Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

Given the unique nature of my business and services, I have written some FAQs that may answer some of your general questions about them. They are not meant to be final answers, but a way to begin the conversation. – Rhonda

 

The Basics

Spirituality is the human process of engaging with the transcendent force that speaks to our yearning to find our place and to become more loving when relating with ourselves, others, and the rest of creation.
God is a word that people frequently use when referencing the nature of ultimate reality, the source and culmination of creation. I frequently refer to God as “the Divine” since the term is gender neutral and points to a state of being that is inherently positive and desirable yet as mysterious as it is loving.
Faith, spirituality, and religion are over-lapping concepts.
While faith can refer to one’s religious tradition, it also refers to our readiness to be transformed and led by the Divine.
Spirituality is related to faith in that our spirituality is focused on that aspect of reality in which we have the most trust. This reality is frequently articulated in religious terms.
Religion is system of thought or worldview that describes how people can best relate to each other and the Divine in order to achieve ideal personal, familial, and social ends. When a person places their faith in the Divine, they enter more fully into that relationship through spirituality.
Some people believe that religion and/or spirituality is a crutch for people who have limited physical, psychological, or intellectual resources. While it is true that people who make up disenfranchised groups tend to be more likely to rely on spiritual resources to aid them, they may be more likely to do so because their experience has helped them see through the shallowness of the resources that people who are more well-to-do rely upon.
Some people think that spirituality is a luxury that people who have disposable time and energy choose to spend their time. Spirituality, when it is oriented toward personal and social transformation, goes beyond a feel-good endeavor. When a person takes spirituality seriously, they will be faced with overcoming the obstacles that limit their ability to be their best selves. Ultimately, spirituality is about getting better rather than merely feeling better.
People who are deeply spiritual are frequently both mystics and prophets. Those souls who peer into and claim loving mystery as their passion can be the same people who best recognize how society needs to change in order to repair the damage that lies in the wake of human activity. By taking time to deepen their spiritually, people usually find clearer direction, greater capacity, and more vital energy for engaging the social issues of our time.

Differentiating Types of Services

The goal of spiritual direction is to help a person grow in their ability to be aware of, respond to, and develop a relationship with the Divine. Developing a relationship with the Divine can help a person clarify their image of the Divine, align their life with higher purposes that serve the common good, discover their life calling or purpose, and grapple with life transitions and suffering.
The goal of spiritual direction is to help a person grow in their ability to be aware of, respond to, and develop a relationship with God. On the other hand, the goal of coaching is to help a person become more successful in achieving particular work-related goals that they or their employer have for them.
Spiritual Coaching, at least in my practice, is essentially the same as spiritual direction. The key difference between Spiritual Coaching and spiritual direction is that the focus of the spiritual direction that I offer revolves around work. By work, I mean the tasks that one is compensated for by people outside the family via monetary payment. Work also encompasses the workplace, whether it is a business, nonprofit, or governmental organization. While our conversation includes the other aspects of faith and life, the primary goal is to help a person integrate their faith and/or spirituality into their work and workplace in a way that is more meaningful and satisfying to them.
Spiritual direction is different from counseling and psychotherapy in that spiritual direction is focused on the person’s relationship with God rather than helping them overcome obstacles in their personal life or to help them heal from the emotional and relational harm associated with their childhood. While growing in relationship with God is entangled with our previous relationships, the primary focus is the person’s relationship with God and the pursuit of the freedom and joy associated with it.

Spiritual Coaching

If you lack a sense of meaning and purpose or have a sense that something is missing in your life, Spiritual Coaching can help you find a deeper source of meaning and connection. If you feel confined by your faith and work lives being separate, Spiritual Coaching can help you integrate them. Also if you have a sense you are called to something but don’t know what it is or you have frequently run into roadblocks when attempting to live into it, Spiritual Coaching can help.
No, you do not need to be a Christian to receive Spiritual Coaching.
Given its overlap with spiritual direction, Spiritual Coaching is rooted in the Christian tradition. However, you will not need to accept a particular doctrine or creed. If you are a person of faith that has chosen to not associate with a religious tradition or if you are a person who grew outside of a faith tradition, Spiritual Coaching is still appropriate.
I believe some spiritual practices, such as Centering Prayer and the Examen, have stood the test of time, so I recommend them highly. However, different spiritual practices work better for some people compared to others and needs change over time. For these reasons, I don’t want to recommend particular ones to any person until I understand them and their needs and concerns better.
A key assumption of spiritual direction (and thus Spiritual Coaching) is that the Divine knows the best choices for us to make along our life journey. Given the ego’s tendency to protect us from harm, people don’t always make the choices that serve them best. The role of a spiritual director or companion is to help you uncover the direction that the Divine desires for you. Traveling alongside guide who knows some of the journey and can help you distinguish the voice of your ego from the voice of the Divine is valuable. By compensating them, you recognize that value and support their work and livelihood.

Workplace Guidance

A business or organization is a good candidate for Workplace Guidance when its central leader or leadership team desires to integrate God’s presence, purposes, and power into the organization. By this I mean, leaders desire to integrate spiritual awareness and decision making into its central decision making practices, align the organization more fully with God’s unique vocation for them, strengthen the workplace community through building more positive relationships, or wish to more faithfully steward its financial, social and environmental connections.
There can be, but fear of legal issues can also be associated with the fear of conflict that can arise from  discussing faith and religious differences openly. Being open to religious diversity can open the door for anxiety, but genuine curiosity and an open mind toward others religious beliefs and practices is also a good way to create deeper appreciation for difference and strengthen community and resilience in the workplace.
It is very unlikely. As long as your organization does not exclude or discriminate against a member of the organization, you should be okay.
To get specific guidance, go to: https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/what-you-should-know-workplace-religious-accommodation

Spiritual Advising

Your business or organization is a good candidate if it’s looking for organizational development consulting that: 1) is spiritually grounded, 2) desires to keeps the dignity and fullness of the human person in mind at all times, and 3) values greater social and environmental well-being.

I draw from published articles and books to support these claims. In most cases, the claims are drawn from articles published in peer-reviewed journals that base their claims on empirical research. There are two exceptions. While corporate spiritual discernment is a central component of some faith traditions, I am not aware of any research-based evidence for the Spiritual Discernment claim. For Vocational Clarity and Alignment, the claims are based on a combination of emerging empirical evidence (the research has been done in other countries where the association of workplace spirituality and organizational performance is more widely welcomed and studied) and secular research. If you would like to discuss the research evidence in more detail, please contact me directly.

Each of the service areas are associated with developing the organizational level of workplace spirituality. Due to the strong influence of organizational context on individuals, these service areas will also influence the workplace spirituality of organizational members.

For the research-based model of workplace spirituality: Spiritual Discernment helps an organization Develop its Inward Life, Vocational Clarity and Alignment helps an organization Align with Higher Purposes, while the remaining content areas help Engender Loving Relationship.

From the perspective of the faith-based model of workplace spirituality, Spiritual Discernment helps an organization Amplify Spirit, Vocational Clarity and Alignment helps to Encourage Faithfulness. In addition, Substantive Engagement, Climate for Compassion, and Synergistic Collaboration help Build Capacity for Spirit while Climate for Fairness, Climate for Forgiveness and Reconciliation, and Conflict Transformation help Reduce Obstacles to Spirit.

It is very unlikely. As long as your organization does not exclude or discriminate against a member or members of the organization, there is no basis for a lawsuit.

Two of the Spiritual Advising service areas have a faith component are: a) Vocational Clarity and Alignment and 2) Spiritual Discernment, as they are based in a belief in a loving, purposeful higher power with whom humans can relate. Four areas are rooted in spiritual beliefs or religious values but do not require a belief in God: 1) Climate for Compassion, 2) Climate for Fairness, and 3) Climate for Forgiveness and Reconciliation, and 4) Substantive Engagement. The remaining areas: 1) Synergistic Collaboration and 2) Conflict Transformation are not explicitly associated with faith or religion.

If you believe that introducing these topics to your organization might create a legal challenge, please let me know prior to agreeing to a contract so we can discuss your concern fully.

Workplace Spirituality

Workplace spirituality is the recognition that employees have an inner life that nourishes and is nourished by meaningful, purposeful work that takes place in the context of community and connectedness (see Houghton, Neck, & Krishnakumar 2016).
Businesses and organizations support workplace spirituality in ways that go beyond implementing policies and procedures when they “develop an inward life, align with higher purposes, and engender loving relationship within and beyond themselves” (Pfaltzgraff-Carlson 2020).

Jeffery D. Houghton, Christopher P. Neck, & Sukumarakurup Krishnakumar (2016). The what, why, and how of spirituality in the workplace revisited: a 14-year update and extension, Journal of Management, Spirituality & Religion, 13:3, 177-205, DOI: 10.1080/14766086.2016.1185292

Rhonda Pfaltzgraff-Carlson (2020). Reconceptualizing organizational spirituality: Theological roots for scientific and practical fruits, Journal of Management, Spirituality & Religion, 17:3, 249-269, DOI:10.1080/14766086.2020.1762712

People who are not engaged by their job or work role frequently experience a lack of meaning or purpose associated with their work. It not only decreases their productivity and quality of their work, but also leaves them feeling less satisfied, not only with their work, but also with their life.
Executive directors and other nonprofit leaders are charged with carrying out a mission that serves people who have intense needs or whose needs are not being met by conventional services or a mission that helps resolve other social or environmental concerns. Workplace spirituality helps leaders stay focused and resilient when leading and managing others who are charged with accomplishing these tasks. It also helps leaders create community and develop a sense of meaning that helps to mitigate burnout.
Business leaders are frequently under intense pressure to help an organization achieve its goals. Workplace spirituality helps organizations stay focused on their fundamental priorities, so they can make more accurate decisions and take more effective actions. It also helps organizations create settings that lead to better team collaboration and cohesion which can lead to greater innovation and resilience. Workplace spirituality also helps individual leaders develop the qualities associated with spiritual leadership.

The purpose of spiritual leadership is to create vision and value congruence across the individual, empowered team, and organization to foster higher levels of employee well-being, commitment, and productivity. Spiritual leadership is sourced through an inner life or spiritual practice that generates hope/faith in a vision of serving others through a culture based on altruistic values to satisfy universal spiritual needs for calling and membership.

The spiritual leadership model has seen extensive testing and support in a variety of organizations and cultures, including having a positive influence on organizational commitment, job satisfaction, altruism, conscientiousness, self-career management, sales growth, job involvement, identification, retention, organizational citizenship behavior, attachment, loyalty, and work unit productivity and being negatively related to inter-role conflict, frustration, earning manipulation, and instrumental commitment (Yang & Fry, 2018).

Mari Yang & Louis. W. Fry (2018) The role of spiritual leadership in reducing healthcare worker burnout, Journal of Management, Spirituality & Religion, 15:4, 305-324, DOI:10.1080/14766086.2018.1482562.

Within the Academy of Management (AOM), the preeminent, global, professional association for management and organization scholars, a number of researchers study the role of spirituality and religion in the workplace. About twenty years ago, these researchers came together and formed AOM’s Management, Spirituality, and Religion Interest Group. The scholars in this group focus on developing interdisciplinary, theoretical, and applied research and pedagogy related to the relevance and relationship of spirituality and religion in management and organizational life.

While the field is relatively new, research has documented many individual and organizational-level benefits associated with workplace spirituality. While conceptual and empirical articles associated with workplace spirituality, and related topics, are published broadly, the primary journal that publishes this research is the Journal of Management, Spirituality & Religion.

If you are interested to know more about the research evidence, please contact me. I am open to presenting to groups, developing webinars, and offering training programs on these topics, so let me know what interests you most.

There is a fundamental inconsistency when the business pursuits minimize the humanity of people, serve to structure or reinforce inequality in social structures, or harm the environment. Almost all business people do not seek to create or reinforce harm, so that is why it is important for them to counter capitalistic ideologies with spiritual and religious belief systems that support the common good.

About Rhonda

I am a Quaker Christian. My religious roots are in the denominations associated with the traditional peace churches: the Church of the Brethren, the Mennonites, and the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). I made my way to Friends as an adult and have remained a Quaker due to the depth and transformative nature of its spirituality.
I believe that conversion happens through relationship with the Spirit. If I can say something that helps you engage more fully with the Divine, I will be satisfied. I leave the work of conversion to the Spirit and will not try to convince you that my faith tradition or denomination is the best one for you.
I would welcome the opportunity to work one-on-one with a person from another major world religion. With that said, unless you are suffering from religious wounding and are needing to seek guidance outside of your faith tradition, I suggest that you seek spiritual direction or teaching within your current tradition. I believe that our faith can be strengthened by conversation with people who come from different religious backgrounds and perspectives, but that is usually most productive when we are deeply attuned with our own.

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I want to hear from you. Let me know if you have a question that’s not addressed here.

 

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