The Difference Between Mentors & Life Coaches

Image credit to Stuart Miles at freedigitalphotos.net
Image credit to Stuart Miles at freedigitalphotos.net

This week, I read a statement from someone saying that a life coach is a mentor. This bothered me since I believe this is false.

When I hear the word “mentor”, I think of the relationship between someone older/more experienced teaching someone who is younger/less experienced in their career or their life in general. This is a relationship that is based out of trust and mutual agreement: no money is exchanged between the two parties and there is no “end date” for the relationship. I have had several mentors throughout my 20s, and these mentors came into my life through mutual settings, job situation, etc. They have been helpful with giving me direction in my career and also in my life and I am grateful for their selflessness to guide me along my own path.

Meanwhile, when I hear “life coach”, the relationship is different: I have come across quite a few life coaches who seem to only do their work because it’s how they make their living, NOT to genuinely help someone out (of course, there are exceptions to this). Also, money is involved in the relationship, where usually you will have x amount of sessions with the life coach until you have to pay up again or end your contract together. Although this relationship can (and should!) be based out of trust and mutual agreement as well, I don’t believe that life coaches can really equate to being “mentors”. Life coaches have different agendas than mentors do.

While both relationships are to be beneficial for the mentee/client, when money comes into the picture, the relationship changes from being purely altruistic to more of a transaction.

I would like to hear your thoughts on this: do you agree or disagree?

What Makes a Great Leader

Photo Credit to stockimages via freedigitalphotos.net
Photo Credit to stockimages via freedigitalphotos.net

Throughout my work experience, I have had my fair share of less-than-stellar bosses, managers, you name it. Out of all the leaders I have worked with, there were only a couple who stuck out as exceptional leaders. These are the qualities I found that they had in common:

  1. Open, honest communication
  2. Fairness
  3. Streamlined workflow system

One boss I had was rarely physically present with us employees, but he had the whole system set up to where we knew what to do on a daily basis (this was a foodservice job): we knew how to get things set up, how to handle incoming orders and busy periods of time, and how to break down for the day. We were required to confirm inventory both at the beginning and the end of each shift, and our boss had set up many checks and balances along the way to make sure the inventory count was one-hundred percent accurate. Despite not being physically there with us, our boss taught us to be mindful of every detail so that his business could be run efficiently and effectively.

Another great manager I had at another job was very kind and honest. Although at times these qualities of his seemed detrimental to being a great leader, I beg to differ: he was open to hearing me out on any ideas or concerns I had about the business and allowed for me to do more than what my job title dictated by giving me the task to update marketing materials for the business. He made sure that our whole staff was on the same page by scheduling regular meetings with us all and letting us all voice our opinions without fear of criticism.

I hope to one day be able to emulate these two great leaders from my past work experience.

Plummeting Temperatures

2014-01-07 07.06.26-1The weather has changed drastically this week in Denver (if you haven’t already noticed). On Monday, the day started off around the 50s-60s range; by the end of the day, we had plummeted to about 10 degrees. Today, the temperatures have hovered around 0 degrees with snow on the ground and icy conditions at night.

I am probably one of the few who actually enjoy this cooler weather: I get a mix of emotions when it comes to the seasons and the weather. In the wintertime, I get a little sad from S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder), but then I also get really happy from the snow and the cooler temperatures. I was born in January, so I am naturally a winter person.

Today I had to go downtown for my Leads Group 7 meeting and I was so excited bundling up to go outside. I think the idea of bundling up to stay warm just generally excites me: getting to choose which sweater to wear, which jacket, which hat, how to wear everything, et. al. Maybe it’s just the fact that I get to play with my clothing choices a bit more that allows for me to enjoy wintertime.

Snow before Christmas is always a bit whimsical anyway: it evokes those images of hot cocoa, a warm fireplace, and carolers around town. One thing I am thankful for though: I am not driving in this weather (I don’t have a car of my own). Driving in snow is one of my bigger fears; kudos to those who are competent with winter driving!

The temperatures are supposed to stay cold through this weekend, and then it’s back up to a balmy 40 degrees for “normal” late autumn/early winter temperatures. I’ll take it; I’ve been ready for this weather the past several months.

Lately.

Been playing around with photography a bit as well.
Been playing around with photography a bit as well.

I’ve been taking things a bit easily lately. NaNoWriMo has been going along fine, although I have hit a wall with my writing and finding the story deteriorating badly. Well, maybe I will get to 50,000 words, or maybe I will just scrap this and go back to revising Novel 1.

Been catching up on some online workshops I had fallen behind on due to my focus on the GMAT the past couple of months; also have been working on reorganizing this blog. Over the years, I’d used the blog categories as tags, more or less, so I have been working on streamlining the categories so they’re more relevant. I just had a chuckle reading through my Hot Dog Days archives: ah, those days of 2008 working at that hot dog stand.

Still unsure what to do next with plans for the next couple of years: school? Huh? My entrepreneurial spirit has been biting at me to get going with finally setting up Hashtag Hustler and get things rolling.

Looking forward to the holidays for some great food and wonderful family time. I miss my family.

Life’s Many Paths

One thing's for sure: the sun rises every day.
One thing’s for sure: the sun rises every day.

Well, I took the GMAT yesterday for the fourth time, and again, my score was less than stellar. I find that the more I study, the lower my score becomes. Granted, my first three attempts were 4-5 years ago, but still–you’d think that with all the time I put in this past month for studying that I would eke out better this time around. No, not so!

I cried after I left the testing center, feeling angry and lost: is this going to stand in my way forever? Am I even meant to go back and complete my MBA degree? What am I to do? I have been staying quiet on social media and talking with friends and family about my emotions. Do I take the GMAT again or should I think hard on what to do next if not graduate business school?

I feel like God has been trying to tell me something with each unsuccessful attempt at the GMAT: I mean, what AM I on this Earth for? What is my purpose in life, especially since I am a survivor of a near-fatal car accident? After that accident, I thought the reason I survived was to go on and get my degree after all; but since 2012, I am not so sure of that trajectory anymore.

Since it’s been less than 24 hours since the end of my test, I don’t have the answer to my questions above just yet. Been taking things easy and chatting with friends about what to do next; asking myself, well, WHY do I want that MBA degree so badly? Do I want it for the right reasons? What am I searching for with this quest? Is it what I really should be focusing on?

Well, let time unwind the story from this point forward; for the time being, I will continue to do my freelance work and also focus on writing my ninth novel for NaNoWriMo. That sounds like the best plan in the meantime.