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March 2020

coach or mentor

Do you need a coach or do you need a mentor?

By | Coaching | No Comments

Successful leaders and individuals rarely, if ever, achieve success by themselves. They don’t just surround themselves with great teams, but also have coaches or mentors working with them, especially through uncertain times.

With Covid-19 creating not just an uncertainty but a situation none of us in business have ever dealt with before, who is more appropriate to help navigate the next 6 months, a mentor or a coach?  The benefit of each is rarely disputed but there is a lot of confusion between the two and the difference is often misunderstood.

Mentor Vs Coach

A mentor is someone who has done what you want to do and has experience travelling the road you are travelling. And because they have been there before you this can be beneficial if you want someone to advise and tell you what to do in a specific area.

A coach, on the other hand, will ask questions to get you thinking, act as a sounding board and guide you to be the best you can be and find the best solutions. A coach is a partner who helps you see clearly, make better decisions, clarify any mist or confusion and become self-aware and accountable. It is far more powerful because when you find the answer to a problem, clarify your goals and how to there, figure out how to be the best you can be, you start to take greater ownership and grow

So, do you need a coach, or do you need a mentor?

Both are valid options and it really comes down to what is it that you want to achieve. If you just want someone to tell you what to do next within a specific area, then a mentor may be the go.

If you’re looking for someone to help you achieve the things in work and life and you want to achieve, help you achieve your goals, and be the best you can be having a coach is the go.

A preference for mentoring or coaching

I’ve had both in my life and I’ve always found a coach far more effective because when I figure out what to do, I become accountable to myself and get stuff done. Which is also why I choose to work as a coach more than a mentor

With Covid-19 no-one really knows what to expect or has been through it before you and so in times of uncertainty like these, perhaps a coach is the better path to help you find clarity, bounce ideas around and work with you.

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Stong Leaders

Strong leaders don’t run, they walk fast in times of crisis

By | Leadership | No Comments

Back in the 90s when I had an entertainment business I received a powerful lesson in how to be a strong leader. I was taught never run but walk quickly when there was a problem or crisis. It was during a large event of about 1000 people when one of the performers was standing behind a lit screen and everyone could see their shadow. Hardly a crisis I admit but one that gave me a valuable lesson in leadership. Seeing the shadow, I started running towards the stage to tell the performer move, when my producer at the time quietly said to me, ‘don’t run, walk quickly’. Running (or panicking) does three things.

  1. As you run you are in danger of tripping and causing more havoc.
  2. People will notice you running and assume something is up and panic results.
  3. Your decision-making process goes south as your knee-jerk reaction cuts in.

Good advice. Especially now.

As the impact of Coronavirus takes hold ask yourself if you or your leaders running or walking quickly? Not literally of course but metaphorically.

Strong Leaders are adaptive while staying the course

An attribute of strong leaders is adaptability. I like the way Jay A Conger (2004) puts it when he talks about ‘Chameleon Leadership’. The next 6 to 12 months will test the ability of businesses and their leaders to adapt to change and deal with the impact of the Corona crisis, while still maintaining course. That requires taking decisive action in a calm and non-emotional way. It requires good communication, so everyone knows what expect (well… as best as possible) and what steps have been put in place.

Strong leaders are consistent communicators

Your team needs to feel safe and certain that you as a leader are not panicking yet, at the same time, not deflecting a crisis. They need to know what the plan of action is, and they need to know that things could change at any moment. They also need to feel they have a say, that they are contributing, and they need to know that the little things they do, which to them may seem unimportant, will make a big difference. A strong leader addresses these.

If a leader runs, they will not just panic their staff and their clients, but they risk making bad decisions.  As my manager, Simone Ashton’s partner put it (who is ex-defence force) ‘officers don’t run, it panics the troops’.

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