What is transformational coaching? There are some similarities between transformational coaching and traditional life coaching. But many transformational coaches will tell you there are some important differences. Transformational coaching is a very powerful form of coaching. Let’s take a closer look:

First, let’s start with a more detailed definition of transformational coaching. Careers In Psychology offers this definition:

Transformational coaching is similar to life coaching. It involves helping people bettering themselves and their lives by bringing about necessary changes. Instead of changing how they act, however, as with life coaching clients, transformational coaching clients work on changing the way they see themselves. This might involve changing their self-image, or perceptions about themselves and their limitations.

The Center For Transformational Coaching explains transformational coaching — and the difference between transformational coaching and life coaching — like this:

In simple terms, transformational coaching is focused on enabling self-actualization. Far more than ‘options-strategy-action’ to attain goals or clarity or to get better at something, transformational coaching dives deep into an individual’s psyche, focusing on who that person is and desires to become. Transformational coaching is therefore an ontological approach because it is about ‘being’ rather than ‘doing.’

From these two definitions we can get the sense that transformational coaching focuses more on helping clients transform their ways of thinking about themselves and the world — whereas life coaching may more commonly follow the “options-strategy-action” model described by The Center For Transformational Coaching.

A good follow-up question might then be, “How do transformational coaches do that?” It’s important to note that transformational coaching — as with all forms of coaching — is not a substitute for mental health care from a licensed mental health care provider. But in situations that are not necessarily mental health problems, a transformational coach might be a good fit.

Let’s take a look at an example of a course of transformational coaching provided by The Center For Transformational Coaching.

In this example, Leon VanderPol, a transformational coach, describes working with a client he calls Sam. Sam had been highly successful in his career. But Sam was also a bit of a perfectionist, was highly self-critical, and felt he tended to overthink things to the point where it often made him indecisive. VanderPol describes working with Sam to understand himself as “good enough” even when he wasn’t perfect. In VanderPol’s view, this helped Sam let go of certain limiting beliefs he held about himself and to therefore change some of the behaviors and habits Sam had sought to change.

So Transformational coaching can be seen more of an “inside out” approach. Far more than ‘options-strategy-action’ it is a holistic approach that acknowledges every aspect of a person’s being – mental, emotional, physical and spiritual.

There are many styles and definitions of transformational coaching so it is important to ask questions to your coach before hiring to be sure and you your coach are aligned with expectations and desired results.

Whether you seek a life coach, a transformational coach, or another type of coach our wish at LifeGuru is that we can match you with the best coach to help you transform and live a life you love.