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?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Is My Integrity Showing

Is my integrity showing?

Integrity is a word that is used less these days than in previous generations. It is often misunderstood and is easier to preach than it is to live. Integrity is a fundamental pillar of character and as such says more about ones inner strength than it does ones outward persona.

If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don't have integrity, nothing else matters. ~Alan Simpson

Integrity definition: “The state of being whole, unimpaired or sound.”

I would like to believe that I consider myself to place high regard on integrity, yet it is one of those fundamental principles that when one considers it in high regard, one is challenged at the point of belief. Similarly when one believes one is humble, one becomes proud of the fact and all assurance is lost.

You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him. ~James D. Miles

We only truly own that which we hold under pressure and Integrity is fought for on a daily basis. Not on the battlefield as the knights and warriors of old, but in the quiet simplicity of an untruth told or a promise overlooked. Children have a way of making life real and exposing the frailties of our word to them. I long remember promising one of my children I would be home in time to play in the park, but wasn’t. The pain I sensed as a result of looking into the face of disappointment, lives with me even today and serves as a reminder that integrity is not just for “big issues”, but for life.

There is no pillow so soft as a clear conscience. ~French Proverb

I was born in an era where ones name was regarded as the most precious asset one could own. My dad often reminded me of how much my behaviour was linked to my name. I don’t believe this opinion was anything to do with “saving face” but rather, respect for those who had gone before and those who would become synonymous with my deeds. These days of celebrity game shows, big brother houses and all manner of shows that seek to lower the levels of human depravity in the name of being famous, I wonder where the concept of integrity would be placed, if at all.

Character is higher than intellect. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Integrity is by definition about soundness and surety. Buildings that lose their integrity lose inner strength and all that hinges upon its structure is at risk. Inner soundness ensures outer integrity. In today’s society where image is king, and perception is seen as reality, or “what you see is what you get”, we are drawn into the philosophy that image is everything. Should we allow this subtlety to define our inner character, we forfeit true value in exchange for an ever changing perception on reality.

You do not wake up one morning a bad person. It happens by a thousand tiny surrenders of self-respect to self-interest. ~Robert Brault,

Integrity is all about taking personal responsibility and ownership for things that others wouldn’t. The cost of integrity is high, but we only understand its true cost when it is up for sale. I’m not sure Integrity can be taught, (like gardening or surfing) as it has more to do with how we respond to the challenges of inner strength or weakness. It can certainly be caught by being around those who live by it, but we only truly own it when we have to exercise it under duress.

You can out-distance that which is running after you, but not what is running inside you. ~Rwandan Proverb

Here are a few ways your integrity will show.

1. A person of integrity cares. They care about the things around them and in particularly have a sense of ownership in the workplace. They care about the customer, the product and the job. They don’t seek out greater remuneration, recognition or title prior to caring, they just care! When company catch phrase is “I don’t care”, the person of integrity does.

2. A person’s integrity shows whenever they honour truthfulness and seek to speak truth regardless of the temptation to do otherwise. Truth is sweet to a person of integrity, and confidence is found in those that rely upon their word.

3. People of integrity never appear superior to others. Their integrity is real and keeps them grounded in the grace that is found in the knowledge that to err is human. Integrity accepts personal responsibility but looks for ways to improve.

My grandfather once told me that there are two kinds of people: those who work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was less competition there. ~Indira Gandhi

Ps, take a closer look at the picture. The integrity of the building is a safegueard to the keeper in the storm.