The Guide’s Motivations

In the previous section, we looked at the impact of the organization’s purpose on the adventures. Now it’s time to look at our own motivations and why we guide.

Our interests and motivations as a guide have a major impact on all aspects of the adventure. There are many reasons why we choose to lead tours, including a love for the activities offered, a passion for sharing what we love about the region with others and a desire to challenge ourselves. These motivations influence how we facilitate the adventure and can lead to positive or negative experiences of the guests.

A sense of purpose has been shown to have a greater impact on performance at work than passion. One reason for this is that while passion is individualistic, purpose is about impacting others. This is important to us for two main reasons. First, the enthusiasm of guides who enjoy what they’re doing is a major influence on the enjoyment of the guests. Second, guiding is hard work with long hours in often harsh conditions. It’s nearly impossible to create a positive experience for the guests when our motivations are not aligned with the adventure. The reward, often seen through the enjoyment the adventure creates in the guests, needs to match the effort required.

This leads to the need to match the right objective for the adventure with the guide’s motivations. Two scenarios that we often see that lead to a poor guest experience are:

A guide motivated by reaching summits paired with an adventure focused on the journey. This often leads to boredom for the guide, resulting in the details being overlooked and a loss of enthusiasm. This can also lead a guide who is motivated by pushing themselves to push the guests too far.

A guide motivated by the journey paired with an adventure focused on the destination. This often leads to the guide feeling rushed, without enough time to share stories along the way. In this case the facilitation often becomes mechanical with the guide using all their focus to ensure that the destination is reached, leaving no room for enjoyment along the way.

These two examples are the extremes, but we’ve all had experiences somewhere between those two where the disconnect in the purpose of the adventure is obvious. In some cases it’s possible to modify the adventure to ensure that the guide’s motivations can be met. This requires that both the staff crafting the adventure and the guides understand how different types of motivations will impact the adventure. Three types of motivations to keep in mind are:

  • Motivations that are not compatible with the adventure. These are activities the guide should pursue on their own time.
  • Motivations that are a great fit with the adventure. A passion for the outdoors, local history or the environment. These should be included in the planning of the adventure whenever possible, understanding that the guide will need to adapt how deep they go based on the guests.
  • Motivations that do not directly improve the guest experience but must be met. These must be accounted for in the planning when the itinerary is being built and include things like personal time, pace, coffee breaks, etc.

Finding the balance between the organization’s purpose, the purpose of the adventure and the guide’s motivations creates an adventure that is more enjoyable for everyone involved.

Introverts vs Extroverts