written description of your COF project (min 2.500 words) outlining:

  • The type of the project you have completed and how you have used the COF assessment (presenting your analysis of COF results and describing your process for exploiting these results with your client)
  • The outcome of the project (highlighting the added value/benefits for your client) and joining a written feedback/testimonial from your client

B) A written confirmation of your commitment to continue meeting the high standards of quality and ethics when using the COF assessment, notably by promoting the inclusive and dynamic view of culture depicted in the book Coaching Across Cultures. Keeping the Master COF certification implies that you continue to meet these criteria.

Upon receiving this evidence that you have successfully used the COF assessment, particularly to the satisfaction of your client, we will send you your "COF Master" certificate and logo.

You will also be invited to join the LCAC Masters sub-group on LinkedIn, enabling you to exchange ideas and best practices with other past participants who have also successfully used the COF assessment. We look forward to supporting you in making the most of your COF certification.

Coaching Across Cultures


The COF model is described in detail in Coaching Across Cultures: examples for each cultural dimension, various ways of leveraging differences, practical cases and recommendations. Coaching Across Cultures is the indispensable companion book to interpret and capitalize on your COF results.

Find out more

Rosinski and Company services


Rosinski & Company’s mission is to help leaders, teams and organizations unleash their human potential to achieve high performance together with high fulfillment.

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Philippe Rosinski


Prof. Philippe Rosinski is a world authority in executive coaching, team coaching, and global leadership development. He has pioneered a global approach to coaching that leverages multiple perspectives for greater creativity, impact, fulfilment and meaning.

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Global Coaching


Global Coaching includes methodological considerations about the COF assessment, case studies illustrating its application at three levels: individual, team and organization (e.g., M&As and alliances). Global Coaching is a key resource for COF certified users.

Find out more

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