We are at the cutting edge of developing the field of transformative coaching, and nothing gives us more joy than seeing coaches we train take the benefits of this style of working into the wider world.
What Is Transformative Coaching? #
Transformative 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.
The Transformative Coaching Model #
You might say that transformative coaching is a ‘model’ itself but in fact it is more a philosophy and approach than a model. It draws on so many other models and is inherently client-focused. Therefore, how transformative coaching is experienced by one client is likely quite different to that of another.
At Animas, we work on the basis of five key principles in transformative coaching:
Transformative coaching is:
- Phenomenological– The starting point for all transformative coaching is a genuine and deep inquiry in the client’s lived experience.
- Psychological – It explores the client both inside as well as the outside and so look at a client’s beliefs, values, expectations, assumptions and psychological patterns that guide how they show up in life or the workplace.
- Humanistic – It builds on the assumption that clients are whole, unbroken and have the resources they need to make changes.
- Systemic and Holistic – We take as a given that people are part of systems that in some way shape, constrain and support them and transformative coaching seeks to recognise the impact of a client’s systems.
- Integrative – Draws from a wide range of schools of thought, it enables coaches to find their own unique, psychologically grounded way of working with clients.
How Does Transformative Coaching Differ From Traditional Coaching? #
Both traditional coaching and transformative coaching have many shared qualities such as open questioning and focusing on the client for answers, but there are also key differences to be found. In traditional forms of coaching, we see certain restrictions on the part of both the coach and the individual receiving coaching. This means the client must work within the parameters of the specific model of coaching.
A traditional coach might 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 transformative coach might similarly start with goal setting and a sense of the ideal outcome. However, the work would likely progress differently. In broad terms, in transformative coaching 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 around their view of the world, the stories that have been created in their lives and how this affects how they live.
A transformative 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.
Transformative Coaching Skills #
Whether working as a life coach, executive coach, career coach or integrating with other forms of work, Transformative coaching is about bringing zest, calm, verve, and creativity into everyday life and realising potential. A good transformative coach won’t shy away from the uncomfortable because it is in the uncomfortable that transformation can really occur.
- Deep listening. Absorbing all stimuli, the coach is aware of both what is being said and that which remains unsaid
- Holding space. The coach will create a safe environment for the client to fully open up, using silence as a tool for greater client introspection.
- Observing and identifying. Deeply seeing the client’s beliefs and patterns of behaviour, both transactionally and what lies below the surface
- Reflecting back. Sharing significant information with the client from what the coach has heard, seen and felt in the session
- Challenge. Where relevant the coach will ask the difficult question to elicit change through bringing into the space what isn’t being said
How To Become A Transformative Coach #
Whilst coaching in general remains unregulated, it is clear that a coach who wants to work professionally and within the norms of the profession will need to train and become accredited.
Formal transformative coach training, should offer a comprehensive approach combining live training, supervision, mentoring, as well as client practice hours and, in our view, there is simply no substitute for this training. If the course is accredited by a reputable body (such as the International Coaching Federation), you can be assured of the quality of the training you receive.
Having an experienced, trained coach to provide live training in our view is essential for good quality learning. Live demonstrations of the tools you’re learning, hearing the experiences of an experienced coach & facilitator, having questions answered in-person and breakout sessions to practice with peers are just some of the benefits that formal training provides.
When studying as a group, there are added benefits of being “in it together”. Formal training offers the benefit of a ready-made peer support community, which can be invaluable — not only for practicing the tools and techniques for working with clients, but also for providing you with a supportive community as you delve into your journey as a coach. Some of these people may even become your life-long friends!
You can learn more about our Accredited Diploma in Transformative Coaching here.
If you’d like to explore becoming a transformative coach, get in touch or feel free book yourself onto one of our free introductory sessions to find out more.