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What is Transformative coaching?

Updated: Sep 13, 2021

A simple question with a really simple answer – it’s any coaching where a change is made that supports what you want to achieve in a way that you can connect with and keep.

In this article we will cover the following topics

  • What is Transformative Coaching? (..and what it is not)

  • Why would you want to be coached?

  • The Transformative Coaching Process

  • What you can learn to make your coaching even more transformative

  • The behaviours that make a Transformative Coach

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What is Transformative Coaching?

A simple question with a really simple answer – it’s any coaching where a change is made that supports what you want to achieve in a way that you can connect with and keep.

Straight away I can hear your questions coming in…

  • But how does that transformation happen?

  • What is going on to get that change?

  • What’s involved?

  • Change is hard and difficult to maintain – isn’t it?

  • What if you don’t know what you want?

Many people ask these questions, and rightly so. If transformative coaching is simple, how is it that we are not all doing it all of the time?

What is getting in the way? Why do people feel its ‘not for them’ or say, ‘I can help myself’?

It is true, you can help yourself and it is also true that it is not for everyone. As humans we are a highly adaptive species and are already pre-loaded with a lot of capability to navigate and manage change. We also learn from an early age lots of strategies and ways that work for us as individuals. For most of the time we are very able and sufficiently skilled to manage our lives in a way that suits us. Most of the time.

Sometimes, situations happen where what you would normally do just isn't working, or you just don't know where to start.

Sometimes, the help you need is a bit more than talking to a friend or following the advice of a self help book.

Sometimes, co-creation and partnership is the way.

What Transformative Coaching is not...

  • Forcing change when it is not wanted or needed

  • Changing things in the short term

  • The answer to all of your problems

  • Something that is done to you


Why would you want to be coached?

As with all things in our lives, some of the time we need some help. There are situations and events where no matter what, going it alone will not get you to your goal. You can build a house on your own, you can drive around the world on your own, you can learn a language on your own – and all of those things are so much easier, satisfying and achievable when you have a co-builder, co-driver, co-learner, to do it with.

Transformative coaching is co-creation. You want to achieve something and the benefits of having someone with you to co-create means more possibilities, options and advice are available. Your co-creator provides more opportunities to challenge and support, to share and explore, to walk that journey with you.

It’s as simple as that…


The Transformative Coaching Process

So, what IS the process?

The fact is that the process is completely individual to everyone and that’s because we are all very much individuals with our own ways, strategies and history. There is no ‘one size fits all’ as everyone has their own personal goals, their own personal reasons and their own personal beliefs and values that determine what is important to them and their life.

There are however a set of elements that are essential for the coaching to be transformative.

The process starts by acknowledging that we are all unique and that getting to know yourself more as that unique individual, your patterns of behaviour and what is important to you is a very important first step. Knowledge is power and this means you can make changes in your responses and behaviours that you will adopt because they benefit you more than the old way of doing things. It’s about opening up possibilities, having more choice and creating a different path to walk on.

A coach will provide the environment and the questions that will allow you to open the door and find out more about yourself. Coaches have a lot of tools and skills to bring to the co-creation, but it is not a one-way street. You are not a passive participant and therefore also need to have tools and skills – this is co-creation, not imposed change. Learning and awareness of how you live your life is an important tool to have in your skill set and means that you are now a co-creator with your coach when making any changes to your life.

Transformative Coaching is a co-creation process, with some very high-level elements – and reassuringly, no two journeys are the same.

The Transformative Coaching Process elements are: -

  • Create the space to explore what you want to be different and find out what it is you want to change. Moving from just knowing what you don’t want to really defining what you DO want. We often get caught in the first part and don’t ask the question ‘what do I really want instead’?

  • Understand how you do what you do. Developing awareness and insights into your ‘go to’ ways of responding, strategies and behaviours. What drives you and what stops you are key to developing your journey.

  • Develop skills that allow you to question yourself and strategies that move you forward. It’s like learning how to be your own coach for those times when a small change can be self-managed.

  • Use creative thinking and ‘what if’ planning to design the outcome you want. You can ‘prototype’ your journey to see if it will get you to where you want to be.

  • Try small changes to test and refine the approach. This is a great way to tackle what seem like big changes – how do you eat and elephant? ..One bite at a time.

  • Create a plan with a co-creation partner who can walk beside you, support you and advise you. Having someone to check in with, problem solve with, bounce ideas around with and hold you accountable is definitely the most valuable asset in your overall plan.

Your coach will want to make themselves redundant at the right time in the journey. Just like a sat nav helps the first few times you start a new journey, once you hae done it a few times you no longer need it.

A Transformative coach is the same as a sat nav - at some point they will no longer be needed to navigate that journey - until the next new journey needs a co-creator to walk beside you.


What you can learn to make your coaching even more transformative

As we have said, coaching is not a one-way street and as part of the Transformative Coaching experience you will learn not only soooo much more about yourself, but you will also acquire skills and tools to raise the power of the change you want to make.

Some of the things you can learn have been talked about in our Shared Inspiration blogs and will showcase how you can influence your attitudes, thinking, behaviours and practices in a way that provides immense benefits.

Here is a brief summary of each of these learning opportunities.

In this series of blogs we consider how being flexible helps with adapting to changing circumstances and explores useful ways of thinking and behaving that support flexibility

What is motivation, how to get motivated and what stops us being motivated. This series gets behind some of the fundamental things you can do to tackle a lack of motivation

Being in flow is a state of mastery and focus, and we can all learn how to do this – in fact, you may already be doing this and not realising the important effect this can have on our overall wellness. This series looks at how focus and challenge combine to provide useful in flow experiences.

Whether it’s for your work, personal or social life there is a lot here that helps you to manage your thoughts and behaviours in a sustainable way. This series is choc full of hints and tips.

We all have different energy levels, things and people that drain or bring energy into our lies so knowing what you own personal energy grid needs is a great way to find where the imbalances are to learn strategies to get that balance back. This series shares a plan to find your energy ups and downs.

Ikigai is a concept about living harmoniously, naturally and easily in flow, leading the life you want to lead. This series shares the four Ikigai question that can help you find real purpose and peace in your life.

Based on the work of James Clear this series looks at what it takes to change a habit, build a habit and how being curious can lead to some interesting insights about the habits you have!

In this series we look at how a daily practice that pays attention to how you feed, free and focus you mind can build resilience and bring calm to a busy mind.

This popular assessment tool is run by Gallup and was developed by Don Clifton, the father of Strengths Psychology. It helps you to uncover your own personal strengths and and can be done online. You can also get the book 'Discover your Clifton Strengths 2.0' by Tom Rath which is a great asset to any personal development library.

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The behaviours that make a Transformative Coach

One of the things that makes it tricky to talk about what it takes to be a Transformative Coach is the fact that we in Shared Inspiration are coaches! After many years of training and practice each coach is as much an individual as each person who is looking for coaching. We all have our own style, background, certificates (or none!), ‘go to’ theories and favoured approaches. If you google ‘Coaching Styles and Theories’ you will be met by millions of hits with an unending list of possibilities.

So, what I want to talk about here is not the tools or theories or styles but something much more fundamental and universal – I want to talk about the behaviours. The basic elements that underpin the way a coach works with you to make the experience transformative.

The elements I will list here are not exhaustive. They are basic, fundamental and the foundation upon which a coach will build their own style and way of co-creating with you.

None of these is higher than the other, they can all work independently to some degree and some effect. The power that comes with co-creation is when they are all used together by the coach and intertwined with their experience, expertise and skill.

So, in no particular order, these are the behavioural elements of a Transformative Coach: -

  • The coach has to leave their ego behind and come with an open mind and a blank sheet ready to gather as much information as they can.

  • They will come from a corner of curiosity. To help in any situation you have to be curious about the situation. This feeds into the information gathering. It’s also necessary to excite curiosity in the person being coached to build that co-creation of possibilities.

  • Is alert and looking for patterns. During the information gathering a coach will look for any patterns. Patterns of behaviour, response, language – anything that repeats and shows the how A can lead to B, C and D.

  • Understands what it is like to be you. Part of being curious is to get into your shoes and empathise with your journey. When a coach leaves their own experience behind and joins you in your experience then some really useful and powerful insights can emerge.

  • Provides challenge and questions that help to uncover awareness and insight. We all have unconscious ways of doing things so stripping a behaviour down into it constituent parts can be done with the right questions that are driven by curiosity.

  • They will get to know you as a person – looking to get an holistic understanding of what you value and what is important to you. What have you already tried and what has already worked? Why you want something different and is that the right thing for you?

  • They build your awareness of yourself and share their skills to help you be more self-sufficient. This may surprise you, but the main aim of coaching is for the coach to try to make themselves as redundant as possible. They are not there to fix you because you are already perfect.

In summary, a transformative coach meets you where you are and walks beside you as you decide on the path you want to take.

A transformative coach will teach you how to be aware, have different strategies and tools to navigate your journey.

A transformative coach will challenge your thinking, will respect your values and will always be on YOUR agenda.

A transformative coach know you are already perfect and doesn’t need fixing.

Transformative Coaching – a co-creation that leads to sustainable change.

Further recommended learning and reading:

Strengthsfinder 2.0 from Gallup - Discover your Clifton Strengths

Tom Rath

This book includes a voucher that can be redeemed to complete the Clifton Strengths assessment to discover your top 5 strengths.

Gallup's website about Strengthsfinder, including videos etc

Don’t delay – keep learning, growing and developing!

For transformational coaching, book a free introductory Session with a Shared Inspiration Coach who believes in you. The first session is always free!

To find out more about Havening Techniques® and to book a free 30 minute consultation call Joan Haines, Certified Havening Techniques® Practitioner

07813 299957

We would love to walk beside you on your transformative journey!


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