Monday, July 30, 2012

Olympians Are The Ideal E-Coaching Clients

Photo by Dave Catchpole
I love the Olympics! I’ve been watching the tv broadcasts for two days now. I find watching the Olympics inspiring. I am moved when I hear about and watch people with such determination and incredible motivation to overcome adversity, injuries, and pain, pressing on to reach towards their goals.

As I think about the Olympians, I can’t help but think of the coaches that train, encourage, and motivate them on towards their goal. When it comes to e-coaching I find the coach’s role is quite similar - to encourage and provide the tools/techniques needed for clients to succeed in reaching their goals.

E-coaching is an effective way to coach many people. With current technology coaches can connect with people in real time via video calling, text messaging, email, social media, and more. It works well for executive coaching, career coaching, and life coaching. Last year I was even e-coached by a personal trainer who set up an entire workout and meal plan for me. But, unlike the Olympians I like to watch on TV, I was unmotivated with no clear goals in mind, and my success fell short of inspiring.

When considering who would make ideal e-coaching clients, think about the Olympians. Clients with high motivation and clear goals are more likely to hear what their coach is saying, and incorporate the tools/techniques needed to reach their goals. And, like the Olympics, when the athlete succeeds, the coach does as well.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Top 3 Benefits Of Diversity

Currently I am the Manager of the Abbotsford Works Employment Service Centre.  Our program has over four locations offering employment focused programming to the community of Abbotsford, British Columbia. Throughout my management career I’ve met many different people from many different backgrounds. From my experience I’ve noticed three top benefits of having a diverse workplace: perspective, performance, and community.

Perspective: Working with individuals from a diverse cross-section of society can lend your company a unique perspective on community and values. Perspective will give your company an advantage in a number of areas: creativity, experience working with other populations, insight and access into communities that would traditionally be closed.

Companies with a diverse workforce attract many talented individuals who enjoy working for diverse organizations. They find them more inviting and may have more opportunity to showcase talents / skills.

A diverse workplace offers an employer value in way of cultural education. Staff share cultural experiences and sometimes leads to office events that build team relationships (e.g., potlucks, celebrations days that provide coworkers with cultural learning.)

Performance: Work values of diverse workplace cultures can enhance the performance of a company. Work ethic demonstrated by a diverse staff can set a positive standard that drives success. When we talk about diversity we include people from different nationalities, many Canadians from immigrant descent have instilled in them an excellent work ethic. They value their jobs and will do their utmost best to make their company successful. They view hard work as a means to achieving better wages and which in turn will help them provide a better future for their family. Overall approach and pride in their jobs make immigrant workers very attractive to organizations.

Community: A diverse workplace can have many beneficial effects on its surrounding community. Diverse companies are more aware of the needs of their community. They tend to give more monetarily and engage in cultural events in their communities. Communities that feel they have a connection with local businesses will be more incline to support those companies.

Today it is very important for companies to think globally when assembling a workforce. The potential for doing business with partners from overseas or in various populations is growing and is becoming the norm. People like to do business with companies that employ people that look like them, are from a part in the world that is familiar, or share similar values and philosophies.

My prediction is that companies that encourage diversity will be the sector leaders of the future.

Garrison Duke has worked in Employment Services for over 10 years; he has assisted hundreds of participants to gain long- term employment. In his many years of management Garrison has mentored countless staff, helping individuals to maximize their potential and reach peak performance. You can connect with Garrison on LinkedIn, Facebook, or on his website at

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Consider Your Career Engagement When Feeling Stressed

In our recent survey on stress management, nearly 61% of respondents reported they were at least somewhat stressed; however, 81% reported they managed their stress either effectively or somewhat effectively. Respondents shared several tips that we compiled into our latest tip sheet – 10 Strategies for Managing Your Stress.   

Any research into stress management is likely to surface similar strategies in addition to ones we didn’t mention in our tip sheet. There is an abundance of literature on reducing and/or minimizing the chance of stressful events as well as coping with and/or surviving through stressful times that are likely to surface, despite our best efforts. If our survey results are any indication, we can all likely do a better job of reducing some of the stress in our lives.

Work, or rather dissatisfaction with work, can be a key stressor for many people. There are many reasons why work can increase the level of stress we experience: from a poor career “fit” (i.e., a job that doesn’t make effective use of our skills and talents / doesn't fit with our personality and/or values) or uncertainty around whether work will exist in the future, to a toxic workplace or difficulty integrating work and family/life responsibilities.

If work is causing you stress, perhaps reflect on your level of Career Engagement. In this model, developed by Life Strategies’ own Roberta Neault and Deirdre Pickerell, lack of engagement with your career can be the result of too much challenge for the level of capacity, which puts you in the overwhelmed category. In opposition, too little challenge puts you in the underutilized category. Although it may seem like underutilized may be a relaxing place to be, both areas can cause stress as work becomes a daily grind – something to suffer through rather than get excited about.

As you reflect on whether you’re more likely to feel overwhelmed or underutilized, ask yourself if this is a temporary situation and, therefore, something you can tolerate for now, or if this is permanent which may result in a need for you to rethink your career – either in terms of the specific role or position or the organization you’re working for. Remember – managing your career, and therefore your career engagement, is like managing your health, finances, or vehicle. It needs time and attention, the occasional check-up and tune-up.