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The Power of Connection at Work – Mentoring


I have shared my M6 Workplace Wellbeing Model in previous postings, and I thought I would break it down for you starting with Mentoring as the first “M.” I start with this because of just how integral connecting with people is to realizing a culture of thriving. Every wellbeing or positive psychology model out there includes positive relationship.

Living in Anxious Times

We are currently being inundated with worries of all kinds. We wonder about social media and its impact on our lives from the moral fiber of our society to its effect on the workings in our brains. As more people settle in big cities, loneliness is on the rise. At work, people are seeking a balance of empowerment and direction/structure. And finally, people seek others for affirmation, love, and witness, and without them humanity is more anxious, less happy.

So, how does mentoring help solve these worries?

Note that I am using mentoring here as an overarching concept of supportive, positive connections. Positive relationships are authentic, honest, and focus on the strengths of the other; they advocate for the other’s best interest; they celebrate each other’s successes. The fundamental requirement of a positive relationship and a mentoring culture is trust. It is the ability to be vulnerable with a colleague or manager and still feel safe. Brené Brown says that putting ourselves out there, allowing vulnerability, is necessary to courageously grow to our potential. No risk . . . no courage . . . no way you’re meeting your potential . . . end of story. And yet, one in five American adults say they have no one to rely on for emotional support.

The Power of Mentoring

This is incredibly powerful information for organizations – without emotional support and safety, we lose our ability to generate new ideas, to be creative and innovative. We second guess ourselves and leave our potential on the table. The 1970’s psychoanalyst Heinz Kohut proposed that belongingness was necessary for humanity; he defined belongingness as the feeling of being “human among humans,” of being connected to other people. Organizations have a great opportunity to provide a mentoring culture that encourages healthy risk-taking while learning with the encouragement of trusted advisors; to generate feelings that they are valued and belong.

Prioritizing positive relationships in the workplace also plays an important role in curbing loneliness. A 2018 Cigna study on loneliness indicates that nearly half of Americans sometimes or always feel alone. Douglas Nemecek, M.D., chief medical officer for Behavioral Health at Cigna indicates, “There is an inherent link between loneliness and the workplace, with employers in a unique position to be a critical part of the solution.” One such solution is prioritizing High Quality Connections (HQCs), a term used by Jane Dutton at the University of Michigan’s Center for Positive Organizations. According to Dutton, building HQCs is a 4-step process: 1) respectfully engaging others, 2) task-enabling others, 3) trusting others, and 4) having fun together.

Achieving these relationship goals may be accomplished informally through a wellbeing culture across the board and may be implemented with formal coaching and mentoring opportunities. A formal coaching or mentoring program can be designed in a number of ways and may be top-down, may use an internal or external coach, or may be structured peer-to-peer. Each adds a customized approach to leadership development, resulting in team members that feel invested in, listened to, and cared about. All this while also growing the overall competency and confidence of the organization, potentially expanding the entity’s base of possible candidates for succession planning.

Mentoring is a key component of a workplace of wellbeing which enables people to connect, thrive, and grow. It reduces loneliness and fosters innovation and creativity – it creates a culture where people want to be and stay, and it initiates new ideas and better decisions. All good for our emotional and physical wellbeing . . . and not to mention, the bottom line.

For more on the M6 Model and my approach to coaching, take a look at my website and other blog posts about Life Coaching and Organization Development.

I would love to hear your thoughts, so feel free to contact me about coaching, and we can talk more about positive relationships and a culture of thriving! Share this post with friends you think my find this of interest!



Where Does Executive Coaching Fit Into Organization Development?

I was reviewing the feedback I received on my recently posted blog entitled, “What is Organization Development, again?” when I came across a compelling question, and one I think deserves our attention. It was from a friend who asked, “Interesting. Just how does coaching fit into your definition of OD?” The short answer to the question is, “It fits everywhere.”

Coaching Comes in Various “Shapes & Sizes”

To understand this better, it is helpful to have a working knowledge of the most common types of coaching and their purposes in organizations.

Executive coaching is a collaborative process between a coach and a leader which works to assess and understand the leader’s strengths, personality, and preferences. Together they explore how the leader’s behaviors and beliefs influence personal and professional relationships and the potential to learn and grow in order to realize goals. This is generally sponsored by an organization as an opportunity to provide customized development for experienced and potential leaders.

Team coaching explores the collective strengths and behaviors of a team or group in order to leverage each member’s potential, thus realizing the possibilities of the team as a whole. A coach works with the team to develop more effective ways of supporting and leverage each other’s strengths to ensure development of better products, decisions, and ideas.

Peer coaching is the development of a culture of coaching that includes growing the coaching skills of all in order to support and realize the potential of each person as a valued contributor. It is learning from experienced, creative colleagues while sharing our own insights to encourage each other’s growth and development. It is living the old adage, “The rising tide lifts all boats.” Everyone wins.

Mentoring may be formal or informal. Mentoring is similar to peer coaching in that it includes internal connections that provide positive insights and observations. It is different in that the insights are usually from leaders who are typically not a direct boss or manager of the mentee. A formal program is usually managed by HR and includes a well-documented process and milestones. An informal program encourages individuals to connect with leaders and request insights on their specific needs and the business climate/environment of the organization.

So, How Does Coaching Fit into Organization Development?

Organization Development involves facilitation of strategy, systems/structure, culture, and process. It is an enterprise-wide function that works with all areas to help meet potential through collaboration, alignment, and innovation, resulting in improved health and wellbeing of the enterprise. As such, it depends on capable leadership to effectively guide individuals and teams and drive results — this is where coaching fits. Organization Development (OD) improves organization effectiveness, and it is essential that leaders have the skills and competencies to carry out new strategies required to meet evolving needs of employees and those they serve.

Coaching + OD = Equipped Organizations

Coaching, such as the four types I listed above, moves beyond training and development programs to provide customized support and growth. When OD results in organization change, which it generally does, coaching helps leaders understand and embrace their evolving roles quickly. It helps them leverage their strengths to clearly lead and empower others to adapt to change, as well. This results in organizations equipped to “hit the ground running” with new strategies and positive culture change that sustains organizations into the future.

In my experience of coaching and organization development in New Jersey and New York, coaching fits just about everywhere. What do you think?

For more on my approach to coaching, take a look at my website and other blog posts about Life Coaching and Organization Development.


Leveraging Positive Psychology to Help Employees Realize Potential

Here are some ways that you can leverage Positive Psychology to help employees realize their full  potential.

Setting employee expectations and goals at the workplace can sometimes create the opposite effect of what you intended. Instead of encouraging employees to better themselves, they experience stress and anxiety over their job performance, which in turns results in a negative impact on job performance. By using ideas established by positive psychology coaching, you can create a positive and encouraging workplace, which leads to a stronger workforce and an improvement in the company’s bottom line.

Positive Psychology in Action

Positive psychology focuses on not just achieving temporary goals or going with the flow and accepting life as it is, but on taking purposeful steps to achieve meaningful goals for a more satisfying life. As such, it focuses on what makes life worth living and the positive aspects of each day. These positive psychology coaching ideas can help employees reduce their anxiety and, instead, explore and embrace their positive attributes to help them achieve their goals.

Shifting from wrong to right. The preoccupation and stress of employees can decrease significantly by shifting the focus from what is wrong with them to what is right. Reduced stress leads to clearer minds. This, in turn, allows them to focus on finding the solutions to reach their goals.

Developing positive emotional awareness. Developing optimism in your employees leads to an increase in their ability to cope with the adversity and the challenges of the workplace. In addition, developing positive emotional awareness can help your employees become more creative and productive.

Leveraging strengths. Positive psychology allows your employees to find their unique strengths, develop them to their fullest potential, and apply them to the workplace to increase productivity. People who build on their strengths also show an increase in resilience.

Accessing peak performance. Both willpower and waypower are necessary to increase your company’s performance. Willpower allows employees to believe they can reach their goals, while waypower focuses on finding the actual resolutions to problems to achieve goals.

How Positive Psychology Affects Your Company

Positive psychology coaching allows your employees to discover and develop their strengths, as well as finding ways to use those strengths to reach employee performance goals. Applying these principles also leads to other benefits in the workplace beyond an improvement in employee morale and overall performance.

Higher employee retention. Employees who feel that they can reach their employment goals have more of an incentive to stay with the company. Your talent will stay within the company allowing the business to focus on moving forward with projects instead of losing money in repeatedly hiring and training new employees.

Higher satisfaction rates. Positive psychology focuses on seeing employees as people. This makes them feel valued, which leads to increased satisfaction with their jobs and the workplace’s culture in general. Satisfaction translates into motivation to complete tasks and maintaining performance levels.

Better health. Employees who are less stressed and anxious over their weaknesses lead healthier lives. They become resilient in mind and body as well. Your company will rely on their continued, uninterrupted employment instead of suffering disruptions from unhealthy or compromised employees.

The implementation of the principles of positive psychology coaching encourages your employees to overcome their doubts and focus on finding their strengths instead. Not only will you find improvements in team performance and morale, but the increased positivity in the workplace will have a notable improvement on your bottom line.

For more on my approach to coaching, take a look at my website and other blog posts about Life Coaching and Organization Development.



Organization Development and Positive Psychology

What is an organizational development specialist?

 I do a lot of reading on organizations, leadership, and coaching; and I have noticed an abundance of good work recently published on changing workplaces, shifting expectations of work, and transformative structures, and innovative ways of growing leadership. I am struck by the abundance of references to the foundational research and authors in the Positive Psychology field: M Seligman, J. Dutton, S. Lyubomirsky, B. Fredrickson, R. Layard, C. Dweck, and more.

When I recently published my article, “What is Organization Development, again?” I summarized the piece with this definition:

“I would say it [OD] is an ever-changing profession that facilitates strategy, systems/structure, culture, and process. It is an enterprise-wide function that works with all these areas to help us meet our potential through collaboration, alignment, and innovation, resulting in improved health and wellbeing of the organization.”

Organization Development and Culture Change

A big part of the OD world is culture and culture change. Culture drives not just what the organization values, but how people behave and live into it each and every day. You might say that Organization Development professionals are its keepers, and more and more of the tenets of Positive Psychology are making their way into the culture of all types of entities from corporate to non-profit to B-Corps. Its influence ranges from mindfulness training to relationship-building initiatives to priming the environment for productivity and innovation. It makes sense because the results are powerful and workplace expectations are changing.

The Role of Positive Psychology in OD

Positive Psychology is not about everyone being happy all the time. Rather, it’s about helping people meet their potential through the science-based principles of what makes life worth living — what motivates and lifts us up, how we are inspired to learn and grow, connecting with our need for relationship and collaboration, and simply providing an environment that compels us to bring our best self to work every day and perform to our highest levels.  It is about how we meet challenges and builds organizational resilience when we fail. This type of environment is win-win, as it creates a place in which we want to work while also boosting productivity and the bottom line. This is what Organization Development is all about.

M6 Model – The Time is Now

My M6 Model consolidates the thinking of Positive Psychology into a comprehensive model for building a culture of wellbeing and growth that helps make sense of it all. It consists of six science-based elements that create an environment of thriving where all voices are valued, potential is harnessed, and people are productive, motivated, and inspired. The six elements are:

Meaning or the purpose we attribute to our work; it is believing in something bigger than oneself and our connection to it.

Mentoring is encouraging meaningful connections between peers, across levels, and beyond silos. It increases empathy and broadens thinking and encourages inclusive living.

Motivation inspires people to grow in their jobs and results in talent retention across the organization. It uses organizational ingenuity to build benefits, rewards, and recognition that are relevant to individuals in their daily lives.

Mindfulness is much more than meditation. It is about learning to be fully present and enables more “flow” time. It is the opposite of “mindlessness.”

Movement works in tandem with mindfulness in providing opportunities to reset the brain, to recharge and re-engage in the work with more energy and purpose.

Mastery addresses the human need to challenge oneself for the sake of accomplishing something we can be proud of. Our definition goes beyond competency to also include social connection and fun.

A thriving workplace is possible – download the M6 Model eBook now!


I invite you to download my eBook which outlines a comprehensive process to implement this compelling research-based way of being. If setting your sights on all six elements feels overwhelming, try prioritizing one or several parts. My goal is to help change the experience of work to something that offers thriving and wellbeing while generating our best ideas and building life-giving purpose. I believe this is absolutely possible. Take a look, and reach out for assistance, comments, ideas! I would love to hear from you!