So if “All the world’s a stage…” what about Age Discrimination?

26 07 2010

All the world’s a Stage,

And all the men and women merely players;

They have their exits and their entrances;

And one man in his time plays many parts,

His acts being seven ages…”

As You Like It – 2/7

So if  “All the world’s a stage” what about Age Discrimination?

This question is one I’ve been mulling over a lot recently and particularly when talking to my coaching clients in the work I do.

It’s a fact**, and despite what a multitude of HR professionals/business leaders might tell you, we are all affected by the different stages that we’re at in life and the issues and challenges we face.

Here are some basics:

Figure 1. Adult Life Stages
Stage Key Issues Self-Image Goal Focus Relationships Community
Autonomy / Tentative Choices

(18 – 26)

Autonomy vs. Dependence

Tentative vs. Lasting Choices

Developing sense of personhood as separate from parents and childhood peer groups Defining self as an individual and establishing an initial life style Testing out new relationships (e.g., love interests, peer groups, and friends) Realigning focus from family of origin to new peers and groups
Young Adult


Turmoil vs. Certainty

Settling Down vs. Keeping Things Open

Questioning sense of self and who/what we want to become Re-assessing initial life style and making more permanent choices/ commitments Sorting out and deciding which relationships will become more permanent Re-thinking and evaluating commitments and connections
Making Commitments


Master vs. Apprentice

Permanent vs. Tentative Choices

Firming up/establishing a more permanent sense of self and who/what we want to become Deciding a life direction and defining/ aggressively pursuing a dream of what we want to accomplish in life Making more permanent commitments to love relationships, friends, and peers Establishing more permanent connections and community ties/ responsibilities
Mid-Life Transition


Resolving Key Polarities

Immortality vs. Mortality

Constructive vs. Destructive

Nurturing vs. Aggressive

Re-examining realities of projected ego and image vs. true self and struggling to define/accept true self Questioning the dream whether or not it was achieved and developing a more mature sense of what is really important Recognizing/ acknowledging one’s own negative, as well as positive, impact on relationships and correcting course for deeper, more authentic connections Disengaging from group and cultural pressures/norms to re-evaluate and restructure priorities
Leaving a


Contribution vs. Personal Benefit

Other vs. Self Centered

Social vs. Independent Accomplishments

Letting go of earlier inaccurate ego images and accepting oneself as a worthwhile being with weaknesses as well as strengths Making the best of the time one has left to help others and leave a positive legacy Settling into more realistic and rewarding relationships based on recognizing/ forgiving each other’s imperfections as human and helping each other grow Re-engagement on a deeper, more objective, less driven and more productive, level with family, friends, and society
Spiritual Denouement

(66 and beyond)

Hope vs. Despair

Survival of Spirit vs. Mortality

Surrender vs. Control

Accepting self as dependent on a wisdom greater than one’s own, recognizing that wisdom as benevolent, and submitting one’s self and life to that wisdom’s will Tying things up and completing the development of the person/spiritual being we want to become Accepting others and recognizing/ respecting humankind’s diversity as part of a greater wisdom’s plan Recognizing that life is only part of a larger, more enduring spiritual community and helping others understand that

Click here if you can’t view the above which was taken from

Of course, we are complex animals and often we weave our way through this path moving backwards and forwards between “ages”. Sometimes meandering back and re-working earlier stages and the choices we made, as we face unpredictable situations, achievements, traumas, and fluctuating career, family, or interpersonal situations.  But generally, it’s fair to say that we all recognise these stages.  We’ve all been through them.

And my point is this, to be better leaders and managers of your people.  In order to really understand them, it’s key to understand where they are in life, what’s driving them and what they are facing in their different life stages.  It’s about kicking the concept of Age Discrimination into touch – or at least putting it into some perspective.

So where are you right now in your life?  What challenges are you facing in or out of work that you’ve reflected on differently by thinking about your life in stages?  This is powerful stuff and something that so many of us put to one side.  I look forward to your your views.

Using this for Coaching Work

Some of you may like to consider using this in your own coaching or coaching work.  Here’s an idea of how:

  • Consider which Life Stage best outlines where you are today – pick the closest one for each column or more than one if that’s appropriate
  • What does that tell you about the choices you have in your life?
  • What values or beliefs do you have that are helping you stay where you are?
  • What values or beliefs do you have that will help you with your next stage?
  • How does thinking about your life like this help you?
  • What three (or more) things will you do now?

**For a more in-depth understanding of this area of social research, try googling the writings of Erikson, Levinson, Groeschel, Fowler to name a few…


To make you smile – A 5 minute Management Lesson

19 07 2010

I got sent this (slightly risque – sorry!) email today and felt I had to share its humourous wisdom…especially on a sunny Monday!

A 5 minute Management Lesson

Lesson 1 :

A priest offered a Nun a lift.  She got in and crossed her legs, revealing a little of her leg… The priest, glancing over, nearly had an accident.

After controlling the car, he stealthily slid his hand up her leg… The nun said, ‘Father, remember Psalm 129?’

The priest removed his hand.  But, changing gears, he let his hand slide up her leg again.   The nun once again said, ‘Father, remember Psalm 129?’

The priest apologized ‘Sorry sister but the flesh is weak.’  Arriving at the convent, the  nun sighed heavily and went on her  way.

On his arrival at the church, the priest rushed to look up Psalm 129.  It said, ‘Go forth and seek, further up, you will find glory.’

Moral of the story:

  • If you are  not well informed in your job, you might miss a great  opportunity.

Lesson 2:

A sales rep, an  administration clerk, and the manager are walking to  lunch when they find an antique oil lamp.

They rub it and a Genie comes out.  The Genie says, ‘I’ll give each of you just one wish.’

‘Me first! Me first!’ says the admin clerk..  ‘I want to be in the Bahamas ,  driving a speedboat, without a care in the world.’   Poof! She’s gone.

‘Me next! Me next!’ says the sales rep. ‘I want to be in Hawaii, relaxing on the beach with my personal masseuse, an endless supply of Pina Coladas, and the love of my life.’  Poof! He’s gone.

‘OK, you’re up,’ the Genie says to the manager.  The manager says, ‘I want those two back in the office after lunch.’

Moral of the story:

  • Always let your boss have the first say.

Lesson 3:

An eagle was sitting on a tree resting, doing nothing.

A small rabbit saw the eagle and asked him, ‘Can I also sit like you and do nothing?’   The eagle answered: ‘Sure, why not.’

So, the rabbit sat on the ground below the eagle and rested. All of a sudden, a fox appeared, jumped on the rabbit and ate it.

Moral of the story:

  • To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very, very high up.

Lesson 4:

A turkey was chatting with a bull.  ‘I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree’ sighed the turkey, ‘but I haven’t got the energy’

‘Well, why don’t you nibble on some of my droppings?’ replied the bull.  It’s full of nutrients.’

The turkey pecked at a lump of dung, and found it actually gave him enough strength to reach the lowest branch of the tree.

The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch..

Finally after a fourth night, the turkey was proudly perched at the top of the tree.

He was promptly spotted by a farmer, who shot him out of the tree.

Moral of the story:

  • Bull s**t  might get you to the top, but it won’t keep you there…

Lesson 5

A little bird was flying  south for the winter.  It was so cold the bird froze and fell to the ground into a large field.

While he was lying there, a cow came by and dropped some dung on  him.

As the frozen bird lay there in the pile of cow dung, he began to realize how warm he was.

The dung was actually thawing him out!

He lay there all warm and happy, and soon began to sing for joy.  A passing cat heard the bird singing and came to investigate.

Following the sound, the cat discovered the bird under the pile of cow dung, and promptly dug him out and ate him.

Moral of the story:

  • Not everyone who s**ts on you is your enemy.
  • Not everyone who gets you out of s**t is your friend.
  • And when you’re in deep s**t, it’s best to keep your mouth shut!

Wishing you a great week!


What the F**k is Social Media NOW?

15 07 2010

I came across this brilliant presentation today (courtesy of Brand Infiltration) and I just had to share it with you.  It’s all about the changing world of Social Media and contains mind-blowing statistics.

Did you know for instance that if Facebook were a country, it would be the third most populated in the world, ahead of the United States?

That’s Big!!!

Take a look for yourself and be amazed at how our world, and the way we communicate, is changing.

What the F**K is Social Media NOW?

My question is, in a changing world, what does social media mean for you?

Hot off the Press…Our latest Promotion…

9 07 2010

Growing Your Business with an Extra Pair of Hands

Creative Leadership have today launched their new Essential Recruitment Package for Small Businesses.  It’s aimed at helping busy entrepreneurs save time and effort in finding and securing the best talent for their growing business and avoid recruitment costs.

The package, which starts from £199 + VAT includes a bespoke application form, tailored job description, advertising, CV response handling, interview help and offer management, depending on what your business needs.

Speaking about the Essential Recruitment Package, Michelle Fischer, Managing Director of Creative Leadership said: “Given the recent recession, it’s really encouraging to see more and more local businesses coming to us for help with their recruitment and growing their businesses.  For many, it’s the first recruitment they’ve done and so they want to be sure they get it right and also that they don’t waste money advertising in the wrong place. ”

One of these was The Media Bus, a digital training business, who approached Creative Leadership to manage the people side of their business, including Recruitment, when they launched in November 2009.  Darren Nicholson, Managing Director said: “Creative Leadership made our recruitment and staffing matters so easy.  They ran the recruitment for all our roles and the assistance and support that they have given to the company has been first rate and worth every penny.  I would recommend their services to anyone looking for Recruitment and HR Guidance and Support”

Meanwhile, Angela Rowely of AV8Jet, a local Corporate Jet business said “We asked Creative Leadership to help us source the latest addition to our small team in June 2010.  They met with us and helped us immediately with recommendations of where to advertise and how to go about short-listing.  We had a brilliant response to our advert and Creative Leadership helped us to manage the applications and respond to all our applicants.  When it came to interviewing, their Essential Guide to Interviewing was really helpful.  Through the process I was really struck by their professionalism and attention to detail.”

If you’re a growing business and need help with recruiting new staff get in touch with Michelle on 07786 622344 or visit

The Essential Rec Package Flyer – Front

The Essential Rec Package Flyer – Back

The Creative Leadership Essential Guide on How to Interview

9 07 2010

Following our recent series on How to Interview, here’s our one stop shop for all the steps:

Step 1 – Planning

Step 2 – Shortlisting and CV SiftingStep 3 – Preparing for the Interview

Step 3 – Preparing for the Interview

Step 4 – Diversity & Recruitment

Step 5 – The Candidate Experience

Step 6 – The Competency Based Approach

Step 7 – Writing up your Notes

Step 8 – After the Interview

Step 9 – What to do if?

Thinking about recruiting a new member to your team and need an extra pair of hands? Contact Michelle today on 07786 622344 to find out more about our NEW Essential Recruitment Package.

What’s the Difference Between Mentoring and Coaching?

8 07 2010

I want to spend some time this week looking at the difference between coaching and mentoring, as this has come up a few times with coaching clients recently.

As a Certified Leadership Coach there have been occasions where my clients present their personal/professional challenges and expect me to tell them what to do.  They have confused the role of coach and the role of mentor – something which is very easy to do.

Let’s consider the academic definitions of the two first:

“Mentoring is the process for the informal transmission of knowledge, social capital, and psychosocial support perceived by the recipient as relevant to work, career, or professional development; mentoring entails informal communication, usually face-to-face and during a sustained period of time, between a person who is perceived to have greater relevant knowledge, wisdom, or experience (the mentor) and the person who is perceived to have less (the mentee)” Bozeman, Feeney, 2007


“Coaching is a partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. The coach’s job is to provide support to enhance the skills, resources, and creativity that the client already has.” International Coach Federation, 2010

The differences between Coaching and Mentoring:

Some of the key differences are:

Mentoring Coaching
Focuses on the individual and the organizational context. Focuses upon the individual and their wider context.
The mentor is normally selected by the mentee The Coach often is given a specific agenda (usually to improve performance)
A mentor provides directional guidance, teaching and sometimes coaching through the mentoring process A coach uses open questions through the coaching process
The mentee develops their capabilities and often anecdotally their skills The mentee develops their skills and capabilities.
The relationship is driven by the mentee The relationship is driven by the coach
The mentor helps you with solutions The coach helps you to see where you went wrong

In essence a mentor is like a sounding board, giving advice which the mentee is free to pick and choose from, and in some instances giving coaching advice to the mentee. The context does not have specific performance objectives.  A coach however, is helping the person to some end result, the person may choose how to get there, but the coach is strategically enabling, assessing and monitoring their progress.

So, when considering whether or not you need a coach or a mentor ask yourself what you really need here.  Do you trust yourself as a Leader to be able to find out the answers to your challenges yourself with some help, or would you prefer someone else to tell you?

For more information about our coaching and mentoring services give Michelle a call today on  07786 622344 or email

Recruitment – KPIs and Measures of Success for Recruiting using Social Media

24 06 2010

Last time we looked at how businesses can measure and evaluate the success (or failures) of their recruitment campaigns (click here for the full article).  We proposed a few simple generic measures for your Recruitment KPIs, looking at volume, cost, time and performance measures.

Today I’d like to focus on one very topical and emerging area for measurement – Measures of Success for Recruiting using Social Media.

Essentially using Social Media to recruit is the same as using it for anything else, you want people to engage with you/ your brand / people / products / services onsite and offsite.

  • You want people to make a noise and talk about you to their friends and family
  • You want people to value what you’re saying
  • You want people to love your website.
  • You want people to visit more frequently
  • You want people to buy and buy into what you sell

With this in mind, here are some of our suggested KPI’s to incorporate into your Recruitment reporting:

  • Number of hits to the careers area of your website
  • Length of time spent on the careers area of your website
  • Downloads from the careers area of your website
  • Number of candidate registrations citing facebook/twitter etc as a source
  • Usage of specific hashtags you’ve initiated e.g. #creativeleadership
  • Number of comments to specific posts/comments etc
  • Number of followers on each site
  • Quote statistics from google analytics

This is by no means an exhaustive list and we’d love you to share your thoughts. Meanwhile, for more information on how to measure the wider spectrum of Social Media – Engagement and Interaction, we really like Chris Lake’s article “35 Social Media KPIs to measure engagement”

For more information on how to use Social Media to Recruit, get in touch with Michelle on 01202 853647 or