Most times when I’m invited to coach inside an organization, the focus is on driving performance. Helping people learn new skills and behaviour so they can meet their performance goals which in turn drive the bottom line performance of the company.
But when an individual comes to coaching it’s a different story. For people, fulfillment is the bottom line – every time. Fulfillment is that feeling of happiness and satisfaction that comes from living true to your values, developing your strengths and putting them to work to make a positive difference in the world.
Lately, the line between personal and corporate coaching has been blurring. More and more people, inside and outside the corporate world, are naming fulfillment as their coaching agenda.
There are many reasons for this. Not least of them the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous conditions that threaten to burn out the most committed and ambitious. But I think it’s bigger than that. I think we’re in the middle of a world wide crisis of meaning. People everywhere are seeking a greater sense of connection between what they do and what they care about.
This was brought home to me recently when I read an article in the Business Insider, titled Why Stanford Students Are Turning Down $150,000 Salaries. It turns out that even brightest and most ambitious of us place meaning high up in the stacking order these days. When the students were asked what was most important they said things like: I want to work with interesting people on interesting problems that will make the world a better place. I want to learn, grow, and be nurtured but not coddled. I want to be challenged. I want to work on things that are personally meaningful to me.
Fulfillment may seem like an idealistic thing to shoot for in this materialistic world. But it’s what we long for, whether we are brave enough to go after it or not.