A useful coaching question to ask when trying to help someone take a wider perspective on their life is "What would you like your epitaph to be?". A similar question was asked by the market research organisation NOP on behalf of the magazine Resurgence. In February, a balanced sample of 1000 UK adults were asked: "Which, if any, of the following types of people would you most like to be remembered as?" and evoked the following responses:
- A kind person 36%
- A good parent 32%
- Someone who made the world a better place 17%
- Intelligent or creative 9%
- Others/Don't know 4%
- A wealthy and successful business person 2%
It is, in part, this discrepancy between what society values and what individuals value that is driving the growth of the mentoring and coaching, even in the business sector. People are seeking ways to live and work which not only provide for their material needs but also for their need to do something that has a deeper meaning, and that is based on who they are as people rather than on what they have achieved.