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Transformational Coaching is a form of executive coaching. It forms one end of the Coaching Spectrum, from Skills to Performance to Development to Transformation.
- 1 Definitions
- 2 Notable Users
- 3 References
There are many different definitions of Transformational Coaching, and as a consequence definitions vary widely.
What is Transformational Coaching?
"Transformational Coaching is an integrated model of coaching the cornerstone of which is the above belief. In this model of coaching, we create a relationship that endeavors to bring about an awakening which reflects your greatness and enables you to transform to assume higher than realized levels of existence and create a more fulfilling, more meaningful future. Transformational Coaching integrates traditional coaching concepts with spiritual practices, advanced technologies, and creative expression. The combination of these techniques helps facilitate transformation at the deepest levels while providing people with the support needed to live fully balanced and purposeful lives. Transformational Coaching as a practice it is far deeper and more ‘organic’ than traditional models of coaching, requiring a certain degree of evolved-ness in the practitioner. A level of maturity that comes with having lived life and walked the talk, with authenticity. Transformational Coaching enhances awareness and helps distinguish between the human personality and one's true nature. Through awareness, one discovers and deepens the understanding of habitual and conditioned wave-like transient patterns of thought, speech, emotion and action. Transformational Coaching helps the beneficiary to ‘see’ clearly these wave forms – the stories that are collectively called ‘me’ – and distinguish them from the core of ‘being’ – the I Am. It provides structures and support to go beyond these stories to experience that which is deeper, permanent, unified and whole. In doing so, the natural talents and innate abilities shine upon the true purpose of life and light the path to evolutionary growth. Transformational Coaching requires a surrendered listening to the wake- up calls. It requires witnessing and even challenging chronic patterns so that new frontiers can be discovered. Transformational Coaching demands rigorous honesty and effort. When you truly desire freedom, you find the strength to develop new practices; practices that will support you in staying committed to your vision until completion. Transformational Coaching brings in enabling practices to be integrated with day-to-day life and leads to creating a more enriched and awakened way of life. Some of these practices include conscious awareness or mindfulness, conscious inquiry into sponsoring thoughts and self-affirming expressions and actions." by Indroniel Mukerjee (A "A Human Alchemist" & Founder "iProdigy")
The Coaching Spectrum
At one end of the continuum there is a focus on developing new skills in the coachee. These could be specific skills related to their role or job, such as sales skills, IT skills, etc., or more general people management skills; how to appraise staff, or give and receive feedback. A lot of this sort of coaching would be offered in training courses.
Performance coaching is less focused on the acquisition of skills (inputs) and more centred on raising the coachee’s level of performance (outputs and outcomes) in their current role. This is the sort of coaching typically offered by a manager or internal coach.
Development coaching is less focused on the current role and more centred on the coachee’s longer term development and thus has some aspects of mentoring. Besides helping the coachee develop competencies and capabilities, it will include more focus on the development of the whole person and their human capacities and how they can use their current role to develop their capacity for future roles and challenges. Thus there is more focus on second order or double loop learning, which focuses even more on second order learning and change. Whereas development learning will tend to focus on increasing the coachee’s capacity within one level of life stage and action logic, transformation will be more involved with enabling the coachee to shift levels and transition from one level of functioning to a higher order level.
In transformational coaching, the intention is not for the person bringing the issue or case to leave with a new insight or a ‘must-do action list’, but rather to have experienced a ‘felt shift’ in the session, starting to think, feel and act differently about the situation they are concerned with. Our research shows that the chance of learning and change being transferred back into the live situation is much higher when this felt shift occurs than when people simply leave with good intentions.
Difference in Perception of Self
An alternative definition, used by some commercial enterprises, is:
getting people to see themselves differently, rather than training a person to perform in a different manor.
Wendy Nemitz, Principal of Ingenuity Marketing Group
Similarly, Transformational Coaching may be seen as an attempt to challenge self-limiting beliefs.
Hawkins & Smith have given four key features that distinguish Transformational Coaching from other forms of executive coaching:
- Shifting the meaning scheme (a change in specific beliefs, attitudes and emotional reactions)
- Working on multiple levels at the same time (working on physical, psychological, emotional and purposive elements of the client simultaneously)
- Shift in the room (if change is not made and acted upon during the session, it is unlikely to be carried back into the workplace)
- Four levels of engagement (the coachee must be engaged on the levels of facts, behaviours, personal feelings and assumptions / motivational roots)
Triple Loop Learning
Robert Hargrove also defines transformational coaching by comparison to lower layers. In his case, it is the number of 'loops' of learning that the individual goes through.
Single Loop Learning
Also known as incremental coaching or action coaching, this involves training people to improve what they are already doing.
Double Loop Learning
Training people to learn to do new things. This involves giving them fundamentally new ways of thinking about their situation.
Triple Loop Learning
Truly transformational coaching enables people to change their view of themselves or their context in order to reach their fundamental goals.
In 2010, Tesco supermarkets announced the successful implementation of a Transformational Coaching strategy, citing the effects as "better staff retention, attendance levels and more qualified members of staff".
- Coaching, Mentoring and Organizational Consultancy: Supervision and Development, Peter Hawkins and Nick Smith, Open University Press, London 2007
- Masterful Coaching, Robert Hargrove, Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer, San Francisco, 2003