People often ask me to explain the difference between transformative coaching, (or as I like to call it “supercoaching”), and the traditional life coach/business coach approach to success, happiness, and well-being. While there are any number of way to answer this question, I have found that at least one of the illustrations which follow will make the distinction unforgettably clear…
1. Coaching Bill Gates
Imagine that Bill Gates comes to you for business coaching. At first, you’re puzzled, because it would seem that Bill Gates doesn’t really need business coaching – but then you realize that he has amnesia and has no idea who he is.
Here’s the question:
Do you use your sessions trying to give him business advice or do you spend your time together doing everything you know to do to help him remember who he really is and what he’s really capable of?
It may (or may not) take a bit longer to work towards remembrance than to offer your personal insights into how best to handle the latest crisis or opportunity at Microsoft, but the difference in outcome will be phenomenal!
2. Decorating Eggs
You live inside a very large egg. You’ve been in there for a long time now, so you’ve done a reasonably good job of making life comfortable – you have a nice home, a decent job, a solid relationship, and some good friends. But at the back of your mind, you’ve got a sense that something’s not quite right -your home is beginning to show a bit of wear and tear, your job isn’t as fulfilling as you thought it would be, you’ve got question marks about your relationship, and honestly, some days you’re not even sure about your friends.
You decide to hire a coach to help you sort things out. Here’s the distinction:
If you want to work on the home, job, relationship, and friendships, hire a traditional life coach. If you’re ready to hatch, hire a transformative coach.
3. The Dutiful Son
A man comes to you for coaching. He’s about to turn 30, and he’s decided that it’s time to “grow up” and to take over the family carpentry business. He wants you to share innovative marketing techniques, work with him on how to make better personnel decisions, and coach him to incorporate technology to bring the business into “at least the new millennium”.
But even as you’re speaking together, something niggles you about the conversation. He’s saying all the right things and seems willing to do all the right things, and yet something still feels out of alignment. Following your intuition, you go back and review the client intake form he filled out when he first came to you, and to your surprise you see that his name is Jesus and he’s from a small town in the Galilean region of Israel called Nazareth.
Here’s the question:
Do you really want to work with him on becoming more successful in his carpentry business?
Now, you may say that you don’t work with amnesiac billionaires, or that you don’t live in an egg, or even that you’ve never had a client from the Middle East – but can you really know that that’s true?
What if every man, woman, and child that you meet has the seeds within them to become as magnificent in their own lives as the best of the best have become in theirs?
What if that includes you?
Here’s one last illustration…
4. The Cocoon Salesman
I sometimes think of myself as a cocoon salesman. Clients come to me to spend a year or two in a transformative coaching cocoon, knowing that what will come out the other side will be magnificent and forever capable of soaring on the winds of change.
Now from time to time, someone asks if our coaching together will transform them into a monarch butterfly, and I have to honestly say “I don’t know”. If you’re an Eastern-tailed blue caterpillar, the only way to make you into a monarch butterfly would be to paste wings on you, advise you to “fake it ’till you make it”, and hope you don’t actually try to fly high enough to hurt yourself.
But if you’re ready and willing to enter into the cocoon of a transformative coaching relationship, I can assure you that what comes out the other side will be beautiful, will be able to fly, and will be authentically, wonderfully you.
Have fun, learn heaps, and may you live all the days of your life!