All coaches have one thing in common: they help their clients to create change.
While every person has different goals and desires, coaches use their individual skills and expertise to guide and support clients along their journey. At the end of every coaching partnership, there should be a clear sign of progress made toward a desired goal. Clients will often see a change in their circumstances as a result of the work accomplished.
Transformational coaching, however, operates a bit differently. Rather than striving for a specific change in circumstance, this type of coaching focuses on the internal shifts that take place within clients. The idea is that by helping clients to take complete inventory of themselves, their thoughts, beliefs, values, etc., coaches can lead them to new heights and actualization of the person they desire to be.
Let’s take a closer look at the role of a transformational coach.
What is a Transformational Coach?
In order to help clients experience a transformation, transformational coaches must adopt a holistic approach. They must explore every avenue that could be of service to their client, even when it is uncomfortable to do so. With this type of coaching, the focus is much more on ‘being’ rather than ‘doing’.
For example, a coaching client who struggles with her weight can approach the problem in several ways. Working with a weight-loss coach, this client may follow a customized plan that guides her in daily diet and exercise behaviors. Eventually, she may reach her goals.
If she chose to work with a transformational coach, however, she would follow a different approach altogether. The transformational coach will likely explore the emotional and mental thought patterns that have led to this issue. By helping the client to rewire their thoughts and behaviors, the client can change the habits that led her to experiencing issues with her weight.
Whereas the weight loss coach focused on helping the client to make better food and exercise choices (doing), the transformational coach focused on reframing and replacing unhealthy thought patterns (being).
The goal with transformational coaching is to guide clients in a ‘becoming’ process where they are able to embody their higher self. Clients who work with a transformational coach must be open to deep introspection, evaluation, reflection, and self exploration in order to have a genuine experience and outcome. Compared to other forms of coaching, this process will be non-linear and may also take a bit longer to achieve lasting results.
Getting to Know Your Client
As coaches work with clients, it is important to spend sufficient time learning as much about them as possible. You’ll want to explore the details of all aspects of their life in order to gain an accurate understanding of where they currently are with their thoughts, beliefs, and values.
For example, you may wish to examine your client’s cultural identity, which includes details about their religion, gender role, community, language, etc. Depending on your client’s cultural norms, you may garner more insight into how they show up in their personal and professional lives as well as how they perceive the world around them.
It’s also important to take note of your client’s physical, mental, and spiritual practices so that you can look for any patterns, holes, and/or strengths that may be hindering or accelerating a genuine shift.
A simple and powerful tool to begin this inventory is a life coach wheel. The life coach wheel is a popular resource used by coaches to assess client attitudes and perceptions about different areas of their life, including their finances, health, relationships, work life, etc.
By observing how your client perceives each area of their life, you can start to dig a little deeper to uncover some valuable insights about their deeply held beliefs and current mindset. A holistic assessment of your client will allow you to begin the transformational process.
Challenges and Approach
All coaching should be in service to your clients. As a coach, this can sometimes be difficult, especially when you challenge your client’s current thinking patterns. For a transformational coach, this may get even trickier as you find yourself delving deeply into sensitive mental and emotional territory.
In the process of helping your client uncover truths about themselves, it may lead to feelings of unease. During these times, coaches must remain committed to the process in order to nurture a transformation, no matter how long it takes or how uncomfortable it may be. To avoid conflict, clear boundaries and expectations should be established at the onset of the coaching relationship. It is important that coaches clearly communicate the process and expectations to their clients beforehand so there is a mutual understanding and commitment to the process before beginning.
A transformational coach should be equipped and skilled at asking the right questions, offering valuable insight, and making appropriate suggestions for their client based on what is being observed and discovered. This requires coaches to create environments that are free of any judgment or bias. The sole focus is the internal growth happening inside of your client and this requires a fierce dedication to exploring every possible path to make that happen.
A transformational coach gently but firmly persists in pursuing every method available that will ultimately lead their client to embody a new and higher version of themselves.
Most life coaches will agree that one of the most rewarding parts of their job is being able to see their clients succeed in reaching their goals. For a transformational coach, the goal is to lead clients in embodying a new identity. The process that leads to this result includes working with clients to reframe, rewrite, and rewire current thought patterns and behaviors. Over time, coaches will begin to see their clients speak and show up in new ways because of the inside work they are doing to reprogram their thoughts and beliefs.
A client who enters coaching with a limited mindset and low confidence may slowly, over time, begin to speak and behave in ways that reflect greater self esteem after spending some time working on these areas. For example, they may start to show up more powerfully at work and in their relationships. They may exude more authority and self assurance in their interactions.
The impact of working with a transformational coach are many, including a greater self awareness, higher emotional intelligence, new insights and perspectives, increased motivation, creative problem solving, and so much more. Through the coaching process, clients will see firsthand the benefit of stepping out of their comfort zones in order to see powerful growth. By stretching their boundaries, clients open themselves up to new learning and development- and this is where the magic happens for so many.
If transformational coaching seems like the right fit for you, there are several steps you can take today to get you going. As with all of the life coaching industry, you can pursue a career in this field either with or without certification, although it is highly recommended that you choose to prepare through a qualified coaching program.
For all coaches, there is great value in doing what you ask of your own clients — commit to learning, growing, and evolving by being a student first. While you decide on certification, you can begin studying by reading and watching videos on transformational coaching. Practice and hone your thinking, listening, and questioning skills so that you can serve your future clients well by leading them into life changing and powerful transformation.
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