Mentoring and coaching are linked and lively

What are the differences between mentoring and coaching? It's a common question and one I’m frequently asked and the conclusion I have reached is that there is little difference between them. "Mentoring is a process that supports and encourages learning to happen" (Parsloe & Wray, undated); "Mentoring is a structured, non­reporting learning relationship to enhance professional practice, personal knowledge and organisational development"(Hawken & Brown, The NZ Mentoring Centre, undated). "Coaching is a relationship in which a coach supports, collaborate with, and facilitates client learning by helping a client identify and achieve future goals through assessment, discovery, reflection, goal setting and strategic action" (Dr. Brenda Wilkins, 2000). 

Coaching and mentoring share a present to future focus; they are both future and action based; and both offer support, guidance and input and, may focus on organisational, personal and professional objectives.

Engaged versus disengaged workforce – would you know what to do about it?

According to research done by Deidre Graham and Amy Milner, Kissing Frogs Consulting Ltd,, only about 30% of our workforce are fully engaged in the workplace, leaving about two thirds of the workforce disengaged or actively disengaged. They say the disengaged are those who turn up, do their job but no more, and generally lack passion and interest in what they do. The actively disengaged are those who tend to complain endlessly, may have a pattern of ongoing sick leave and may be quite destructive in a variety of ways. It seems staff disengage for a number of reasons i.e. a clash between their personal values and their organisation's values; a lack of fit with their colleagues; a dislike of the management or leadership styles in the organisation. The good news is that staff can be reengaged by managers taking a planned, informed approach and adopting a number of different strategies.


1. What are the levels of employee engagement like in your organisation?

2. What research does your organisation do to determine levels of engagement?

3. Would you know the steps to take, to turn any disengaged staff into fully engaged ones?


Personal growth often uncomfortable, management trainer says

Have you ever reflected back on the best and worst experiences you've gone through and been able to see, sometimes after the events, how you have changed and grown and developed in some way, as a result? M. Scott Peck, in The Road Less Travelled, said "The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers". What have been the prompts for your personal growth and development?

Coaching, coaches and the Dublin Declaration

Recently, numbers of coaches and interested stakeholders from around the world met to discuss advancing coaching as a profession, at a Global convention on coaching in Dublin, Ireland. The outcome of the convention was "The Dublin Declaration" which reflected the passion and commitment of the group to work together as individuals and organizations to advance coaching as a profession. The International Coaching Federation has taken a leadership role in this, as they continue to work to advance the art, science and practice of professional coaching.

How to conduct a mini review of your business or unit

In the midst of managing the day to day operations of our department or business, we can often miss the subtle clues that tell us if everything is running as it should be. If we want to be proactive in terms of business health, we can conduct a mini review or audit of key areas on a regular basis to ensure our operating infrastructure is sound, any potential issues that could cause damage or distress are dealt to, when they first appear and what works well is identified and celebrated. Here’s some steps to get you on your way: 

1. Strategic goals and objectives

Check there are processes around annual strategic thinking and thinking activities that result in a documented strategic plan, with strategic goals and objectives. Check that something is done with the plan i.e. translated into annual business plans, and that the plans are actioned, monitored, adjusted and monitored throughout their life span. Identify the systems in place to ensure the strategic goals and objectives and, the goals and objectives of business plans, are achieved. 

2. Values and Culture

Identify what the documented organisational values are and ask staff to describe the values and culture of the business or their section, to determine whether the values and culture are healthy and positive or something else entirely. Check the norms regarding communications, working as a team, being collegial, being professional, adhering to company policies and legislative requirements, customer service and relationship building. 

3. Structure

Check whether the organisational structure has been developed by default or design; and whether it still meets the current needs of the business i.e. too lean and mean or soft and flabby? Check the formal power structure versus the informal power structure to see if they’re similar or wildly different. Check whether leadership exists and if so, in leadership roles or other roles. Check the structure in relation to strategic goals and objectives to see if it can support future organisational growth and development. 

4. Systems

Check to see all the systems needed run the business actually exist and being used by staff. Determine whether there are any duplicated or missing systems. Check whether the key systems are user friendly, easy to use and known by all staff. Check what systems exist to ensure policies, procedures and systems are reviewed regularly and updated, if need be. Check the internal quality control systems, to ensure products and/or services, are critiqued regularly; check the complaints system and procedures, to ensure client/customer feedback is captured. Check the system for monitoring the strategic plans and annual business plans, so the strategic goals are achieved. 

4. Personnel

Check to see if the staffing levels are appropriate; whether the right people, with the right skills, are in the right roles. Determine whether roles are clearly defined and all staff know what is expected of them. Check whether staff are actively engaged and enthusiastic about their work or disengaged and stale. Check whether staff are supported in their work. Check whether staff are resourced to do their job. 

5. Policies and Procedures

Check that policies and procedures are documented and updated regularly. Determine where policy/procedure gaps exist and where duplications occur. Check whether standard operating procedures are in an easy to follow/use form – and are actually being used, in the manner intended. 

6. Products and/or services

Check to see the current product/service offerings are relevant and what the market requires. Check client/customer and staff feedback for complaints or suggestions for improvement. Determine where the products/services are in their life cycle. Determine what the competitors are doing. 

7. Finances

Check whether the business/unit is viable. Check whether the business is operating within budget and closely monitored. Check the appropriateness of financial policies on debtors/creditors; investments; debt financing, cash handling, cheque signatories, overdrafts etc. Check whether the GST/IRD funds are being used only for those purposes. Check the record keeping is up to date and appropriately filed. Check whether end of year financial information is compiled and sent to the accountant within a designated time frame.

 8. PR and Communications

Check the status of the communications plan, to see if it is documented or held in people’s heads. Identify the key stakeholders and the channels used to communicate with them. Check the frequency of the communications. Check the professionalism of the communications (i.e. error free, right tone, clear messages). Examine customer/staff formal and informal feedback to see how the business/unit is perceived or experienced. Examine the physical work space to determine the message it conveys to staff and the public. Check the image staff are conveying by their dress code, to se it fits with the organisation’s professional image. 

9. Customers/clients

Check the profile of customers/clients to determine who they are and where they’re from. Determine whether the database of customers/clients is regularly updated. Determine whether you want to keep all or some of your customers/clients. Check the ways customers/clients are acknowledged by the business. 

10. Leadership & Management

Check whether the leaders are leading and the managers are managing. Check whether the leadership and management styles are appropriate and conducive for achieving the business goals and enabling staff to be their best. Check whether people walk the talk or simply talk the talk. Check what they are role modelling to others. 

Mini reviews enable a reviewer to take a quick snapshot of a business or unit at a particular point in time. They’re a great opportunity to identify and celebrate what works well and what may need attention.

BEID feedback model simple to use, personal management trainer says

A handy little feedback model to have in your management toolkit is the BEID approach. B=Behaviour, E=Evidence, I=Impact, D=Do. If, for example, we have a staff member who wasn’t performing as well as expected, the BEID model requires us to monitor behaviours, obtain evidence as to the performance levels, consider the impact the behaviours have on the individual concerned and the workplace, then do something about the performance gaps.

Does a map reflect the territory? personal management trainer asks

In an article in a local magazine this week (St. Albans News, Christchurch, New Zealand, October 2008:7), lifestyle coach Peter Evans mentioned philosopher and scientist Alfred Korzybski who had said "The Map is not the Territory" and described how someone's interpretation of an event or object is simply that, an interpretation and not necessarily an accurate description of what actually is. Evans said everyone has their own beliefs or maps about who they are and where they’re going and noted that if the map is limited in terms of reference experiences and beliefs than people's thoughts and actions will be similarly limited. He commented that what people think or perceive to be true may be the simplest obstacle to changing how people feel or act on a daily basis and if we want to enrich our lives we must first enrich our maps by expanding our beliefs and references about what is possible. In taking note of Evans and Korzybski, a good question to ask ourselves is, is my current map limited? and if so, when will I do something about it?


Are low standards common? personal management trainer questions

Just last week someone told me about a trades person who was well known in their trade as being too careful and particular about their work. The person spoken of really cared about what they did and ensured everything was completed by the book and to the highest possible standard. What amazed me was that the story teller (also a tradesperson) wasn't endorsing the actions of his colleague, but was dismissing them and suggesting it really wasn't the way to do things. Near enough is good enough, I was told, as that's the way things are and should be. Oh really? That certainly doesn't fit my ideas about professionalism and professional practises ­ – what about you?