With coaching becoming more prevalent for professionals and leaders in the working world, comparisons with spiritual practices are beginning to be made. We hear a lot said about people ‘finding’ themselves and/or the importance of practising self-care. However, is coaching a part of all that, or something different entirely?
Let’s first look at the definitions of both:
COACH: give (someone) professional advice on how to attain their goals.
SPIRITUALITY: the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.
These definitions, at first glance, might seem to immediately separate the two. Professional coaching could, for example, be interpreted as a concern for the material and the physical, seeing as it relates to career and, ultimately, salary. Having said that, job satisfaction can often be associated with personal fulfilment and wellbeing – traits associated with spirituality – so, this can be argued both ways.
A Mixture of Meaning
Coaching can be a very pragmatic practice – addressing issues, finding solutions and achieving goals. Spirituality might be considered, by some, as the opposite end of the spectrum – idealism rather than pragmatism.
There is some interesting crossover here, though. As well as problem solving, coaching involves the identifying of habits and behaviours that might affect a person’s ability to move forward. Spiritual practices encourage a person to look inward at themselves, identify what is holding them back, and releasing that which is no longer serving them in order to move forward. In this regard, coaching and spirituality can be very similar.
The Element of ‘Self’
To look inward at one’s self is an element of both working with a coach and working on one’s self spiritually. As part of both practices, it’s about quieting down all the ‘noise’ inside the mind and getting to the crux of why we are what we are. Only when we identify the source of a particular behaviour or issue can we truly step into our own power and shine as brightly as we ought to.
In that respect, you might say there is an element of psychology involved in both coaching and spiritual practices. The recipient of either the coaching or the healing is encouraged to psychoanalyse themselves. Often there are answers to the way we react in certain situations which are tied to past pain and/or personal trauma.
For example, in the workplace, you may become anxious at the prospect of change, due to an unexpected redundancy in a previous role, which prevents you from wanting to progress. Or, you may get defensive when your work is criticised, because a colleague insulted your efforts previously in your career, causing upset in your current role.
In this respect, coaching and spirituality appear to go hand-in-hand. Both practices ask the individual to dig deep, acknowledge the reasons behind the things that block them from moving on, let them go, and grow as an individual.
The Positive Impact of Amalgamation
I am finding more and more that combining practical coaching methods with elements of spirituality is proving extremely powerful for my clients. I can no longer deny that these two practices complement one another perfectly. I recently incorporated both meditation and yoga into the Power2Lead 2-Day Residential Coaching Programme. The response from participants was phenomenal. In fact, they fed back to me that the spiritual elements of the programme enabled them to better tune into themselves and make immediate, actionable improvements to their personal and professional development.
Whilst starting out on different trajectories, coaching and spiritual practices intertwine at certain points in the process. At that crossing of paths, it can be impactful for your clients to combine elements of both in order to reach the source of the barriers to their advancement. Coaching and spirituality may be defined as different entities, but they both have similarities and the power to transform lives in positive ways.