The importance of coaching for meaning and purpose

work gives you meaning and purpose

“Man’s search for meaning is the primary motivation in his life.” Viktor Frankl

“Self-actualizers seek meaning and purpose and very often find it by contributing to others, to their community, or to society at large. More and more people are demonstrating that they care as much about fairness and the plight of others as they do about themselves. These emerging altruistic tendencies are also causing them to question corporate ethics and values as well as the profit motive.

“…ordinary people want more say in how they are treated at work and by business. It is not surprising that the issue of meaning and purpose is being raised more and more often stemming from the desire to escape from what many see as a meaningless corporate world and to go independent. On the other hand, coaching is an invaluable tool for helping staff clarify their own thoughts and remove the confusion and frustration that makes it unlikely that they will give their best effort. Countered by the need for security, some people may well choose to stay put for a time, but dissatisfaction is likely to haunt them. Others may leave the organization anyway, but most can discover how to find meaning in their existing work, or in part-time charity or community activities outside of work, and thereby maintain their performance with greater willingness and satisfaction.

“Meaning and purpose are spoken of as being joined at the hip, but they are not identical and they need to be distinguished. Meaning is the significance we ascribe to an event or an action in hindsight, while purpose is our intent to embark on a course of action. Meaning is mainly psychological, whereas purpose is a spiritual concept. To be more precise, we should specify either meaning or purpose or both when coaching others.” John Whitmore, Coaching for Performance

The importance of coaching for meaning and purpose cannot be overemphasized as gen-Xers become more altruistic as they age  and move out of the workforce and millennials seeking the “why” behind everything move into organizations. Employee engagement and loyalty, high productivity, innovation and creativity, great customer service…and, finally, profit are the outcomes of coaching for meaning and purpose, yet it’s still all too rare in organizations of all types and sizes. Why not give it a shot? You have little to lose and a lot to gain…and you’ll learn a lot in the process.

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