What’s the Difference Between a Life Coach, A Personal Coach and an Executive Coach?

Life coaching

“I absolutely believe that people, unless coached, never reach their maximum capabilities.”

~Bob Nardelli, former CEO, Home Depot.~

Elizabeth asks: How can I tell if I need a life coach, a personal coach, or an executive coach?  Is there a difference?

Joel answers:   The kind of coach you need depends on the area in your life you want to focus on.  As I explain the differences between life, personal and executive coaches, you’ll see what I mean.

  • Executive coaching focuses on helping the person achieve more at work.  It may deal with peer relationships or communication. It might help the worker advance in his or her career or understand how to add value to the company.

Executive coaching helps turn managers into leaders, increases job satisfaction and reduces job stress.  This coaching focuses on the relationship between the client and his or her work situation.

For example, Nathan felt like he was ready to take on more responsibility at work, but felt “stuck.”  He had always avoided what he called “office politics” and just did his job. He didn’t know how to position himself to get promoted.

When Nathan hired an executive coach, the coach helped Nathan to verbalize his goals. Together they set up a strategy so Nathan could broaden his visibility and increase his influence.

He looked for places he could add value to the company and was soon in line for a promotion.

Executive coaching is about personal discovery, goal setting, planning, and achieving. This benefits both the individual and the organization.

  • Life coaching views the person as a whole.  It includes work and may cover stress and overworking, but it also covers family and personal goals.

The goals set for a person working with a life coach may be internal- feeling better, better relationships or dealing with bad habits.

Karen was shouldering all the responsibility of caring for her elderly parents.  While there were other siblings close by, they chose to let Karen handle it all since she worked from home and could be “flexible.”

Karen chose a life coach to help her balance her work and family responsibilities and also deal with the emotional burden of resentment toward her siblings.

The life coach helped Karen see options and choices. Through her support, Karen was able to call a meeting with the siblings, establish responsibilities, and share her burden.

  • Personal coaching is much the same as life coaching.  While the goals of an executive coach are specific, measurable, and focused on improvement and success in the work environment, personal coaching is based on empathy.

It is more reflective, allowing for introspection and for the person to grow in self-understanding.  Personal coaches can be used as a sounding board and a cheering section.

However, some personal coaches also work with clients on their business, financial, or spiritual concerns.

As you examine your primary goal you’ll be able to determine the kind of coach you need.  If you are looking for measurable action to conquer work challenges, choose an executive coach.  If you have personal, family, or life concerns with internal or less measurable goals, you may find a personal or life coach will support your needs better.

To learn more about executive coaching and see if this is a good fit for your concern, email Joel and he’ll be happy to talk to you about it.

Talkback: How have different coaches helped you resolve your concerns?  Which kind of coaching has been most effective for you?

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Have to Let Someone Go? Follow These Tips to Make it as Painless as Possible


“Sometimes we stare so long at a door that is closing that we see too late the one that is open.”

~ Alexander Graham Bell ~

Letting an employee go is not a task to be taken lightly. If done in the wrong way, there can be unpleasant and long-lasting complications. This can include everything from expressions of unhappiness and stress from remaining employees to dealing with a negative reputation for the company, and even legal ramifications.

Don’t Be the Villain

In today’s world, disgruntled employees and former employees can easily spread the word about a company and what an employee considers to be unfair practices. This can result in a company that once appeared stellar suddenly looking like a villain in the eyes of hundreds or even thousands of online readers.

In many instances, the only way to repair this type of damage is with the help of online reputation management professionals like those at Reputation.com. Obviously, rather than dealing with such a frustrating situation at all, it is much wiser to let employees go in a way that will be as painless as possible for everyone concerned.

Who Needs to Know?

Letting an employee go is a very delicate subject. After all, the employee has a lot riding on that decision.

From the time the decision to let an employee go to the time the employee is actually told about the decision, privacy is top priority.

When it is decided that an employee should be let go, the decision should be kept quiet. To eliminate concerns about gossip or discussions about the decision, only the employee’s direct supervisors should be told about the decision in advance.

Clearly, the employee should be told about the decision in a private setting. Ideally it should be done in the manager’s office, and the door should be shut. The next best option is in a neutral setting that offers privacy, such as a break room or conference room.

Timing Matters

Until recently, it was accepted practice that separations be handled at the end of the day on Friday. However, that has recently changed. Nowadays it is becoming increasingly common to deliver such news earlier in the day, or even earlier in the week.

Rationales for this include the fact that if the employee finds out about the separation earlier in the week, he/she can immediately begin a job search. Plus, a separation at the end of the day on Friday could leave the employee with no choice but to sit around all weekend worrying about his/her situation.

This can result in increased stress and anxiety. In some cases, anger can build or the individual can become extremely distraught.

Professionalism with a Personal Touch

Being let go from a company hurts. Employees in this position deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. A manager should take the time to explain the reason for the decision. If employees feel they are treated unfairly – as in, they are let go without cause – the company’s reputation may be at risk.

It is common for the employee to have questions. The manager should answer those to the best of his/her ability. These questions may relate to things like severance pay, any 401K plans, insurance, COBRA, retirement, or other benefits/compensation offered by the company.

Offering parting resources such as information about unemployment, job training, employment counseling, and local small business development organizations can be especially helpful at this stressful time.

Exit Interviews

Being let go is upsetting. It’s emotionally disturbing, to say the least. Many people appreciate having a chance to vent after such a traumatic event. Exit interviews provide that opportunity. In some cases, the tools provided during these interviews can help people find closure after a job separation.

Debbie Allen, founder of TheThingsWomenWant.com, is a professional writer and blogger who specializes in topics of interest to women and online marketing strategies.

Talkback: What are your experiences with letting employees go? Do you typically handle separations early in the week, or do you wait until Friday? Have you ever thought about creating a termination resource packet to be used when handling separations?

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How Your Bad Reputation Could Destroy Your Budding Career

How Your Shoddy Reputation Could Destroy Your Budding Career

“The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.”

Socrates ~

Do you ever feel like your boss simply doesn’t appreciate you? Are you stuck in the same job, unable to advance, with your salary frozen at the same miserable rate? You could be a victim of your own bad habits—habits that may have earned you a bad reputation.

And it doesn’t take a dramatic faux pas—like swinging from the chandelier and calling your boss an idiot during a staff party—to slaughter your reputation. Sometimes, it is the little things that earn us a bad rap.

Here are a few of the little things you might be doing that could be ruining your career.

1. Exuding sloppiness. Does your workspace look like the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust? A disorganized, cluttered desk creates the impression that you have sloppy work habits and can’t keep on top of things.

Do your clothes look like you’ve slept in them? An unkempt appearance sends the message that you are either too lazy to pick up an iron or you simply don’t care.

Maintaining a tidy and organized work area and a professional appearance will do wonders to clean up your damaged or bad reputation.

2. Doing the bare minimum. Every office has its clock-watchers—the ones who can never be found before starting time and leave at five o’clock sharp. No matter how busy the office is, their breaks are a top priority. They are unavailable to work overtime or take extra shifts. And they avoid tasks that are not part of their job description.

Technically, these individuals aren’t doing anything wrong. They are working during their assigned working hours—but they are unwilling to go the proverbial extra mile. And amongst their bosses and co-workers they are creating a lasting, negative impression—one that will greatly hamper their career.

Do you find yourself staring at the clock, getting ready to leave five minutes before quitting time, and dropping everything to take your coffee break? These seemingly benign actions may be earning you a bad reputation.

3. Moaning. Perpetually complaining, badmouthing co-workers, or having a negative attitude can kill staff morale and poison an office’s atmosphere. These employees are likely to require removal—and this equates to either a dead-end position or the end of the unemployment line.

Employers appreciate staff members who are enthusiastic about making a positive contribution to the company—and they reward them accordingly. Ensure that your interactions have a positive impact on those around you.

4. Having a bad online reputation. Have you repeatedly been turned down for promotions or new employment and don’t understand why? Perhaps you need to examine your internet reputation.

You can bet that prospective employers and clientele will check you out online. That is why it is imperative that you ensure that your photos and comments on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, and other social media are appropriate. Make sure you delete anything that you wouldn’t want your future boss to see—because it can never be “unseen.” And the damage to your reputation cannot be undone.

5. Clinging to “old school.” Yes, maybe you have done it that way for the past twenty years. And, yes, your boss has heard the old adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to change with the times. Being inflexible and unwilling to adapt will quickly earn you a bad reputation and make employers wonder why they keep you around.

If new technologies intimidate you, ask for help, take a course, or buy yourself a Dummies Guide. Never simply refuse to learn.

It doesn’t take a grandiose display of stupidity to annihilate your professional reputation—sometimes it’s just the accumulation of little things. By simply ceasing to engage in these easy-to-fix behaviors, you can greatly enhance how others perceive you—and greatly improve your career path.

Talkback: What are the little things you might be doing that could be impacting your career success negatively? What are you doing to fix this?

Kimberley Laws is a freelance writer, novelist, and avid blogger who loves to use words to entertain and educate.

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How to Be a Leader at Work by Making Bad Behavior Good

Bad or Good

“The real leader has no need to lead—he is content to point the way.”

~ Henry Miller ~

When the law for paying for plastic bags came out, many people were opposed to it. Eventually the movement to reduce your carbon footprint caught on and overly critical people stopped complaining when they realized that it wasn’t too hard to carry your own bag–what were once negative behaviors transformed into positive actions.

Can the same conditioning be applied to the workplace? Is it really possible to be a leader at work and change workplace bad behavior into good behavior?

Some people might think, “Sue, she’s never going to stop complaining,” or “Max, well he’s a tough one, why even bother?” or “Who cares? Eventually, that’s going to get them fired.”

However, if you want to be a good work leader, you need to be able to tackle bad workplace behaviors and bring about positive change.

Here are two stories that show you how smart managers helped curb common workplace bad behavior issues quickly and effectively:

  1. Dealing with inappropriate jokes and comments. Bob was the perfect example of the jokester who seemed to have all the latest “off” jokes up his sleeve. Female employees seemed to avoid him like the plague. Bob’s manager, Raj, liked Bob; he was a good worker but his comments and jokes (which seemed to be funny at first) were getting a little out of hand. Raj called Bob into his office to have a chat and provide feedback. When Raj confronted him, Bob looked like he’d been hit by a truck. He didn’t realize his jokes were way out of line; he just thought he was being funny.It’s important to realize that some bad behaviors may not be intentional at all, and that in Bob’s case, his jokes were a way of attracting attention and getting noticed. When Bob realized that it did get him noticed, but not in the way he wanted, he stopped. Today, Bob still continues to use his witty sense of humor at work, but knows not to overstep his boundaries with coworkers.
  2. Curbing gossip before it gets out of hand. Everybody knew Patricia as the “gossip monger” of the office. Some avoided her; others flocked around her, curious to know about the latest office romance or some other hot gossip story. Amy overheard Patricia spreading a rumor about her that wasn’t anywhere close to being true. Their manager, Jackie, sported an open-door policy. Amy came in to discuss the issue with Jackie.Jackie called Patricia in to discuss how her behavior was causing others to have a negative impression of her. It didn’t matter how well she performed on the job, her off-putting behavior was curbing her advancement and stalling her from getting ahead at work. When Jackie mentioned that gossiping in the workplace could stop her from getting promoted–or worse, get her fired—Patricia got the message.Jackie encouraged Patricia to use her communication skills to work at building positive relationships at work that would help her rebuild her reputation.

Smart managers are true leaders at work; they know that gossip can bring down a team or an entire department. If employees see that managers are approachable and take inappropriate behavior seriously, they’ll feel a lot more confident about speaking up.

If you want to learn more about bad workplace behavior, here’s an article on 5 bad office behaviors you must avoid at all costs. However, you should realize that not being “bad” might help you keep your job, but it won’t help you get ahead. For that, you need to work on developing your leadership skills to gain influence at work.

Whether you’re a manager or an employee, my latest book, Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level, is packed with hands-on tools to help you advance and be a leader in the workplace.   

Talkback: Do you have a story about inappropriate workplace issues to share with us? How have you demonstrated superior leadership qualities by curtailing an employee’s bad behavior? Share your stories below!

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How to Deal With People Who Take Credit for Your Work

Guy Stealing Laptop

“The more credit you give away, the more will come back to you. The more you help others, the more they will want to help you.”

~ Brian Tracy ~

Although Alberto was young, his fast learning skills and sharp thinking abilities helped him advance to the role of team leader quickly. However, when it came to proposing new ideas to upper management, Alberto was reluctant. He wasn’t sure if his ideas were “good enough.”

He turned to one of the senior colleagues on his team to get feedback on some of the things he was working on and was quite taken aback when the co-worker he’d confided in pitched some of his ideas at the next company meeting without giving Alberto any credit for his work. Alberto’s ideas were not only well received, but one of them actually got the green light to get implemented.

Overcome with frustration, Alberto’s sharp mind got thinking again. Here are three steps he took that you can use to deal with people who take credit for your work:

  1. Play nice. You might feel like “telling” on your colleague and ranting to your boss, but like Alberto, without any documented proof, you’re better off taking the experience as a hard-learned lesson. Continue to be courteous to the co-worker who took credit for your work, but don’t get complacent. Start brewing up fresh ideas and look for new ways to increase your visibility.
  2. Document everything. When sending out emails, copy people directly involved with the project regarding project updates, ideas, deadlines, and more. Be careful not to overdo this; you don’t want to flood inboxes or annoy people. Alberto added his own signature and copied his boss on project updates or timelines he emailed out to the team. He only copied senior managers on ideas he felt were critically important and deserved their attention.
  3. Have a mentor you can trust. Building positive relationships at work is critical. However, if you go a step further and build a strong connection with someone you can trust, preferably up the ranks, it can help you immensely. Alberto befriended a senior executive who served as the lead on one of his projects. Always being respectful of his mentor’s time, Alberto bounced ideas off him and elicited his advice before presenting ideas to his own bosses and team.

Alberto learned a valuable lesson from someone taking credit for his work. He learned that it’s his responsibility to get out there, share his ideas, and gain visibility. There’s no gain without risk. He also learned how important it is to create a credit-sharing culture in the work environment and give recognition and praise where it’s due.

If you find yourself constantly being over-looked at work, perhaps you need to start looking out for ways to gain visibility, enhance your perception, and build influence. Getting Ahead will help you get noticed and take your career to the next level.

Talkback: Did you see your co-worker get a pat on the back for an idea that you came up with? Is your boss taking credit for work you’ve done? Tell us about it below. 

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