The Similarities and Differences Between Coaching and Mentoring

The Similarities and Differences Between Coaching and Mentoring

Coaching and mentoring are a little different, however many people use these words interchangeably. Subsequently, today I wanted to discuss –

  • What is Coaching?
  • What Coaching is NOT!
  • Some Definitions on Mentoring,
  • The Differences and Similarities Between Coaching and Mentoring

Let’s get started…


What is Coaching?

The International Coach Federation (ICF) refers to coaching as 

“partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”

Coaching recognises the client as the expert in their own world (personal and professional) and knows every person is creative, resourceful, and whole.

Basically the coaching process is about identifying where you are now, where you would like to be and then close that gap. The coach does this through –

  • discovering, clarifying, and aligning with where the client wants to be,
  • encouraging self-discovery and trust within themselves,
  • eliciting client-generated solutions and strategies,
  • keeping the client accountable and ensuring they are taking responsibility for themselves
  • providing support to the client.

What Coaching is NOT!

Coaching is not –

  • a quick-fix, one size fits all approach for your current challenges (as we are all unique),
  • therapy or counseling (please seek a licensed medical professional if this is what you need),
  • about giving you advice (you are the expert in your own life),
  • financial advising or estate planning (again please seek a licensed practitioner if this is what you require).


Some Definitions on Mentoring…

There are a number of definitions of mentoring, including –

  • “someone who teaches or gives help and advice to a less experienced and often younger person” ~ Merriam-Webster Dictionary
  • “An experienced person in a company or educational institution who trains and counsels new employees or students.” ~ Oxford Dictionary
  • “a person who gives a younger or less experienced person help and advice over a period of time, especially at work or school.” ~ Cambridge Dictionary
  • “(in business) the practice of assigning a junior member of staff to the care of a more experienced person who assists him in his career” ~
  • “Mentoring involves primarily listening with empathy, sharing experience (usually mutually), professional friendship, developing insight through reflection, being a sounding board, encouraging” ~ David Clutterbuck


The Similarities and Differences Between Coaching and Mentoring

There are quite a few differences between coaching and mentoring. As this is a question many clients ask, I decided to investigate further for them. The following table identifies the differences and similarities between coaching and mentoring –


How would you summarise the difference? Maybe it can be summarised as follows:

“A coach has some great questions for your answers; a mentor has some great answers for your questions.”


Over to You…

I hope this post has given you some insight in to the differences between coaching and mentoring. What do you think? Are there any other differences or similarities you would add? If so, feel free to add them below 🙂 Also – if you have any questions or comments, please leave them below as well.


References –

Palmer, S., & Whybrow, A. (2009). Handbook of Coaching Psychology – A Guide for Practitioners. New York, USA: Routledge.

Passmore, J. (2006). Excellence in Coaching – The Industry Guide. London, United Kingdom: Kogan Page.


The Sixth Stage of Grief – Finding Meaning

The Sixth Stage of Grief – Finding Meaning

Grief and loss can be challenging for many of us. I don’t think I really knew too much about it growing up. However, later on in my life (maybe from about 30ish), I became acutely aware how much loss I had experienced (without actually realising it).

A few years back now, I wrote an article called – Coping with Grief and Loss – Insights in to the Grieving Process. If you are interested, please click here to read it. Today, I wanted to elaborate on that post and share about the Sixth Stage of Grief as it resonated with me when I heard it. However, before we start, let me share with you –

  • What is Loss?
  • What is Grief?
  • What Types of Loss Can Cause Grief?
  • The Original Five Stages of Grief,
  • The Six Stage of Grief – Finding Meaning, and
  • Some Insights in to Finding Meaning.

Let’s get started…


What is Loss?

Loss is being parted from someone or something that is really important to you. Loss can come into our lives in lots of ways, and it affects each of us differently.


What is Grief?

There are a number of definitions about grief, including –

  • “…intense sorrow, especially caused by someone’s death.” ~ Google and Oxford Dictionaries
  • “keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss; sharp sorrow; painful regret.” ~
  • “deep sadness caused especially by someone’s death” ~ Merriam-Webster
  • “The normal process of reacting to a loss. The loss may be physical (such as a death), social (such as divorce), or occupational (such as a job).” ~


What Types of Loss Can Cause Grief?

Honestly – any type of loss can cause grief as grief is a reaction to a loss. Some examples of loss that can cause grief include –

  • Losing or leaving a job,
  • Death of someone you love,
  • Divorce or relationship breakup,
  • Retirement,
  • Selling the family home,
  • A pet passing,
  • Getting injured (especially if an athlete),
  • Loss of health,
  • A significant person in your life getting sick or ill, and
  • Loss of a friendship.


“The pain of the soul and heart is much more powerful that the pain of the body” ~ The Prophet.


The Original Five Stages of Grief

In her book On Death and Dying, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross discussed what the dying have to teach doctors, nurses, clergy, and their own families. The book is a discussion on some of the key emotional reactions to the experiences of the dying.

If you choose to read the book, you will see there are 5 stages that are described. The stages are used so the author can clearly articulate the experiences of the people she was learning from and they overlap. The five stages of grief are –

  1. Denial and isolation,
  2. Anger,
  3. Bargaining,
  4. Depression, and
  5. Acceptance.

You can see a visual of the diagram here.


The Sixth Stage of Grief – Finding Meaning

David Kessler has created the Sixth Stage of Grief. The sixth stage of grief evolved from the work of Kübler-Ross work after Kessler became a protege and friend of Kübler-Ross. They wrote two books together (Kessler 2019). In his book Finding Meaning – The Sixth Stage of GriefKessler clearly articulates the five stages –

  • “Denial: shock and disbelief that the loss has occurred, 
  • Anger: that someone we love is no longer here, 
  • Bargaining: all the what-ifs and regrets, 
  • Depression: sadness from the loss, 
  • Acceptance: acknowledging the reality of the loss.” (p. 1)

After Kessler experienced a significant loss of his own, he came to realise there was a six stage – meaning. Meaning –

“allows us to transform grief in to something else, something rich and fulfilling.” (Kessler, 2019).

Finding meaning takes time and depends on the loss and the situation / person. However, over time, finding meaning can help to start to find a path forward. Meaning can take on many forms, including gratitude for the time you had with loved ones to acknowledging the fragility and value of life. Kessler (2019) says that people –

“who are able to find meaning tend to have a much easier time grieving than those who don’t. (And) they’re less likely to remain stuck in one of the five stages.” (p.3). 

Some Insights into Finding Meaning

It is important to remember that grief and loss is complex process. For me personally finding meaning in my own experiences of grief and loss has been useful. However, for some of the losses it took me a long while to discover any meaning, so be compassionate to yourself!). A few insights that might help with finding meaning include –

  • We all respond to changes in our life in different ways – there is no right or wrong way to find meaning. There is also no timeframe to grieving and / or finding meaning.
  • You are the only one who can find the meaning.
  • Being able to acknowledge and accept the significance of a loss is important and helps to find meaning.
  • “Meaning doesn’t require understanding. It is not necessary to understand why someone died in order to find meaning” (Kessler 2019).
  • “Your lost is not a test, a lesson, something to handle, a gift or a blessing. Lost is simply what happens to you in life. Meaning is what you make happen.” (Kessler 2019).


Over to You…

I hope this has given you some insight in to the sixth stage of grief – finding meaning? If you have any questions, please ask them below or contact us. Also feel free to join our toolkit, to help you live with an open heart!


References –

Kessler, D. (2019). Finding Meaning – The Sixth Stage of Grief. New York, USA: Scribner.

Kübler-Ross, E. (1969). On Death and Dying: What the dying have to teach doctors, nurses, clergy, and their own families. New York, USA: Scribner.

Reclaiming My Courage By Acknowledging and Navigating Fear

Reclaiming My Courage By Acknowledging and Navigating Fear

During the past few weeks, more changes and opportunities for transformation continue to present themselves in my life. Yes there are the obvious changes being presented with our current situation with the pandemic, however I also have a number of others.

In the past, these changes would have sent me straight in to fear, worry and panic as I didn’t know there was a gap as you can see by the image. Over many years of practise, I have remembered I have a choice in each moment of each situationI find myself in and I can those choices from a place of fear or a place of love (i.e. my courage).

Freedom to Choose


Why I Created a Fear List…

Many years ago I created a fear list. I created it like a reverse bucket list as I knew fear was one of the emotions that prevented me from living a whole-heartedly connected life. So we are are on the same page, fear is –

  • “…an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm.” – Google and Oxford Dictionaries.
  • “…an emotion induced by a threat perceived by living entities, which causes a change in brain and organ function and ultimately a change in behavior, such as running away, hiding or freezing from traumatic events.” – Wikipedia, and
  • “to be afraid of (something or someone)” or “to expect or worry about (something bad or unpleasant)” – Merriam-Webster Dictionary.


Identifying and Acknowledging My Fear

Wondering how I identify my fears? It is simple really – I have a number of them identified on an excel spreadsheet. However, I also stay alert each day with my feelings and have learnt to be able to identify when I am being triggered around things. For example – not having enough money to pay expenses.

When I discover my fear, I acknowledge it and use some self-compassion and mindfulness techniques I have learnt over the years. For example – the STOP Technique.


The STOP Technique – One Way to Acknowledge and Navigate Fear

One strategy I continue to use to interrupt fearful thoughts so I can choose to respond rather than react, is the STOP technique. This technique, helps me interrupt the ‘automatic pilot’ by bringing you back to the present moment. A brief description of how I use the STOP technique is –

  • S – stop. I stop to interrupt my fearful thought pattern or ‘automatic pilot’ by coming back to the present moment,
  • T – take a breath. I then take a breath and focus my experience of the in-breath and the out-breath (when it feels OK to do so),
  • O – open to observation. I connect to the experience of this moment and inquire with a sense of curiosity –
    • What am I seeing?
    • What am I feeling?
    • What am I sensing?
    • What am I hearing?
    • What am I smelling?
    • What am I thinking?
  • P – proceed. I then proceed and reconnect with my surroundings and the activity I was doing in the moment.

I have also used this process to journal, so I can untangle from the fearful thoughts.


Over to You…

How do you identify and navigate your fear? Feel free to share any comments below.

Ready to reclaim your courage and take the next step towards your freedom and opening your heart, why not join our Toolkit?

Figuring Out Emotions Using An Emotions Diary

Figuring Out Emotions Using An Emotions Diary

One of the skills I am passionate about developing is emotional literacy. There are many reasons why, however one of the main reasons is because I knew I needed to relearn. One of the main ways I have learnt to figure out my own emotions is by using an emotions diary/ journaling guide. However, before I share how I started to figure out my emotions using an emotions diary, let’s discuss emotional literacy and why it is important.


Why Develop Emotional Literacy?

Emotional literacy is the building block of emotional intelligence. Subsequently, when we develop our own emotional literacy we can access and develop important information about ourselves and others and process any emotional baggage (don’t worry we all have it!), take better care of ourselves and look after wellbeing.


What is Emotional Literacy?

Just as learning to read and write begins with literacy of letters and sounds, learning to interpret and manage feelings begins with emotional literacy. The term “emotional literacy” was coined by Claude Steiner in 1979.

The definitions of emotional literacy include –

  • “To be emotionally literate is to be able to handle emotions in a way that improves your personal power and the quality of your life and – equally important, the quality of the life of the people around you. Emotional literacy helps your emotions work for you instead of against you.” ~ Claude Steiner
  • “Emotional literacy is the ability to put feelings in to words so that those feelings can be understood within some sort of psychological context.” ~ Tian Dayton
  • “… lets us sort out all of those feelings, name them and begin to understand their causes and effects. It is the basic building block of emotional intelligence.” ~ Joshua Freedman
  • “Emotional literacy helps us precisely identify and communicate our feelings. Naming them helps us identify our unmet needs; communicating them helps us identify those people who voluntarily assist us in meeting our needs. The key to emotional literacy is using simple, clear and direct three-word I messages like – ‘I feel sad.'” ~ Steve Hein

After reading the above, do you agree that emotional literacy could be a useful skill to develop? If so, read on as I share one way I have been figuring our my emotions using an emotions diary.


Figuring Out Emotions Using An Emotions Diary

To develop my own emotional literacy, I chose to create an emotions diary. I used this diary regularly, not just when I was going through a difficult time. It also helped me to understand and learn to manage my emotions more effectively on a day-to-day or maybe more accurately on a moment-to-moment basis (and yes I still journal with it).

An emotions diary is basically keeping a journal or ‘notes’ on your emotions. You can write about the name of the emotion/s, shifts in them, what was going on at the time or leading up to you noticing the emotion, whether or not you thought the emotion/s was appropriate and were any other people present. Also, I chose the word emotions instead of feelings as it resonated with my intention more. Basically an emotions diary is an empowering way to reconnect with your self and explore what is going on within you.


An Example of An Emotions Diary

There are a number of pre-made journals available, for me I like to keep things simple, so all you really need is some paper and pen/pencil. Following are the key aspects I include in my emotions diary –

1. Date / Time:

I include the date and time so I can look back on how I have changed and evolved over time.

2. Description of Emotion:

Trust me, I know naming an emotion can be challenging as learning to identify and label an emotion are skills in themselves, so when I started I just did my best and when required used these “primary emotions“. I then also like to add – does this emotion feel good or bad? Up or down? How intense is the emotion on a scale of 1-10 (1 = low intensity and 10 = high intensity).

3. Event / Situation:

Was there an event or incident that led up to the emotion? If so, I write them down. I include (if relevant), where I was, who I was with and what was going on.

4. Physical Sensations:

What did I notice going on in my body and where did I notice it?

5. Behaviour / Action:

What behaviour and/or action did I take? Was this behaviour / action a reaction or a response? Was this appropriate? What helped me cope with this emotion?

6. Moving Forward:

Is there something I can learn from this? Is there anything I can do in relation to the event / situation and/or emotion? If so, what? How can I move forward and/or release this experience?


Over to You…

Remember, figuring out our emotions using an emotions diary can take a while, It is not something you master over night, it takes time to see results (and I continue to learn). If you choose to start to use an emotions diary, I recommend taking your time, bringing your self-compassion with you and discover what works best for you as we are all unique.

Ready to reclaim your courage and take the next step towards your freedom and opening your heart, why not join our Toolkit?

What Are My Essential Needs?

What Are My Essential Needs?

So a few days ago, I wrote about what’s in my resilience toolkit after a number of people had asked how I had been coping with the world at present. Today I wanted to delve a little deeper and share what my essential needs are and where this concept came from. Let’s get started…


What are Essential Needs?

I came across Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs when I was studying at university. Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) started his professional career as a behaviourist, however moved on to become a psychoanalyst. In 1943, in a paper titled “A Theory of Human Motivation”, he proposed the psychological theory known as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. He suggested we had two different types of needs –

  • the first four levels are needs relating to survival and focusing on deficiencies (D-needs)
  • the final layer and needs relating to psychological growth and focusing on being ourselves and everything we are capable of becoming (B-needs).

Maslow suggested we focus on the first level of motivation and then once that is met, then we can focus on the next level. The Abraham Maslow – Hierarchy of Needs are as follows:

Abraham Maslow - Hierarchy of Needs

What are My Essential Needs?

When I read about this concept it resonated with me, and subsequently I started making small tweaks in my world. By looking at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, I identified a range of essential needs for myself, including  –

  • Biological and psychological needs – some of these include: drinking water each day, eating nourishing food, having comfy clothes), meditating, getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep and moving my body,
  • Safety needs – including living in a safe environment, honouring and listening to my emotions and having a place to live where I feel safe,
  • Belongingness and love needs – again, some of them include having family and friends who understand and listen to me, contributing to the community,
  • Esteem needs – learning new things and taking responsibility for what I can control, and
  • Self-actualisation needs – continuing to grow and evolve.

The above are a quite a few examples of my essential needs. It took me a while to recognise I had essential needs and to take care of them. Subsequently, it continues to be a work in progress for me (even though I lead a pretty simple life) 🙂


What are Your Essential Needs?

If you would like to, feel free to identify your own essential needs, by using the table above 🙂 As you are identifying your needs (if you choose to), remember to identify a need and not a want! What is the difference? Glad you asked! Personally I see the difference as –

  • a need, when filled nourishes you and helps you survive, and
  • a want, when filled entertains you or “It would be nice if..”.

If you confuse or substitute a want for a need, it can drain or deplete you of money, time and energy.

Over to You…

I hope this has give you some insight in to my essential needs at the moment. Over the years, what I have learnt working with clients and from my own experiences is that your deepest needs cannot be met by spending money, eating extra amounts of food or winning awards.

Meeting your essential needs is also an individual thing, something you need to find out for yourself. Kahlil Gibran puts it this way “Your friend is your needs answered.”


Ready to reclaim your courage and take the next step towards your freedom and opening your heart, why not join our Toolkit?


Reference –

Maslow, A.H. (1943). A theory of human motivation. Psychological Review, 50(4), 370-96. Retrieved from


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