What do we mean by Transformational Coaching
Transformational coaching could be described as coaching that enables you to work on yourself at a greater depth.
It is work which enables you to safely examine and explore areas of your life that you have previously felt to be off limits.
In transformational coaching we explore your history, values, beliefs, struggles. We look at the assumptions you may hold.
Objectives and Contexts
My coaching work starts by carefully clarifying your objectives. If you are going to deliver transformational coaching you need to be particularly clear about the objectives and the contexts of your work.
Generally, a lot of focus is placed upon objectives. Understanding objectives is crucial. But unless you take time to understand the context in which you work – the relationships, the reporting lines, the pressures and opportunities facing you, it will be hard to make realising your objectives powerful and worthwhile.
Derailers and transformational coaching
It is also crucial to understand the ways in which you might ‘derail’. The way in which you tend to undermine your own capacity to succeed. It has become commonplace to hear people talking about putting their inner chimp in its’ place. To notice the irrational fears and responses that we have to pressure and given situations and to keep those things in check.
Those ideas may be helpful to some people, but they wouldn’t work for me. Often the less understood and more emotional sides of ourselves, the sides that we may feel we should keep hidden away, are actually the sources of our real potential. If we can embrace those worries and fears, we can liberate a lot of energy that we can put to work for us.
Don’t tire yourself out hiding your weaknesses and vulnerabilities, get to know them better. Find ways to work with those parts of yourself more effectively.
Often it turns out that our vulnerabilities are actually our secret energy stores. When we work with these parts of ourselves, then we find the route into truly transformational coaching.
For me, transformational coaching is where we enable someone to engage with:
- their objectives
- the context in which they work
- their potential to derail their own success.
Transformational Coaching in a City Partnership – A Case Study
A senior solicitor in a city legal practice approached me for help. He was trying to become a partner within the practice but kept being overlooked. The feedback he was given was that his interactions with clients, particularly on conference calls was poor. His bosses lacked confidence in him.
As we started to work together, I could see that this man was very experienced and very focused on delivering a high standard of work to the practice. I also detected that there was a trace of a speech impediment in his voice. I asked him about this.
He told me that he developed a stammer aged 9 (more of that later), and over the years had developed various techniques to manage his way through conversations.
- He said that he scanned every sentence he was saying as he said it, he tried to spot any words that would cause problems and find substitutes for them. He thought he could always see up to 15 words ahead.
Imagine if you felt you always had to be 15 words ahead of yourself
I was intrigued. Imagine the energy that was being used running this speech monitoring program?
It seemed to me that though it worked brilliantly to help him manage his stammer, it was also using up a large amount of energy and resource. I could see it would limit his spontaneity, and going to hold back his quality of engagement with people. He would probably come across as rather too measured.
His stammer first appeared when, as a 9-year-old, he’d found out his family were moving from England to France because of his father’s work. He had problems with the move, was unhappy to be leaving his friends behind, and took much longer to settle into his French school than his younger siblings did. Gradually he adapted to his new life, but the stammer remained for several years before he learnt his technique to manage it.
He had become a master at this, but the one place that he found it particularly difficult was conference calls.
We met for 6 sessions which took place at his firm.
In the coaching, the thing that proved particularly transformational was that we developed a working relationship in which he felt safe to explore not just his professional objectives but his weaknesses too.
The more we created a safe space to speak openly about his concerns, the more he reported that he felt better able to contribute to discussions with his clients and with the partners in the firm. He became more confident.
Being successful in business is never just about your professional knowledge
In this case, a very high knowledge of the law was a given. It can come as a surprise to people when they discover that being successful within a firm or practice hinges on their capacity to develop good relationships.
For a lot of people, the professional side of the practice, the technical knowledge of their subject area is where they feel at home. But, success within corporate structures, within professional partnerships, requires you to demonstrate high social skills. This is key to developing good client relationships, and it is those relationships that generate fee earning work.
Often the thing that has hindered our development of good interpersonal skills, is something that we have preferred to overlook in ourselves as we try to put the emphasis upon our professional knowledge.
When you find a way to work upon the vulnerability that you have long tried to hide, what you often find is that instead of greater weakness and insecurity, the engagement with this part of yourself is actually where your potential for growth and development is found.
In this case, engaging with my client’s history of stammering, actually freed him to develop more satisfying conversations and connections with those around him. Not just with the senior partners of the firm, and the clients they took instructions from, but with his friends and family too.
He started to tell me that he was feeling more relaxed in work. At the end of the year he was put on the partnership program.
Transformational Coaching – towards a more satisfying performance
In my coaching work I look not just to help individuals focus upon their key business objectives, but to help them look at areas of their lives that they feel may be undermining their capacity to deliver a satisfying performance at work. Engaging with these deeper sides of ourselves is where we develop the power of transformational coaching.
I have 20 years experience of helping people transform the way they live and work.
My transformational coaching is developed through conversations that aim to understand your needs at both an individual and an organisational level.
Contact me to arrange a free telephone consultation to discuss how my transformational coaching might help you.