Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Our Purpose as Coaches

Posted on Wednesday, December 12, 2012 by International Coach Federation

Two bricklayers are working alongside one another at a building site. Someone asks them both what they're doing.

The first bricklayer replies, "I put mortar on these bricks and pile them up in a line. I try to make it as neat as possible’

The other bricklayer smiles and says "I'm helping to build the new cathedral."

We've all met people who focus on the "what" they're doing instead of the "why" they're doing it. It's difficult to feel passionate about something when we're missing the meaning behind what we're doing and why we're here.

The Purpose of Knowing Your Purpose

How a person defines purpose has as much to do with his or her mindset as it does with any other beliefs.

Defining purpose in work, life and business is not about the daily tasks, it's about the reason for the tasks in the first place – the why, not the what. Discovering purpose allows us to create the vision behind the tasks, and knowing that vision can dramatically change results.

For example, a chef's purpose is not to cook food – that's a task. The reason for this task is to help people enjoy life by having a good time with loved ones around a meal they didn't have to prepare (or clean up) themselves.

People who are fulfilled at work know how the work they do supports the company's vision, values and goals whether it's their own company or someone else's.

Coaches who are fulfilled know that whilst they need to know the ‘what’  - the skills and techniques to support clients, they also need to keep in mind the ‘why’ so it all makes sense.  They know what’s important to them as a coach.  

How to determine your purpose?

Determine your strengths.  For example as a coach, find out from clients and fellow coaches what they see as your ‘unique-ness’ as a coach e.g. getting to the key point in a coaching conversation or holding a much bigger vision for your clients. We all have something that makes us standout.

Determine your passions or values. As coaches you’ll know about values and passions – these are the things you love to do - with or without external rewards (like money or recognition).

Determine your causes. What in the world makes you feel discontent or compels you to action?

Find the sweet spot. After determining your strengths, passions and causes, find the overlap between them. That's the sweet spot, where you're likely to find the most fulfilment in your coaching life.

Knowing your purpose helps:

  • Give meaning to everything you do.
  • Guide you through tough times and difficult decisions.
  • Encourage you to follow your instinct instead of following the crowd.
Whether you're a bricklayer, a coach or a CEO it's ultimately through being clear on purpose that makes us be most fulfilled and impactful.

Claire Palmer, PCC
By Claire Palmer PCC, Executive & Career Coach, Coach Supervisor. Claire is passionate about her clients being fulfilled & successful in their career, work and life. She has an innate ability to focus ‘right in’, with deep understanding, to what’s important and from there work with her clients to identify the practical action that achieves results, often more than expected. Claire is a Past President & Board member UK International Coach Federation and a past co-chair, ICF Global Regulatory Committee.

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