The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Should life coaches encourage spiritual growth as part of helping their clients? This controversial question sparks many heated debates among the coaching community. It’s not uncommon to see some coaches dismiss the idea, while others are on board with it completely. Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of encouraging spiritual growth in your clients, so you can decide if it’s right for you and your practice.
While there are many different definitions of spirituality, one that’s popular is that spirituality is an individual’s journey toward wholeness. It encompasses one’s search to understand truth, beauty, and goodness, as well as their relationship with self, others, and God. Spiritual growth allows us to reach our highest potential.
Spirituality is ultimately a process of aligning with your values, finding balance in your life, and gaining perspective. For this reason, many life coaches feel there is an inherent tie to religion.
If you’re a life coach and your client is seeking to grow personally, you may wonder how spiritual growth fits into your coaching sessions. The fact is that, in many ways, spiritual growth and self-development are related. After all, both require introspection and increasing awareness of one’s motives and needs, so it makes sense that they might go hand in hand.
Common wisdom says life coaches should encourage spiritual growth in their clients and studies back up that idea. According to a former professor of psychology at Harvard University, Abraham Maslow, our health is always highest when our spiritual needs are met. It makes sense then that spirituality—the cultivation of one’s relationship with a higher power or their connection to humanity—would be good for mental and physical health.
Research has shown as much: In a 2005 study published in Personality and Social Psychology Review, researchers analyzed 136 separate studies on religion and well-being from 1985 to 2003. They found that those who were more religious tended to have higher self-esteem and lower rates of depression, among other positive outcomes. Whether your client watches church online live or speaks to a religious leader on the phone, getting connected to their spirituality has benefits. A lot of people find comfort in the community of the church and your clients may find that same comfort.
You can’t have a healthy life if you aren’t taking care of yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually. So when life coach helps their clients cultivate their well-being through exercise, self-reflection, and reflection on their relationship with God or any other spiritual figure, they’re helping them achieve balance in all areas of their lives. Many well-known coaches encourage spiritual growth alongside other aspects of development because they feel that spiritual health is imperative to achieving true well-being.
Life coaching is an increasingly popular profession, with many coaches helping their clients achieve success in both their personal and business lives. Coaches are often expected to be guides, confidants, mentors, and even therapists. Keep this information in mind as you consider whether or not to integrate religion into your practice.