Font size

There are so many benefits to a positive culture in the workplace, including employee retention, improved productivity for the employer and healthy, collaborative workplace environments – virtual or in-person – for the employee.

Culture is a key component of any organization, of any size and at every level. The culture of your workplace impacts how employees experience their work. It consists of the values, behaviours, expectations, and communication style that go along with it.  These become the norms of the organization and ought to be included when interviewing, onboarding and running feedback discussions.

Consider this.

Forbes reports that companies with highly engaged employees can see 21% higher profitability. It all starts with a positive work environment, which can:

  • boost productivity
  • attract higher-calibre employees
  • retain employees for longer than companies that do not prioritize their cultures

Another study showed that the top condition for positive mental health at work is a healthy and sustainable culture. 

Unfortunately, workplace drama impacts engagement, and can lead to a negative culture. According to the book No Ego by business consultant Cy Wakeman, the average worker spends 2.5 hours per day distracted by drama.

What can you do about workplace drama? Here’s some advice on avoiding drama traps at the office. 

Take Personal Responsibility

A positive workplace starts with each individual. That means you can make a difference. 

Some tips to ensure you’re taking responsibility for creating a drama-free environment:

  • Save your venting for outside the workplace. Too many of us get caught complaining about co-workers, which fosters a caustic environment. Focus on the positive, and solving the problem, instead of stirring the pot.
  • Always assume the best from others. Take comments in stride, and openly accept feedback on your work.  
  • Follow the 24-hour rule—whether it comes to responding to an email or face-to-face communication. If something upsets you, take 24 hours before responding. Chances are you’ll look at it differently and respond more cooly than with an immediate comeback.
  • Talk it out when you need to. It’s not healthy to hold in your feelings, so find an appropriate way to work on any negative emotions you may be having.

Develop Accountability Through Coaching And Mentoring

According to the business publication Inc., emotional drama is reduced by building a culture of accountability throughout the organization—which can be achieved with coaching and mentoring programs. A high-performing company uses formal coaching and mentoring programs universally, and not just when a problem needs to be solved. 

Here are the two options.

A mentor provides a relationship with a knowledgeable and experienced person who can guide the personal and professional development of any employee. A coach can help with growth and development, focus on self-awareness, identify strengths and weaknesses, and create meaningful and measurable goals. Either one will have a positive impact on your organization.  

Consider Outside Help

If you think your workplace could use an impartial eye to assess and/or make changes to culture, then an organizational consultant or coach certified to deliver values-based culture assessments may be the answer. We offer guidance on human resources including strategy development, talent management, employee engagement and organizational culture enhancement. We work with your team to enhance individual and collective well-being while optimizing organizational performance.

Another option is a professional external facilitator to moderate conversation  circles or focus groups, who will work with your team by providing a collaborative atmosphere for active listening while staying neutral about organizational politics and relationship dynamics. An external facilitator allows for problem-solving on organizational change with a fresh, objective perspective. Make your workplace comfortable and welcoming with coaching and consulting that can benefit everyone.

Connect with me today to learn how I can bring my expertise to you and your employees.

Effective leadership encompasses certain key traits.

Today’s credible leaders are skilled listeners and communicators, inclusive and respectful of others, and able to foster workplaces that promote psychological safety. These leaders coach their employees, rather than direct them, giving their teams ample space to make their own decisions, displaying courage and responsibility when failing forward.

Another trait many of today’s leaders strive for is resilience.  Flexibility and adaptability are essential skills for today’s workforce and as leaders of people, that requires a definition of resilience that extends into the domain of emotional intelligence – it’s called Emotional Agility.

Here’s what it is and why it’s important.

What is Emotional Agility?

Emotional agility is defined as being flexible with thoughts and feelings; it’s the opposite of emotional rigidity.

Forbes defines emotional agility this way:

“Being flexible with our thoughts and feelings so that we can respond optimally to everyday situations.” 

In some ways, the concept of emotional agility goes against many workplace cultures, which still subscribe to the outdated approach that difficult thoughts and feelings have no place at the office. There’s a belief that leaders should be either stoic or optimistic, and not show – or discuss – anything in between. 

That’s simply not realistic.  Nor is it good business.

The reality is that we all have an inner stream of thoughts and feelings that include criticism, doubt, and fear. It’s natural for our minds to anticipate and solve problems, avoid potential pitfalls, and—yes—have emotions that run from anger, agitation to appreciation all within minutes.

If we practice emotional agility, we don’t get “hooked” by sabotaging thoughts and feelings. We also don’t suppress emotions, which can lead to psychological issues like anxiety and depression.

This concept of emotional agility was explored in a book on the subject by Susan David, a Harvard Medical School psychologist, speaker, and thought leader on management and leadership. 

As she points out

“We’ve been trained to believe that strong emotions should be suppressed. We have certain (sometimes unspoken) societal and organizational rules against expressing them.”

She also warns that there is a “high cost to avoiding our feelings.” Instead, dealing effectively with emotions is a key life skill that all of us can benefit from and for those in leadership roles, it’s what sets you and your team up for success, especially when times are tough. 

Why Emotional Agility is Important

The high cost of leaders who bottle up emotions may not only be to the leader herself—it may also harm her relationship with her employees. Emotional agility can help avoid those consequences and guide you to becoming a better leader.

The Niagara Institute states that emotional agility will help leaders:

  • build stronger manager-employee relationships
  • improve communication
  • support resilience
  • create psychological safety
  • assist in conflict resolution

Even those not directly responsible for managing others can benefit from understanding their own emotions. As David says: “Once you understand what you are feeling, then you can better address and learn from those more accurately described emotions.”

We can help with resources available for you and your organization. Whether you choose to access Storycoaching for guidance as a coach, mentor or organizational consultant, we can help you build skills in emotional agility. 

As one of my clients, a Senior Manager in the public sector stated: 

“Carol is like a lighthouse, helps navigate through the storm, as one tries to find a safe harbor and to land in the right place and state of mind. Her listening skills and gentle nudge facilitate improved self awareness, ability to prioritize and align actions accordingly. I highly recommend Carol’s service.”

Would you like to learn more about emotional agility and how you can improve your skills at this key leadership trait? Connect with me today to learn how I bring my coaching and consulting expertise to you and your team.

Booking a guest speaker for your event is not the beginning or  the end of your work. 

Finding the right speaker for your event is an important task. Your speaker will spend time preparing, but it’s up to you and your organization to support that preparation. 

After all, you are inviting a speaker because of their expertise, but that person is not part of your team. The role of your speaker is to bring a fresh perspective to your organization. To encourage thoughtful consideration of new ideas, datapoints and supporting stories that could enhance business and foster deeper engagement. To do that, the speaker needs to understand the culture and needs of your company and the timing of your event.

Finding A Guest Speaker

A quality guest speaker will ask the objective of your event, and how the speaker fits with that objective. 

Consider these questions when you’re looking for a speaker:

  • What is the purpose of the guest speaker? 
  • Will the speaker inform, entertain and inspire the audience?
  • Or will the speaker disrupt and challenge status quo?  
  • Do you want one large session or will you include breakout sessions?
  • What degree of attendee participation are you seeking?
  • How versatile is the speaker on related subject matter?

I take the time to fully understand the event and audience. This type of interaction follows the consultant’s approach to contracting, and it requires upfront dialogue and research. 

I want to make sure I have a clear sense of intent and purpose behind the event, its attendees and the chosen topic. I want to fully understand the scope of the topic. I take the time to understand the organization’s business focus and current culture – including its values, and the desired outcomes of my presentation.

Guest Speakers Are Coaching

Guest speaking can be similar to coaching. A Speaker is facilitating or training your audience or readying a group or team for a change activity.

Here’s how:

  • guest speaking requires authentic engagement and connection that goes beyond the data, research or recommendations
  • human stories are the connections between the speaker and the audience
  • stories must reach the minds and touch the hearts of the audience
  • great guest speakers offer personal moments of vulnerability and truth, challenges and celebrations, demonstrating learned experience.

This is an example of connection with an audience. I was speaking at a large in-person and virtual event with the health care sector. Someone asked a question from within the crowd.  

My response came from my own personal experience—that of a family scenario dealing with multiple layers of the healthcare system over a number of years. The room went silent, the virtual breakout rooms were still and then the acknowledging applause began; I had connected deeply with the collective audience. No stats were involved, I simply shared my own story.

Guest speakers working from content cards or scripting miss the opportunity to connect with the audience – pausing, take a slow breath, providing space for authentic connection. Authentic and seasoned speakers work with you as a client to ensure connection with the audience, provide value and bring the key ideas of the topic back to the organization.

As one of my clients shared: 

“Thanks a lot, Carol. It was an amazing opportunity to learn from you and also from my peers. I loved how the event was organized in the way that it was a great mix of both the presentation and the real-life interactions and examples. So well done!”

Choosing The Right Guest Speaker

When selecting the perfect speaker for your event, it’s crucial to consider not just the type of speaker, but also their expertise in a specific topic. A thought leader in a particular field can bring a depth of knowledge and insight that enriches your event’s theme, aligning closely with your organization’s current interests and future aspirations.

Identifying the Type of Speaker

The type of speaker you choose – whether a motivational speaker, a public speaker with a broad range of expertise, or a specialist in a specific topic – can significantly influence the tone and impact of your event. A motivational speaker, for instance, excels in energizing and inspiring your audience, often through personal anecdotes and uplifting messages. In contrast, a thought leader or a speaker specializing in a specific topic can offer in-depth analysis and unique perspectives, fostering a deeper understanding among your attendees.

Aligning with a Specific Topic

Understanding the specific topic or theme of your event is paramount in selecting the perfect speaker. This alignment ensures that the speaker’s expertise resonates with your audience, making the event more impactful and memorable. A speaker whose experience and knowledge dovetail with your event’s theme can provide tailored insights, making the occasion not just informative but transformative.

Thought Leader or Motivational Speaker?

Choosing between a thought leader and a motivational speaker depends on your event’s objectives. If your goal is to inspire change, challenge existing mindsets, or introduce new concepts, a thought leader, renowned for their expertise and innovative thinking, would be an ideal choice. On the other hand, if your aim is to motivate, uplift, and energize your audience, a motivational speaker, known for their compelling storytelling and charismatic delivery, would be more suitable.

The Perfect Speaker: A Blend of Expertise and Eloquence

The perfect speaker is someone who combines expertise in their field with the eloquence and charisma of a seasoned public speaker. This combination ensures that the message is not only informative but also engaging, making a lasting impression on your audience. The right speaker knows how to weave their knowledge into stories that captivate, educate, and resonate with every attendee.

Are you ready for a speaker at your event who can connect with your audience and meet your objective? Connect with me today to learn how I bring my coaching and consulting expertise to your event as a guest speaker.

Every organization needs an effective and interactive means of exploring organizational learning, growth and business change/evolution. Your business likely has a selection of skilled internal team members that can facilitate learning and change sessions. Relying only on an internal team member has its limitations though.

An external facilitator, much like a management consultant or business coach, leans in from outside the organization. They offer a neutral viewpoint, foster expansive communication, and guide teams through discussions and problem-solving options.

While both roles aim to improve business processes, enhance team dynamics, and guide companies towards achieving their goals more effectively.

External facilitators can leverage a reservoir of diverse client engagements that can be of benefit to your organization’s experience and outcomes.

Understanding Facilitation

Facilitation is when an internal or external business professional – often with additional consulting and coaching expertise – guides your business through challenges and opportunities. Providing them with the support they need to meet their goals and objectives.

A facilitator’s role is to design a safe and collaborative environment that fosters open and honest communication. Creating respectful collaboration on a topic, situation, or expected outcome. Facilitators provide structure, organization, and insight to help organizations and teams gain new perspectives and break through barriers with creativity, productivity, and confidence.

With the support of a professional facilitator, your business gains a neutral and unbiased guide. Moving you, your people and your strategies and objectives forward.

With internal facilitation, a skilled member of your organization takes on a leadership role during collective team activities including workshops, meetings, or strategic planning sessions.

Internal facilitators may have limited experience with organizing, running, and documenting outcomes from group sessions. They may also possess bias as active and current members of the organization.  

On the other hand, external facilitators rely on their coaching and consulting expertise gained through the myriad of their career’s client engagements. Professional external facilitators foster a collaborative atmosphere through active listening, adult education processes and engaging collaboration.

Maintaining a neutral position on organizational politics and relationship dynamics, external facilitators allow organizations a means to approach problem-solving, decision-making, and organizational change with a fresh, objective perspective on what is possible. 

Investing in an external facilitator like a business coaching and consulting services company can help your organization break through existing challenges to find new and worthwhile solutions. A senior leader of a non-profit organization shares their experience:

“Thank you so much for today’s meeting, and for your facilitation. It was absolutely what we needed, and we covered far more ground and reached far more significant conclusions than would have been possible without you. Thank you for the benefit of your skills and wisdom. We feel energized and much better prepared as we embark on our strategic planning process.”

Benefits of External Facilitation

One of the major advantages of hiring a business coach to facilitate for your business is that it allows all members of your organization to participate in team sessions and contribute their thoughts and ideas. Additional benefits of external facilitation include:

  • Neutral PositionExternal facilitators come to the table without pre-existing relationship biases or alliances within an organization. They are skilled at finding common ground and addressing conflicts through an objective lens.
  • Focus and Pacing.  Professional facilitators understand how to engage teams, refocus participants during discussions, and build consensus through patient and thoughtful questioning.
  • Broader Perspective.  Facilitators come with a wealth of knowledge, training, and experience which gives them the skill set to offer new points of view. A new perspective allows them to challenge conventional thinking, question existing business practices, and suggest innovative solutions.

Embracing a Co-Facilitator Approach

Co-facilitation combines the benefits of both internal and external facilitators. This collaborative approach allows the internal facilitator to provide valuable knowledge about the organization. While an external facilitator brings in their expertise and neutral perspective. 

Investing in external facilitation with storycoaching can be a game-changer for businesses and organizations looking to optimize their processes, enhance teamwork, and drive meaningful outcomes. The neutral position, expertise, fresh perspective, and psychological safety provided by skilled external facilitators create an environment where creativity and productivity flourish.

A senior leader of a non-profit shares how storycoaching’s external facilitation benefitted their organization:

“It was so lovely to meet you on Friday! I really enjoyed our session, I found it not only beneficial to the organization as a whole, but a wonderful learning experience for me personally. I feel like it was one of the most productive 3 hours in my time at the Foundation and that’s largely thanks to your approach.”

Are you ready to invest in external facilitation? Connect with me today to learn how my Business Coaching and Consulting Services can lead conversation, spur collective ideas, and foster communication and lasting change within your organization.

Updated January 22, 2024

Whether you’re a small business or a large multinational corporation,  professional consultants and coaches aid in business growth, development, and long-term sustainability. But deciding which type of service your business needs can be challenging if you’re not sure of the differences between them. In this guide, we’ll explore the roles of coaches and consultants and help you understand which route is best suited for your business.

Understanding Context, Content, and Culture

Before you seek the services of a coach or consultant, it is essential to understand the issues you want resolved within the broader scope of your business. It’s rare to find an issue that is completely in isolation, which is why it’s crucial to recognize your immediate need, the history behind it, the dynamics of your business, and how the issue impacts—or is impacted by—the overall health of your organization.

This is why it is common for coaches and consultants to begin their work with an intake interview process or assessment of your business in order to gain a comprehensive understanding of your current state in order to help you identify how to get to where you wish to ultimately be.

Distinct Roles of Coaches and Consultants

Coaches tend to be brought into an organization to work on empowering staff members to reach their full potential. Through active listening, strategic questioning, and goal-oriented techniques, both staff and leadership can overcome limiting beliefs, unlock strengths and skills, and enhance their ability to collaborate or effectively lead teams. 

Consultants, meanwhile, are typically brought in to provide advice, guidance or direction on a specific business area or operational challenge. From subject matter expertise to business strategy, a management consultant is often hired for their broad external perspective and ability to find unique solutions to long-standing issues.

When to Choose an Executive Coach

Coaching is an effective way for both individuals and teams within your organization to gain support and strategies that they unearth within themselves in their professional and personal development. Coaching is ideal for leaders, business owners, executives, and staff members who want a better understanding of their strengths, weaknesses, motivations, and goals and how to leverage their unique value offering. Coaching can also be beneficial helping leaders and staff improve emotional intelligence and agility, communicate effectively and thoughtfully, and calmly work together through complex issues.

When to Choose a Consultant

Consultants are typically hired when an organization has specific, immediate issues that need to be resolved quickly, or, when a large strategic transformation in the business is required. Since consultants have specific subject-matter expertise, when a right fit interview has been successfully conducted, they can quickly assess pain points, identify potential solutions, and design strategies to solve issues with minimal operational disruptions incorporated into the plan. Consultants also have their finger on the pulse of industry trends and best practices—and often provide roadmaps for businesses to improve processes, manage changes, and stay competitive.

Choosing the Right Fit For Your Business

When deciding whether your business needs are better–suited for a professional consultant or coach, it’s essential to take time to review the challenges you’re having or the business goals you want to achieve.

If you’re having issues with team dynamics, leadership skills, soft skills, or personal development, coaching is likely a more worthwhile option.

If your business is facing challenges with human resources, strategic direction, business operations, organizational management, or with issues that require subject-matter expertise, a consultant – or better yet, a coach/consultant is an ideal choice.

A Director from the Ontario Public Service shares their experience with Carol’s exceptional leadership coaching over the years:

“I have been with Carol Sachowski for a number of years over the last decade in various roles. No matter what level of management you are at, Carol is the one you want in your corner as she has a superior level of leadership coaching. Her approach is to meet you “where you are” in your development as a leader. She does this by recognizing the skills you have already learned and she offers valuable coaching supports to help you understand the bigger picture, help you focus on the right things and push you out of your comfort zone when you need it. Her warm and supportive demeanour was reassuring and helped me muster the energy to do the most difficult tasks I was challenged with – and I had the comfort in knowing she was just a phone call away. I have recommended Carol as a leadership coach to my colleagues and I would highly recommend you do as well.”

Carol Sachowski’s unwavering support, valuable insights, and dedication make her the perfect choice for anyone seeking to become a more effective leader.

A Holistic Approach

While the roles of coaches and consultants are distinct—they’re not mutually exclusive. Through a combination of consulting and coaching, I work closely with businesses to align their purpose, mission, and goals with the health and values of their staff and leaders and the entire organizational system. By using a hybrid approach, we work towards better communication, understanding, empathy, and resilience—skills that make your team better equipped to handle operational challenges and issues as they arise, and to foster deep values-based connection to how the business behaves in industry and society.

Connect with me today to learn how my consulting, coaching and complementary services can optimize your organization and lead to a vibrant and collaborative work environment.

There’s no denying that our world is evolving. Shifts in society often come with an inherent desire to reflect on your journey and choose the best path forward for your personal and professional life, often pivoting several times. But making changes and finding the balance between learning, comfort, and growth can be challenging to accomplish on your own. 

Whether you’re an executive leader, team member, entrepreneur, recent graduate or working parent, mentorship and coaching can help you gain perspective of your past experiences, current limitations, and future goals. 

As a mentor and coach with over 30 years of experience working with diverse clients worldwide, I understand the benefits of both options in support of personal development—and the distinctions between the two. This quick guide will help you decide whether a mentoring relationship or a coaching relationship is the best approach to assisting you as you meet your vision of your future life.

The Mentor and Mentee Dynamic

If you’ve ever had someone take you “under their wing” to help you through a challenging situation, you may have already experienced mentorship. Mentorship is a relationship with a knowledgeable and experienced person who guides your personal and professional development by sharing insights from their own life stories. They typically share advice and wisdom—even in the form of cautionary tales—to help you effectively navigate different scenarios or moments of key decision-making.

Mentorship is beneficial for individuals of all ages, backgrounds, and experiences because the lessons are gained directly through the mentor sharing their beliefs, values, successes, challenges, and failures.

Mentors are often people who have succeeded in areas you’re interested in, such as a CEO, business owner, team leader, or someone who has been influential in their field.  

Mentors increasingly are no longer only ‘seasoned’ folks a generation or two ahead.  Many mentors are of the same generation or younger, offering quite different points of view which can be useful when wanting to move in a totally different direction.

The Synergy of Coaching

Winning teams, be they sport, project or leadership benefit equally from working with a dedicated coach. Coaching is a synergistic approach to growth and holistic development that focuses on increasing your level and depth of self-awareness in order to identify your strengths and weaknesses, create meaningful and measurable goals, and develop action plans that you will commit to meeting in support of those specific goals within a specific timeframe. 

Note: if you are seeking coaching specific to workplace matters you may want to ensure your coach has worked in organizations themselves and understands organizational and team dynamics from a similar place.  Some coaches do not possess this requirement.

While mentors usually have direct experience in the fields you’re interested in and place their focus there in support of you, coaches focus on your journey through personal and professional development that is aligned with your authentic self where you are able to design and demonstrate your unique brand  – it includes longer-term strategy, shorter-term planning, ongoing encouragement, and personal resilience techniques to help you consistently achieve individual milestones and goals over time. 

Note: if you are seeking coaching specific to workplace matters, you may want to ensure your coach has worked in organizations themselves and understands firsthand organizational business, structures, and team dynamics from a similar place.  Some coaches do not possess this requirement.

With a values-based, results-oriented approach, an effective certified coach works with you to identify the tools you need to stay accountable, motivated, and focused – to yourself. 

In the journey of personal growth and career development, one testimonial stands out as a testament to the transformative power of executive coaching through Carol’s storycoaching approach.

I worked with Carol after a difficult period where I had not shown up as my best self, and my confidence and sense of purpose had been shaken to the core. Carol was incredibly patient, using both empathetic listening and evidence-based exercises with me. With her guidance, I was able to shed light on my blind spots, understand my triggers, articulate my core values, and take concrete action to show up as the leader and member of my organization’s executive that I want to be. There was no easy five-point plan. There were plenty of deep conversations, probing questions, and hearty laughs. Carol cares.

~ Executive Level Regional Public Sector Leader

Through a combination of deep conversations, probing questions, evidence-based exercises, and Carol’s genuine care and years of experience in organizational life, this executive public sector leader was able to regain their confidence, rediscover their purpose, and emerge as the leader they aspired to be.

The Right Fit for You

As you decide which option is best for you, consider your needs and desired outcomes. If you’re seeking inspiration and wisdom from someone who has achieved similar goals to those you aspire to, finding a mentor is an ideal choice. If you’re looking to expand your self-awareness, confront personal limitations, find your voice, overcome obstacles, and drive towards your personal best, a coach may be right for you. Keep in mind that finding someone with a skillful blend of mentorship and coaching can be a rich and powerful way to accelerate your personal and professional growth.

My Personalized Approach as a Coach or Mentor

Navigating the complexities of your personal and professional life can feel overwhelming — especially when you’re somewhat inexperienced/unsure or are looking to move in a new, unfamiliar direction. As your seasoned coach and mentor, I approach our relationship from a holistic place of seeing you and your world as an integrative living system deserving of full attention. I offer keen observation, curious exploration and support that challenges who you are and how you show up; encouraging your own wise wisdom to emerge and stand tall.

Using personally tailored strategies and tools that acknowledge your past experiences, current constraints, and future aspirations, I partner with you as you take control of your own journey with increased confidence, competence and resilience.

Are you ready to evolve your story? Connect with me today to learn how my mentoring and coaching can create deep, lasting change in your life.

Website by The Social Circle