Who You Gonna Call?

Dina Steiner, Founder and Director of Spirit at Work ATX

Jeff is the director of design for a video game developer. After two years of unrelenting pressure, plenty of crunch to meet deadlines and several rewrites, the game has launched, but sales are disappointing. As a result, Jeff has been asked to reduce headcount by 20%. The decision weighs on him. He knows his team and their family situations. Every person has real value to him. Jeff starts to avoid going in to the office and delays making a final decision. He is getting pressure from his boss. If only Jeff had someone to talk to who could help him lay out his options, discuss the moral and practical implications, and help him deal with his stress. Enter the workplace spiritual coach!

The idea of workplace spirituality is spreading across corporate America with dedicated yoga classes, prayer and meditation rooms, massage and reiki and other spiritual benefits. Personal spiritual advisors are increasingly common in the C-suite. According to Spirituality, Inc.: Religion in the American Workplace, “Already companies like Boeing, AT&T, Lotus, TLW, Pacific Bell, and Proctor & Gamble have used Spirituality Consultants.” Workplace spiritual coaches are yet another tool for improving well-being and emotional health across the company.

What is a workplace spiritual coach? At Spirit at Work, our coaches are consultants dedicated to your staff who are available and onsite to deal with personal or interpersonal issues that come up from time to time. A coach is a neutral third party in stressful situations and trained to listen to problems and help the employee discover solutions. A coach may offer spiritual advice if asked, but never advocates for or pushes any particular religious agenda.

How is a workplace spiritual coach different from a mental health counselor or therapist? For one thing, we are part of the work environment. As the term “workplace” implies, we visit company workspaces and introduce ourselves in unobtrusive and natural ways. Workers know who we are and have our contact info so that they can initiate contact with us. We are consultants to management and teams dealing with conflict or stressful situations. Workplace spiritual coaches don’t offer long-term counseling or therapy. We are specialists in emotional triage and we know where and when to refer.

Why would a company want a spiritual coach? Because often managers and HR professionals aren’t trained to deal with heavy emotional situations. Often they don’t have to time to invest in deep listening. Sometimes, employees value having a neutral third-party to air grievances, stresses and worries. The main benefit to the company is fewer stressed employees, more cohesive and effective teams and increased satisfaction and retention. In short, it can be a benefit to the bottom line. In researching companies for his book, A Spiritual Audit of Corporate America, business professor Ian I. Mitroff found that “Spirituality could be the ultimate competitive advantage.”

I invite you to contact Spirit at Work to see how cost-effective having your own workplace spiritual coach can be.

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