Thursday, March 22, 2012

Coaching and mentoring: what's the difference?

Ask this question and you will get a different answer from each person who gives you an answer. How can this be?
There is much talk in the workplace about both of these disciplines yet no consensus; therefore this post is not to define them but to offer my understanding/application/and personal definitions.

Mentoring, to me, is something a senior worker offers a junior worker.
Many years ago as I was leaving a post I was tasked with mentoring my replacement for a few weeks so that they could step in to the role fully upon my departure.
I have recently worked with a client who was formally asked to mentor a new hire - ensuring he understood the software, projects, hierarchy of tasks and other parameters of his new post.
Mentors offer support and guidance and advice. They will help you learn your job or specific tasks better. They often act as a role model.
I see mentors as being experts in specific skills related to performance, being experienced in an area with established networks.

So what is coaching? (For clarification I am discussing business or executive coaching.)
Coaching is about increasing performance, improving soft skills, and upping efficiency.
A coach is an expert listener and questioner but may not be an expert in a specific field or task: as a mentor often is. A coach should be an expert in adult learning, communication, motivation, psychology/human dynamics and generally understanding what makes a person tick.
Coaching will include self-evaluation and self-discovery. Guided, yes, but not so much directed.
A coach will have a targeted outcome related to optimization of potential.
In a coaching relationship the 'answers' should come from the client whereas in mentoring the mentor will usually provide the 'answers'.

These definitions were provided on another forum:
Coaching is a facilitated, reflective learning process involving semi-structured, focused interaction with an individual (or group) aimed at promoting sustainable change for the benefit of the individual and potentially other stakeholders.

Mentoring is a method of guidance whereby one person shares their knowledge, skills and experience to assist another to make progress in their own lives and careers.

I think those are excellent functional definitions that match my practical understanding of mentoring and coaching.

I would love to hear more about your understanding and applications of these techniques and what you think about what I've said.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Introductory offer: Everything DiSC® Workplace profile $39.95!

As a newly authorized Inscape Publishing distributor I have decided to offer the Everything DiSC® Workplace profile for $39.95 (RRP $50.25) for a limited time.
You may be wondering what this profile is, what it can do for you or why it should be of interest to you.
Everything DiSC® Workplace profile is an assessment of your manner of connecting to people; how do you process the world, what are your strengths, what can you contribute to a team effort and how can you maximize your ability to have productive interactions with others.
The Workplace profile is the basic profile in the suite of assessments (there are separate profiles for Sales, Management and Leaders); the information from it can be used in many areas of one's life. I believe that it offers the individual a greater understanding of how they operate, offers suggestions on using your strengths and perhaps most beneficial is the part of the report that indicates how you (with your style of communicating) will best get along with individuals with different communication styles than your own.
After completion of the questions (which takes about 20 minutes) a 20 page report is generated that provides a tremendous amount of information. This report includes some basic information about the four main styles (Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness) discusses your style in greater detail, shows strengths and weaknesses of your style, how your style interacts with other styles, and much more!

Having used the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator I feel that the Everything DiSC® Workplace profile is a more useful profile, has at least as much depth but presents it in a less complex manner. Both the MBTI and the DiSC profiles have a unique purpose, however I see the DiSC as having a more immediate upside by increasing your productivity and communication skills through providing the information it does.
Here is a link to a sample profile report

If you want to take advantage of this price you need to click through this blog post!
If you want to purchase other Inscape products please see

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Everything DiSC® - our new endeavor

Carolina Life Coaching is now an authorized Inscape Publishing distributor for all DiSC® products (and several other products).
DiSC® is an assessment tool that looks at how you interact with the world and provides an informative 20 page report that will help you to improve your interactions with others. That is a VERY simple description, way too simple but its a start. Here's a bit more
Further information can be found here
That site is under construction but will be updated every other day until completed.

I am super excited to integrate this tool into my coaching and training as I have been extremely impressed with the results of the profiles I seen.
Individuals can start with the Everything Workplace DiSC® or one of the targeted profiles such as Everything Workplace DiSC® Management, Everything Workplace DiSC® Sales, or Everything Workplace DiSC® Work of Leaders.
The profiles work wonderfully when used with groups and facilitated to help individuals to better understand how to communicate more efficiently with their group members.
I want to keep this entry short and sweet so will leave it here for now. But in time I will dedicate space here to provide additional information.

Please visit and send an email or call to find out more.

Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning our home typically means doing a complete top to bottom clean including all the things we don't normally do.

Where does one start? How do I find the time? What about motivation? How many cleaning products to I need? Some of those are pricey, how can I keep costs down? I HATE cleaning! Why do it, it will be a mess soon enough!

Not knowing where to start is probably the biggest barrier to actually starting. I recommend setting a date and time that you WILL start and in the room you feel best prepared to conquer. For some of us that might be the room that needs it the most and for others it may be the room that needs it the least.

Or you may start with a specific task. Cleaning baseboards or dusting picture frames or sorting through the coat closet. I am reminded of a line from the movie The Patriot – "aim small, miss small"

Create a very specific target – and you have a much better chance of hitting it.

I am going to deep clean the entire house! I am going to organize the linen closet.

Which is more manageable? Which is less daunting? Which are you more likely to complete?

This chart may help you determine your start point. List the tasks that you want to achieve in the appropriate boxes. Then start with the Urgent box.


Can wait:


So…………..Pick a start time , pick a start location and pick a task - then schedule it!

Decide how much time you are going to spend on any given day on your spring cleaning? Are you going to try and tackle it all or are you going to go room by room? Task by task?

Most of us will be trying to find the time to do this extra deep clean and therefore can't get lost in the process. A few may be in a position to start on a Saturday morning and work right through, my hat is off to those you who can do that! For the rest of us look at your schedule and literally pencil in time to clean. Try to accomplish three tasks each time you clean.

Scheduling appointments for the mundane, for fun and for stuff we keep saying we want to do but don't do, is a common recommendation from me. If we put an appointment on our calendar you are much more likely to make sure it happens.

How often will you ignore an appointment that is on your calendar? I hope not too often!!

Back to the cleaning….

Get everyone involved

Recruit family members……………all of them that reside in the home. There is no reason that Spring Cleaning should fall on one set of shoulders, ask the kids to clean their room, organize their dresser and closets, go through their toys and consider giving some to a charity. Sure you may have to review what they have done but they are capable of the first pass!

Same goes for your spouse or partner – I ask my husband to start with the garage since that contains mostly his stuff.

Another tip is to set an egg timer for 15 minutes and spend those 15 minutes in a chosen room. Better yet get everyone to spend 15 minutes in a different room. Bit by bit, step by step.

Add a little fun – put music on, have a little competition (who can have the tidiest room, who can have the neatest closet, etc.) order some pizzas! Do something to make it more enjoyable.

Keep track of your progress – make a list of the things that are DONE

We so often have a to- do list but how often do we keep track of the things we've done? It will give you a sense of accomplishment to see how much you have completed.

Consider additional reasons why spring cleaning is a good thing.

It is all well and good to have a wonderfully clean and organized home but that may not be enough motivation for you.

  • A clean home can positively impact allergies,
  • you may find things that need repair before they are a disaster,
  • you may find plenty to donate to a charity and therefore create a tax deduction,
  • your kitchen cupboard will be free of crumbs (which can attract ants and other insects) and out of date foods.
  • A clean frig is less likely to house harmful bacteria.
  • The clear dryer vent is less likely to cause fire issues.
  • Less clutter means more living space.
I am sure you can think of others.

To recap:

Pick a start time, pick a start location, pick a task - then schedule it!

Get everyone involved, don't try and do it all yourself

Add a little fun; music, take out food, competitions

Keep track of your progress – make a list of the things that are DONE

Consider the additional benefits of spring cleaning