What is transformational coaching?
Firstly, Coaching is the act and process of helping people, it’s creating partnerships based on trust, it is listening and asking great, artful questions to enable clients to think in new and creative ways so that they can understand themselves and their issues, commit to smart action to change their experiences, and bring about meaningful change.The strength and power of coaching is based on a level of openness and trust between the coach and client. The nature of the relationship is not just about outcomes, but also about helping an individual to better understand himself or herself and from this to grow and change as an individual.
Transformational Coaching has evolved as a more complete approach to coaching, moving away from a simple performance-focused tool that is traditionally used to one of a humanistic and psychological focus, where the whole person is taken into account – not just what is visible on the surface. It is a reflective way of coaching that aims to explore a client’s cognitive, emotional, sensory and relational patterns in order to create a more complete understanding of their perspective on the world.
Through this awareness, there is much more potential for clients to unlock bigger transformative shifts, break down the negative patterns or beliefs that may have held them back and – most importantly – open up the path to achieve the outcomes or changes they genuinely want to see in their lives.
What is the difference between traditional or transactional coaching and transformational coaching?
What sets transformational approach apart is that rather than focusing on simply changing one’s actions and behaviors, the focus is on creating lasting shifts in their “being” and their mindset. Better self-awareness is the first step in making meaningful shifts in behaviors and habits.
Many times this involves focusing on your self-image and perception, becoming aware of your strengths and weaknesses, uncovering “stories,” breaking up negative thought-patterns, and rewiring limiting beliefs.
A traditional coach will focus on a client’s goals and objectives, working collaboratively to explore possible ways to achieve it, blockers that could prevent success and ultimately to shape a realistic plan to help the client reach their desired result.
A Transformational Coach might similarly start with goal setting and a sense of the ideal outcome. The work would likely progress differently, however. In broad terms, in the transformational coaching space a coach is much more likely to explore a client’s view of the world, view of self and their relationships. This will involve looking at their current set of assumptions around things that matter most to them, their beliefs, their values, their use of language and what this reveals about their view of the world, the stories that have been created in their lives and how this affects how they live. Thus, a Transformational Coach provides a space to improve a person’s self-awareness and to see themselves afresh. This root-cause approach in turn can help to facilitate profound change in the client’s lives, more so than in other traditional forms of life coaching.
Transaction is defined in the dictionary as, “transacting of any piece of communication, business deal or negotiation.” A transactional coaching conversation focuses on as you would expect ‘a transaction’. Transactional coaching helps the client to achieve a short-term goal or change in performance. It focuses on the external symptom or problem and can be very practical style to use. Transactional coaching facilitates the client to arrive at his/her own problem solutions from an external action which often results in a shift in doing. This can be particularly suitable for situations where a specific outcome is required either by the client or commonly by the organization procuring the coaching on behalf of the client such as overcoming a challenge or improving a specific behavior. Ultimately, we can predict that although the client may achieve some short-term changes and make some progress any change has a limited chance of becoming sustainable if the focus remains on the symptom and not on the cause, we run the risk of not actually solving the problem, but just temporarily bandaging / fixes the external symptom of the problem. Without this deeper focus, we may also miss the chance to
see the client enabled and empowered to handle similar issues in the future or ideally being able to avoid the issue happening in the first place.
Transformation is defined in the dictionary as, “change in form, appearance, condition, nature and character” considerably.While transactional coaching takes the client from Point ‘A’ to Point “B”, transformational coaching takes a client from “Point “A” to Point “D’. As a thinking partner, the transformational coach asks her client to go deeper, to work on the underlying issue and thinking to become future focused rather than focused on the past issue. The client is asked to consider their values, strengths, assumptions and to adjust focus to aligning deeply with who they really are. It is about building a meaningful and solid foundation upon which the client can build their future upon by focusing on changing the way that they think and therefore feel rather than just on the way that they act. Because the process of transformational coaching focuses on changing thinking and perspective as the best predictor of future behavior of the client, D we get to see thejourney of change and of an individual meeting their greatest potential.
Transformational coaches can and will coach transactionally at times; inevitably there will be times when it is desirable to think or act in a more transactional manner. However, the transformational coach’s role is to maintain focus on the growth potentials of the deeper realm, and encourage exploration of being as precursor to taking action. Being is paramount to doing, and doing flows from being.
What’s the role of a transformational coach?
A transformational coach works together with his client to bring about radical, lasting changes in the latter’s life. They dig deep, below all the surface-level stuff, to truly transform the client’s deep-rooted thoughts, beliefs, and way of being.
Transformational coaching is the “vehicle” that gets you to where you want to go.
Together, the Coach and his/her client embark on a powerful journey of self-discovery and exploration to help the client become more self-aware. This process allows them to uncover their true “why,” or their purpose, and then they co-create a detailed plan to make sure their goals, actions, and beliefs are aligned with that purpose.
Whatever a person’s unique goals are, the Coachsupports in rewiring any negative thought-patterns and breaking through any limiting beliefs holding them back. The Coach helps uncover what’s truly standing in the way of one’s ambitions and figure out what it’s going to take to get them to where they want to be.
How does transformational coaching method work?
The ultimate goal of transformational coaching is to empower the client with the confidence to trust themselves, follow their intuition, and look within to find their own solutions moving forward.
As I mentioned earlier, the focus is on clarifying a person’s “why,” and then identify any roadblocks, internal and external, keeping them from the life they desire to create. The Coach helps map out next steps and helps move forward with intentional actions to create a shift in a person’s “being.”
Here are a few important concepts that the coach and his Client will focus on together:
“Being” vs. “Doing”
You can think of “doing,” in simple terms, as the actions you take. It’s quite literally what you do. Doing encompasses the decisions you make, as well as your habits, routines, and behaviors.
“Being,” on the other hand, is who you are. It’s what you find underneath all the doing. This includes your values, thought patterns, beliefs, stories, and assumptions. This part of you has usually been learned from others and conditioned throughout your life.
Transformational coaching is focused on creating shifts in your being. It’s the work at this deeper level that creates lasting change. Your actions will then follow and align with your new state of being.
In order to create shifts in your being, it’s necessary to first work on becoming more self-aware. This is where the journey of self-discovery and self-exploration come in.
Who are you really? What are your values and beliefs? What’s important to you, and what internal factors are holding you back?
Understanding yourself and your personal answers to the above questions will give us a foundation to work on moving forward.
Stories and Storytelling
Stories are your personal narrative or context. They are how you think, and how you interpret and create meaning around your experiences. Our “stories” are usually things we pick up over the course of our lives and begin to accept as “fact.” They are greatly influenced by our environment and those around us like family, friends, peers, bosses, and co-workers.
We tell ourselves stories all the time, and these stories impact how we think, feel, see ourselves, and even how we related to others. They play a crucial role in our lives, who we are, and what we do.
An example of a few stories that you may tell yourself:
- “Climbing the corporate ladder is the only way to live a successful life.”
- “Making money is hard. Being financially stable means working late nights and putting work above all else.”
Until we identify the stories we’re living in, it’s impossible to rewrite them.
We constantly think and live within our stories. We often move forward with life based on these set narratives that we tell ourselves. BUT it turns out that we have the power to choose which stories to tell ourselves. AND if our stories are no longer serving us, we can swap the script for a more empowering one. That’s where transformational coaching comes in!
Our limiting beliefs are directly related to our stories
Limiting beliefs are those stories that we choose to believe as our truth. We accept these beliefs as fact and use them to convince ourselves that certain things aren’t possible. These limiting beliefs are any judgments, experiences, doubts, feelings, and fears that we use to justify why something won’t work.
When we allow our limiting beliefs to influence our decisions, we are holding ourselves back from achieving what is really possible.
Negative Thought Patterns
Unlike your limiting beliefs (above), negative thinking patterns or negative feedback loops aren’t a constant. Rather, they tend to pop up when you are faced with an obstacle, challenge, or stressful situation and only further reinforce your limiting beliefs.
Over time, these nagging thoughts become a habit and we may not even realize that we’re responding negatively to outside stimuli. This is our mind’s attempt to maintain safety during uncertainty and a natural defense mechanism.
Through transformational coaching, we work on first consciously recognizing these thought patterns, and then rewiring them and replacing them with something more positive and empowering.
Coaching is a partnership
You may have noticed that words like “together” and “co-create” throughout this article. At its core, coaching is a collaborative relationship.
As the coaching client, you are in the driver’s seat. You are the only one that knows what’s best for you. You are the expert of your own life.
The Coach is there to guide you, keep you on track, and open your mind to new ways of thinking and different perspectives. He will also provide powerful reflections and constructive feedback when appropriate. BUT, throughout the whole process you are in control.
Coaching sessions are a safe space for you to think, open up, and be more intentional about your goals and actions.
The Coach will not tell you exactly what to do or to provide all the answers. He will ask you thought-provoking questions and help you dig deep to uncover your answers and solutions inside yourself. He will point out any limiting beliefs and negative thought patterns that he’s hearing and help you see where your thinking is stuck or holding you back.
Gaining self-awareness allows you to become the most empowered and authentic version of yourself.
Instead of chalking your situation up to “well, that’s just the way things are” or “I can’t help it. It’s out of my hands,” you will work with your Coach to take your power back and take back control of your life. You’ll be able to take personal responsibility for yourself and your situation, and also recognize how your way of being and unique set of values and beliefs contribute to your overall wellness, effectiveness, and level of happiness.
Transformational coaches focus on nailing down what makes up the person you are today and also who it is that you desire to become. Once we’ve got that figured out, you work together to bridge the gap.
INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE AND SEEING IF TRANSFORMATIONAL COACHING IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
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