By Peter Hyson (United Kingdom)

In the April edition of the ICN, James Sale made the powerful case for including spirituality in coaching practices. I want to take that a stage further by showing its centrality for outstanding leadership and offer some suggestions for coaching leaders in the growing area of spiritual intelligence. Finally I want to indicate the strong business imperative as well as the important personal value in this.

In my opinion it’s vitally important to distinguish between ‘religion’ and ‘spirituality’ from the outset. This may be because of my business background where religion is arguably the last taboo, something to be left at the entry door like a soggy raincoat. But I prefer to think it’s about clarity and understanding. So here are my personal definitions:

Spirituality refers to our innate need to connect to something larger than ourselves – something divine or sacred. Religion refers to a set of defined and organised ritualistic beliefs and their institutional enactment. That institution commonly manages a set of agreed narratives, symbols, beliefs and practices that give meaning to their followers’ experiences. These often include prayer, ritual, meditation, music and art. It tends to be both formulaic and corporate.

Source: iCN Issue 5 (Leadership Coaching); pages 81-83