Instructor Carolien Moors talks about her career promoting emotional and psychological well-being in the workplace and beyond

Awareness and mindfulness are two of the most important tools for well-being in personal and professional roles and partnerships, says Carolien Moors, an organizational change and development consultant. Her “five rules of the road” are “Be present here, now. Connect and trust. Pause and reflect. Act accountable. Learn and adjust.”

Moors began using business and psychological insights to help organizations navigate change 30 years ago in Europe, where she received master’s degrees in clinical psychology, ortho-pedagogiek (related to child psychology), and industrial psychology. 

“Everyone I work with is dealing with the impact of change,” Moors says about coaching leaders and teams in manufacturing, food, health care, energy, education, and hospitality. “Change can include such things as new IT, restructuring, downsizing, growing, new HR procedures, culture change, providing new service or products, or adjusting to crises such as the current pandemic. I combine cognitive psychology, emotional intelligence, neuroscience, and leadership research to help guide people through the transitions that come with change.” 

Moors applies her particular expertise to four professional development courses she teaches for the University of Minnesota College of Continuing and Professional Studies: Leading Change, Transitions, and People; Coaching for Excellence; Managing Your Priorities, Time, and Energy; and Strategic and Mindful Communications. In all cases, she shares both hard and soft skills. 

Carolien Moors, in Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
Carolien Moors

“In class, I present the models, best practices, and pitfalls I’ve learned from my continuing education and from my numerous experiences working in different industries and cultures,” says Moors. “We connect with real-life situations and, in small groups, apply some of the models and questions to individuals’ own situations. One example is practicing how to overcome resistance to change. I will take on the role of the resistor and demonstrate ways to approach that person who is resisting by asking meaningful and mindful questions. We also discuss questions that the manager or supervisor should be asking themselves, such as ‘how can I better hear what the most important concerns are’ and ‘how may I possibly be contributing to the dysfunction’.” 

Moors is always on the lookout for ways to promote well-being. She has designed an anger management course for the YMCA, held conflict management classes for the Salvation Army, and facilitated workshops with the Plymouth Police Department on the issues surrounding runaway youth, all pro bono. 

“With the police, we discussed the basics of teenage behavior such as group dynamics, peer pressure, and the hormones that cause teenagers to act and think the way they do. We had candid exchanges about how best to approach and build rapport with parents of runaway kids, and I shared other advice during the process,” says Moors.

In addition to consulting and instruction, Moors has presented at HR, tech, educational, and project management conferences. She also facilitates a number of professional development webinars, including some for CCAPS: Building Trust and Credibility, Managing Change and Stress in Unpredictable Times, Leading with Emotional Intelligence, and Facilitating Meaningful Diaglogue on Sensitive Topics. You can watch them all now—for free—on the CCAPS Professional Development Webinars website.

In all cases, Carolien Moors stresses ownership, candor, and self-reflection. “Whether in our personal or professional lives, we need to reflect on our own beliefs and actions and take responsibility for our own part in creating crucial conversations, effective collaborations, and in bringing about meaningful and positive change.”