5 Differences between Coaching and Mentoring – Do you agree?

Recently I read a white paper (Management Mentors 2013) that claimed 25 distinctions between coaching and mentoring.  That seemed like a large difference in terms of distinctions.  The thought occurred as to the accuracy of the distinctions themselves.  To that end an abbreviated version of first 5 differences between the two areas follow for your review and comment.

  1. Coaching is task oriented and requires the coach to be expert and credible. The development of a long term relationship is said to be not critical for success.

Mentoring on the hand is described as relationship oriented and transformational in scope.  The mentor is not required to be an expert as the role is facilitation rather than coaching.

  1. Coaching is short term in nature. The association lasts only as long as it takes for the task to be completed.

Mentoring is described as always being long term.  At least 9 – 12 months are required for a relationship of trust and security to develop.

  1. Coaching is noted as being performance driven. The emphasis is on improvement most likely on the job.  Once new skills are acquired the coaching is deemed to be complete.

Mentoring on the other hand is noted as being development driven.  The purpose is to develop the individual for the future in terms of work or career.

  1. Coaching can begin almost immediately on most topics. Preparation time is noted as being minimal.

Mentoring is stated to require a design phase necessary to determine the strategic purpose of the mentorship.

  1. Coaching is stated to require a partnership with the individual seeking the coaching and their direct manager. That partnership provides the coach with additional information.

Mentoring does not have the same direct relationship.  The manager of the person being mentored does not communicate with the mentor during the mentorship time.

From my perspective the distinctions are not completely accurate.  Coaching and mentorship are both used in business and personally for people wishing to alter their lives. There are other areas of discrepancy as well.  What resonates as accurate or inaccurate with you?

Solo and Small Biz Change Agent, Marie-Helene Sakowski at info@effectiveplacement.com

Tips on Authentically Promoting Yourself

  1. Be Generous

In essence be in service to your clients.  Genuinely being there to help is essential.  Keep at it even it is difficult.  Promote those you are working with or for.

  1. Be Trustworthy

Tell the people you are working for the way it is.  Focus on the facts and not the story leading up to the current situation.

  1. Be Present

Listen not with just your ears.  Pay attention to the body language of those around.  Pay attention to the pauses and silence.   Speak only when necessary.

  1. Be Open Minded

Listen to what others have to say leaving preconceptions behind.  Try something different with an open mind it may just work.

  1. Be Adaptable

Admit to yourself and others when change is necessary.  Champion a new way of doing things as an opportunity for learning yourself included.


Need greater clarity – contact me to discuss.

Solo and Small Biz Change Agent, Marie-Helene Sakowski at info@effectiveplacement.com

Canada’s Social Performance – Conference Board of Canada

Reviewing the report on Canada’s Social Performance it is sobering to note that Canadian provinces do not have a top rating in terms of social performance.  The report is based on indicators relating to a number of areas including: poverty, income inequality, gender and immigrant wage gaps, crime statistics, jobless youth, and overall life satisfaction.

  1. Compared with international peers, half of Canada’s provinces score “B” grades on the overall society report card. They are middle-of-the-pack performers, with top-ranked province New Brunswick placing 10th overall.
  2. Alberta, Nova Scotia, P.E.I., Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador get “C”s, with Newfoundland and Labrador placing ahead of only bottom-ranked peers France, Japan, and the United States.
  3. Canada gets a “B” overall and ranks 10th among the 16 peer countries.
  4. The Nordic countries Norway, Denmark, and Sweden do best overall.


For a complete read of the report go to:  http://www.conferenceboard.ca/hcp/provincial/society.aspx.

Solo and Small Biz Change Agent, Marie-Helene Sakowski at info@effectiveplacement.com


3 Tips for Measuring High Potential Employees

All business owners need to be concerned with developing their high potential employees.  The areas that require measurement and tracking are:

  1. Capacity

A key area to focus on for up and comers is self-awareness.  Of crucial importance is the presence of the ability to build relationships at all levels of the organization.  Quick thinking and the ability to learn and maintain information is also necessary.

  1. Experience

Growing as an individual is one thing.  Growing a team is highly valuable.  Beyond that putting in place plans for the development of a number of teams and departments becomes essential.  Having success in this final stage is mandatory for achieving high placement. 

  1. Motivation

Desire for career success and attainment is basic to the success of a high potential employee.  People may have the talent and an enviable track record in terms of achievement.  The desire to be a top notch leader must be present for that person to move forward.

Each area is needed for the successful development of the high potential person or people within your business.

Need greater clarity – contact me to discuss.

Solo and Small Biz Change Agent, Marie-Helene Sakowski at info@effectiveplacement.com

5 Benefits of Scheduling Periods of Quiet in Your Day

The mantra of busyness is one that most of us are familiar with.  A different approach is becoming popular and it is one where you actually schedule or plan for a period of quiet in your day.

  1. Plan what you want or need to learn.

A goal and a desire to learn are essentially different.  A desire may be expressed without taking further action.  Having learning as a goal is action oriented.  With a period of quiet you can actually think about your learning goals and take action steps toward its achievement.

  1. Practice skills that need to be developed.

Stopping the automatic process of doing and getting the same results may take effort.  Practicing something different until we begin to see different results pays off and is worth the time investment.

  1. Contemplation in relation to achievements and failures

The expression of taking a walk to clear your head is common place and sound advice.  A walk is beneficial in terms of assimilating lessons learned.  It is also helpful in the development of ideas.  Taking time to contemplate provides opportunity for creativity to flourish.

  1. Problem solving as they occur.

With quiet time built into your day the opportunity to solve the problem that has occurred is available.  The need to push the issue aside and stick to a to-do list is mitigated.

  1. Try something differently and experiment with it to see if it works.

It may not work.  It is still a valuable opportunity to learn from and test the ideas that you have.

Need greater clarity – contact me to discuss.

Solo and Small Biz Change Agent, Marie-Helene Sakowski at info@effectiveplacement.com

5 Behaviors That Make You Unstoppable

All of us earn our good reputations by excelling at what we do. Adopt a few behaviors will assist in being unstoppable in your industry.  Personal mastery is necessary to set yourself apart from others.  A few pointers on achieving the best version of you follow.

  1. Understand That Things Go Wrong

You can do all you can to succeed and plan every meticulous detail of a project or change, but things go wrong and mistakes happen.  Be calm and stay focused when that happens.

  1. Leave “Over Thinking” Behind

Be sure of yourself to avoid over-analyzing a situation.   Trust your own experience and feelings to see you through and move forward.

  1. Take Responsibility

Everyone makes mistakes.  Acknowledges the mistake and take ownership.  That means doing so even when another member of you teams is involved in the situation. Address what needs to be done differently and implement the correction for a solution as soon as possible.

  1. Be Yourself

The best part about you is that you are original and therefore you should use this to your advantage and stop trying to be anyone else.

  1. Value Simplicity

It is easy to overcomplicate things and lose sight of what you are trying to achieve.  Do the basics well rather than adding layers of complexity. Refer to the project or change objectives frequently to stay on task and on track.

These 5 behaviors will serve you in good stead and enhance your reputation as being an unstoppable professional in your career.

Need greater clarity – contact me to discuss.

Solo and Small Biz Change Agent, Marie-Helene Sakowski at info@effectiveplacement.com

5 Ways Body Language Takes Away from Perceived Listening Skills

Attending a meeting yesterday I was reminded of the importance of body language in listening.  Pay attention to what your body is doing to improve your overall communication skills.

  1. Leaning Back

Leaning back signals that you are disinterested and day dreamy

  1. Slouching

Having your body slouch has the appearance of lethargy or lack of energy.

  1. Crossing Your Arms (Or Legs)

Crossing your arms has you appear closed off or unwilling to cooperate.   Crossing your legs can be interpreted similarly so be aware if your legs are visible not to sit with crossed legs.

  1. Feet Point Away

Your feet point to where you want to go. When someone is listening intently to another person, his or her feet will point towards them.

  1. Turning Away

Your body will point to where it is focused.  To make a strong impression, move your body slightly to angle toward whoever is speaking during a meeting.

The shifts you make in body language may or may not be noticed.  Making the shifts will have others think you are a great listener.  Having that realization even at an unconscious level is worth the effort of paying attention to your body language.

Need greater clarity – contact me to discuss.

Solo and Small Biz Change Agent, Marie-Helene Sakowski at info@effectiveplacement.com

5 Leadership Steps in a Change Management Journey

It occurs to me that we as a global community are embarking on a journey of change management and leadership where traits from each area overlap and offer a way to move forward with initiatives.  As a leader you may for example be involved in several initiatives that require change in your business or organization. As you navigate your way through the change process you will likely benefit from some key leadership traits.

First be purposeful.

Second have the changes have meaning.

Third keep it simple.

Fourth recognize the success.

Fifth follow-up on the feedback and track what needs improvement.


Need greater clarity – contact me to discuss.

Solo and Small Biz Change Agent, Marie-Helene Sakowski at info@effectiveplacement.com

Tip for Small Business and Succession Planning

As the owner of a successful operation you likely have several part time and full time employees and a standard way to doing business that has served you well over the course of the enterprise.  Full retirement may not be for you.  The sale of the business is not something you are ready for.

Enter the need for a phased in succession planning process and a reduced work and responsibility role for you.  Start the process now.  Look at the people in your employment and identify at least 2 candidates that are ready and able to take over a significant portion of your duties

Start training the person identified immediately on the duties and responsibilities that you currently manage.  Step back in the process and allow that person to make some changes.  After the training and period of stabilization take a complete break from the business and have the newly trained employee be responsible.

You may learn that you enjoy the freedom to come and go from your business as you please.  You may find that new sources of revenue materialize.  With that realization letting go and working fewer hours allows the details of the succession planning process to include a structured plan for your eventual exit.


Need greater clarity on the process for starting a succession plan – contact me to discuss.

Solo and Small Biz Change Agent, Marie-Helene Sakowski at info@effectiveplacement.com

Ways to Gain Influence at Work

Most managers and executives would state that they have a strong influence overall within the business they are in.  That may simply be their view on the matter without evidence to support their assertion or belief.

  1. Personal attitude and behavior are the platform for influence.

Speaking to others in neutral tones, having an open body posture, and making eye contact with people while speaking to them, are all indicators of consistency.

  1. Continuing to be approachable.

Maintaining your listening skills and requesting suggestions from those working in the front lines is invaluable.

  1. Requesting feedback from employees.

When you request constructive feedback form employees opening yourself to receiving feedback that assists in confirming and enhancing the degree of influence you have.

  1. Increased cooperation for change and new initiatives.

Having employees rally around you to cooperate, champion, and assist whole heartedly with the implementation of your programs or projects you can clearly see the evidence of being influential.

Like anything else influence may be achieved and lost.  To maintain the momentum that has started be sure to keep your behavior and attitude consistent and open to receive feedback from those around you.

Having difficulty making changes to  increasing your influence?  Contact me for a consult.

Solo and Small Biz Change Agent, Marie-Helene Sakowski at info@effectiveplacement.com