Foundations, Possibilities, and Going Deeper, part one (#798)

As we gear up for the final Supercoach Academy of the next couple of years, I’ve been reflecting on the essence of Transformative Coaching in general and the work I do with clients in particular. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing a fresh articulation of this essence in these tips.

In order to get started, I think it’s useful to revisit the distinction between therapy, consulting, and coaching. While the definitions I am about to share are not “true”, hopefully they’ll help to distinguish between the three main branches of helping professionals:

1. Therapy

Therapy, at its best, exists to make people feel better – in themselves, about themselves, and about their lives. The ultimate goal of therapy, in the words of the brilliant psychiatrist Dr. Bill Pettit, is peace of mind. If you don’t walk away from therapy with greater peace of mind, it hasn’t been effective.

2. Consulting

Consulting is, in essence, professional problem solving, future planning, and advice giving. A good consultant will be knowledgeable and experienced in their field, well-versed in their client’s circumstances, and intuitive in choosing and presenting their recommendations for action. If the strategies and advice of a consultant are implemented fully and don’t create the desired results, the work of the consultant has been ineffective.

3. Coaching

Coaching is the art and science of awakening human potential. Our job as coaches is to bring out the absolute best in people – to assist them in uncovering and unleashing their full magnificence into the world.

Coaching is not consulting, in that our goal is not to solve our clients problems directly but to use those apparent problems to support our clients in tapping in to their innate wisdom and resourcefulness. It is not therapy, in that peace of mind serves as the starting place for powerful coaching, not the finish line.

If your work with a coach has not led to a deeper sense of your own possibility, power, and potential, that coaching has not been effective. As that possibility, power, and potential becomes “actualized” – that is you are living and working from your best self the majority of the time – you discover that no matter how far you have gone and how much you’ve created in the world, you’ve only scratched the surface of what’s truly possible.

In my own work, I tend to think of the job of transformative coaches as unfolding in three discreet areas – shifting foundations, expanding possibilities, and going deeper into the human potential.

In next week’s tip I’ll share the essential foundational shift that transforms lives – the difference that makes the difference and the change that changes everything.

Until then, I encourage those of you interested in coaching others to take the leap and join us at Supercoach Academy 2012 – if this kind of coaching speaks to you, I promise you’ll complete your training transformed in yourself and able to facilitate profound changes in others!

Continue to part two…

All my love,


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