Friday, November 26, 2010

If life throws you a lemon, hurl a melon back!

If life hands you a lemon, hurl a melon back!

“You can motivate by fear, and you can motivate by reward. But both those methods are only temporary. The only lasting thing is self motivation”. Homer Rice

Coaching has become a term that is used by almost anyone to distinguish between one whom has insight and another who requires it. It somehow adds credibility to the process, however coaching is a specific ability to empower not counsel or teach, for to assume someone needs teaching is to create a divide between pupil and teacher. My experience as counselor, teacher/ lecturer and coach, has allowed me to become aware of specific skills and abilities essential to each of the a-fore mentioned roles.

“A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment”. John Wooden

Some people tend to use the terms coaching, mentoring, and training interchangeably. However, there are differences. Mentoring is often thought of as the transfer of wisdom from a wise and trusted teacher. He or she helps to guide a person’s career, normally in the upper reaches of the organization. However, this perception is starting to change as organizations are now implementing mentoring at all levels of the company's structure.

“Example is not the main thing in influencing others, it is the only thing.” – Albert Schweitzer

Mentor - comes from the age of Homer, in whose Odyssey; Mentor is the trusted friend of Odysseus left in charge of the household during Odysseus's absence. Athena, disguised as Mentor, guides Odysseus's son Telemachus in his search for his father. Fénelon in his romance Télémaque (1699) emphasized Mentor as a character, and so it was that in French (1749) and English (1750) mentor, going back through Latin to a Greek name, became a common noun meaning "wise counselor." Mentor is an appropriate name for such a person because it probably meant "adviser" in Greek.

”Coaching is a profession of love. You can't coach people unless you love them”. Eddie Robinson
Training is about teaching or instructing a particular skill or knowledge and is normally given in a formal environment. Coaching, on the other hand, is about increasing an individual's knowledge and thought processes with a particular task or process. It creates a supportive environment that develops critical thinking skills, ideas, and behaviors about a subject. Although it is closely tied to training, it is more personal and intimate in nature.

“You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself.” – Galileo Galilei

The main difference between a coaching and training is that the former is normally done in real time. That is, it is performed on the job. The coach uses real tasks and problems to help the learner increase his or her performance. While with training, learning is performed within the classroom and often from a teacher –learner perspective. Changing ones job title and job description will not change the inner language that imparts outward change. Coaching is primarily about an inner passion to influence others by revealing how great one can become. Without first imparting an inner hunger to change, any external change will be provisional or temporal at best.

“A good coach will make his players see what they can become rather than what they are.” – Ara Parseghian

Mentoring is more career developing in nature, while training and coaching are more task or process orientated. Also, mentoring relies on the mentor's specific knowledge and wisdom, while coaching and training relies on facilitation and developmental skills. Although there are these differences, you could say that the three are synergistic and complementary, rather than mutually exclusive as most people would agree that a good coach trains and mentors, a good trainer coaches and mentors, and a good mentor trains and coaches.

“Make something of yourself. Try your best to get to the top, if that’s where you want to go, but know that the more people you try to take with you, the faster you’ll get there and the longer you’ll stay there.” – James A. Autry

Coaching has been defined as:

1) The processes of encouraging the individual to improve both job skills and knowledge (Hahne & Schultze, 1996),

2) To assist in problem solving or mastering new skills (Bittel & Newstrom, 1996),

3) and the process of providing others with valuable information so that the organization learns (Schon, 1983).

Life is not defined by the cards your dealt, but by how you use them. We can fold, bluff or use them. I have had a few bum cards dealt me over the years, but I am still in the game of my life!

Over the years I have learned one critical factor that is paramount to address prior to embarking on any training process and it is this. "One will never change the individual or organisation without first changing the culture by which it does business." If the culture is mediocre, its outcome will never be excellent. If an individual is content with life as it is, ones spirit will never strive for anything great.

"Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning".- Benjamin Franklin

Anyone for a melon?