Welcome to the first installment of my blog series on Transformative Life Coaching and everything to do with personal growth and transformation. I am Dr. Olly Alexander, MD, PhD, a Coachsea Coach. My education and training can be found at the bottom of this blog. I received my training in Transformation Life Coaching in London, England. I believe so strongly in the transformative potential of coaching that I have had, and continue to have, a number of Transformative Life Coaches. I’ve been on a personal change journey. I’ve had significant changes in my ways of BEing and so DOing. I work as a Transformative Life Coach full-time.
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In this blog series, I want to tell you all about Transformative Life Coaching and how an enhanced way of BEing can lead to potentially epic outcomes in life, relationships, and your job.
In business, leadership, and coaching circles, the concepts transformation and transformative coaching have become commonplace. Unfortunately, when words are freely used, we lose sight of their actual meaning and use them to describe things they are not. All change is transformation, but not all transformation is change. “At least I know who I was when I woke up this morning,” As Alice said in her Wonderland experience, “at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.”
“It is what man really thinks of himself that really determines his fate. Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.” Henry David Thoreau
In today’s world, there are over 100,000 coaches. This is an opportune time for the growth of Transformative Life Coaching (TLC), which is increasingly a blend of coaching, positive psychology, and other influences, as I’ll explain below. But what is TLC, who will benefit from it, and how?
This blog will give you all the essential information regarding Transformative Life Coaching. Let’s get started if you’re ready.
What is coaching?
“You cannot teach a man anything. You can only help him find it in himself.” Galileo Galilei
Great coaching is a non-directive, collaborative conversation between the client (you) and the coach (me) to help you go from where you are to where you want to be in life, business, or personal relationships. The important thing is that it causes CHANGE, which you define. It unleashes your whole potential. I will provide focused listening, inquiry through open questioning, clarification questions, structure, deep trust and rapport, and signposting; and you will provide reflection, discovery, and choice. In order to achieve success, this is combined with a call to action, motivation, and meaningful and difficult goal-setting. It is more concerned with solutions than with problems. Instead of acting as a ‘helper,’ I act as a guide on a journey, gently encouraging you to stay on the path you pick in order to take particular targeted action to achieve a change. It is ultimately up to you to make the change.
What is holding you back or preventing you from climbing higher to be more productive as an executive? In most circumstances, there is no functional gap because you have the necessary experience and knowledge to perform the job properly. But there’s something more holding you back: the way you read the situation, assimilate it, and react to it. Traditional coaching is simply not deep or broad enough to address these issues. These aren’t gaps, but rather awareness. So, what exactly is TLC and how can it help with this problem?
What is Transformative Life Coaching?
TLC is concerned with facilitating self-actualization. TLC delves deep into your mind, focusing on who you are and what you want to become. Because it is about ‘being’ rather than ‘doing,’ transformational coaching is an ontological approach. Human BEings, not human DOings, are who we are. “Who do you choose to be?” is the big TLC coaching question. Learning and doing what it takes to grow into the embodiment of that choice in being is what makes the process transformational. In TLC conversations, you will still bring your personal goals, aspirations, and big dreams to the table; however, both you and I are aware that these serve as the context for a deeper dive within, not the end-game in and of themselves.
“Who do I need to be in order for my goals or desires to become a reality?” is the motivating question you’ll need to consider in TLC. The transformational path is the ‘being’ process, and the final goal is the embodiment of greater than realised levels of existence. A transformative life coach can help you dive beneath the surface and immerse yourself in self-exploration, examining your beliefs, images, and interpretations about who you are and what your purpose and place in the world are. It’s all of these things that contribute to your current way of being and examining them sheds light on why you experience life the way you do.
As a coaching client, you must be willing to confront hidden fears and beliefs in order to break free from thought and emotion patterns that have kept you hostage for a lifetime. The urge for equally large adjustments in your behaviour, decisions, and emotions is created when you grow dramatically at the fundamental level of mind, within your internal operating system. Real transformation happens over time, and the required thoughts, attitudes, and behaviours that serve to bring envisioned goals into actuality will emerge spontaneously as an expression of your higher nature’s fulfilment.
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” Mahatma Gandhi
The function of the transformative life coach is to keep the attention on the deeper realm’s growth potentials and to stimulate investigation of being before taking action. Being comes before doing, and doing comes after being. Many executives believe that you come to coaching looking for problem-solving skills, but what you really need is to learn how to transform your entire sense of self into a more enlightened condition. This will cause you to think differently “I am worthy. I know who I am. I express who I truly am.” This long-term shift in consciousness necessitates a transformational shift, bringing zest, tranquilly, verve, and creativity into your daily life and realising your full potential.
Transformative Life Coaching (TLC; also known as Transformational Coaching or Transformative Coaching) is a subset of coaching that uses these techniques to explore your inner world of limiting beliefs, critical self-talk, assumptions, core values, meaning, self-awareness, purpose, and expectations in the context of personal discovery and growth. It goes considerably further and wider than other methods of coaching in this regard: It entails the most intense degrees of listening, with laser-like intensity, in order for me to be aware of what you’re saying and to investigate what’s left unsaid. Where appropriate, I will ask the challenging question in order to inspire change by bringing into the room what you aren’t saying. I’ll establish a safe space for you to fully open up, and I’ll use silence as a tool for deeper client reflection. What distinguishes TLC from other styles of coaching is what I pay attention to and what I discuss with you. A paradigm shift – a total perceptual and conceptual change in your thinking and internal picture of the world – is the result of the deep change you’ve experienced with TLC.
“When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change.” Dr Wayne Dyer
As in other styles of coaching, TLC focuses on everything above the surface of the ‘iceberg of awareness’ (primarily words, tone, behaviour, and emotional responses), but also on everything below the surface (feelings, thoughts, beliefs, assumptions, needs, values and beliefs). I will use targeted questioning as a TLC coach to bring your depths to the surface. So, performance coaching works with goals, but you’ll need me again if the same problem arises (Level 1 change); Developmental coaching results in learning so that you can deal with future issues (Level 2 change); TLC works on the whole iceberg, creating a paradigm (perspective) shift, changing (Level 3 change). TLC deals with purpose and meaning, as well as identity and self-notions, at the highest logical levels of change.
“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” Pablo Picasso
TLC, rather than merely doing things differently, generates the highest level of internal shift in your character, finding clarity, purpose, and being more self-aware, even to a state of grace. TLC brings about significant changes in your life: new opportunities arise; you transform into a creator. TLC can provide happiness, spiritual awakening, and even enlightenment. TLC, in other words, accomplishes self-initiated change.
“I believe that the very purpose of life is to be happy. From the very core of our being, we desire contentment. In my own limited experience I have found that the more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being.” Dalai Lama
TLC causes a long-term shift in mentality that has ramifications throughout your life, which is both powerful and purposeful. To attract what you want like a magnet, you must use resources you didn’t even realise you had. It has the same effect as the Earth’s gravitational pull. You will be able to materialise your heart’s desires without fear of your own power once you have learned how to function like gravity.
World-class coaches recognise that their job is to help you make genuine, long-term changes. This can only be accomplished with TLC: it has the ability to produce incredible positive changes in a matter of days, weeks, or months. It’s critical that your TLC coach has experienced significant transformation through lived life experience and TLC! This enables me to deal with clients from all over the world. So keep in mind that not all coaching is transformational. To be this powerful, it needs to be TLC!
“Faith is to believe what you do not yet see; the reward for this faith is to see what you believe.” St Augustine
What is the difference between Transformative Life Coaching, Transformative Coaching and Transformational Coaching?
These terms are entirely interchangeable. Transformative Life Coaching is a more recent version.
Who can benefit from TLC?
“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” Albert Einstein
We live in an era of vast choice and enormous potential. We have perhaps more choices than any prior generation. This allows for both exploration and discovery, as well as confusion and uncertainty. The sheer amount of information we receive and the options we have can lead to a sense of befuddlement – of having too much to do and not enough time to do it, of being estranged from our basic beliefs. Coaching is one of the fastest growing industries in the UK because of this. Even if there is no explicit demand, there is undoubtedly a need.
As you strive to make sense of your life in an increasingly complex, fast-paced, and demanding social environment, coaching becomes an increasingly essential tool for helping you develop a life that makes you happy, contributes to the world, and builds greater emotional resources. Many of you are starting to evaluate your life and ask yourself what you really want: a better relationship, a better financial situation, a more satisfying career, or a feeling of purpose, to name a few. Coaching has a nearly endless market because it can help in practically every aspect of life. When it comes to executive coaching, the goal is often to attain a simple goal, but what you really need is a fundamental alteration in your character to multiply your capability: TLC is required. TLC is in high demand in business organisations as the most successful corporations become increasingly conscious of this.
“Man’s chief delusion is his conviction that there are causes other than his own state of consciousness” Neville Goddard
Everyone can benefit from increasing your level of consciousness. Human consciousness is the most powerful force in the universe. Don’t play small – it’s not you! Have a goal so big that you don’t know how you will achieve it. If you can do it it’s a task. When it’s big enough it’s a goal. If you want a level 10 outcome then you need to be a level 10 consciousness. So the aim of our work together is to raise your consciousness to the level that you want to achieve – then the epic things that you want to achieve will just happen. Things will flow for you, rather than you having to hustle all the time.
What are the building blocks of a TLC dialogue?
- Phenomenological centrality – lived experience is important to your way of knowing: This is an epistemological position, which is the study of how people come to know things (theory of knowledge). The way you encounter a phenomenon has a big impact on how you think about it. So, your experience is what matters.
- Psychological: Explores your ideas, values, assumptions, expectations, and psychological patterns that drive how you show up, be, and do in life or at work, both inside and out. Coaching is only transformative if something changes psychologically, such as a shift in paradigm, beliefs, worldview, and conceptions – if you change on the inside. Transformative coaching is almost psychological in nature: It implies that both you and I are open to looking inward, reflecting, processing, and considering how we think and conceptualise.
- Humanistic: Based on the premise that you are creative, resourceful, and whole, unbroken – you have a natural proclivity to dig deeper and grow, thrive, be seen anew, and self-actualize the more conscious version of yourself given the appropriate circumstances. This is contingent on the strength of our bond. You have the resources you need to improve, and good communication through coaching gives you the opportunity to do so.
- Integrative: Blends the wisdom of many different schools of thinking, allowing me to deal with a wide range of people. This is a departure from one-size-fits-all approaches or early coaching paradigms.
- Holistic: The entire person is considered: mind and body are intertwined, and you possess intuition, a creative and logical intellect, and are more than just a thinking component. This is an ontological stance, which is concerned with the study of existence. I consider all parts of your experience, including cognitive, emotive, somatic (body-related), relational, and behavioural aspects.
What have been the influences of TLC?
TLC combines the best aspects of many coaching approaches to produce a unique coaching style that may be used for a variety of objectives. As a result, it does not compete with any other types of coaching: Rather, it makes use of the best of each type. It also takes inspiration from:
- Positive Psychology – how do you live well, in balance and harmony, and become competent at living?: Behaviourists – motivated by both intrinsic and external rewards in terms of pleasure and pain relief; Cognitive – genuine transformation happens when you think about your thoughts and rethink how you see the world using your conscious mind – what are your internal filters? beliefs and limiting assumptions, for example; Psychodynamic – Freud, Jung, and Adler – you are driven by inner forces in conflict that you do not ordinarily have direct access to and that govern your behaviour – you can only change your self when you establish contact with these forces and make them conscious; Humanistic – connecting to your and my relationship and establishing conditions for personal growth free will and self-actualisation.
- Philosophy: Existentialism – how do you make sense of the world through your own frames of reference?; Structuralism; Social Constructionism; Post Modernism – these last 3 all question the fixity of meaning between human beings i.e. it is fluid.
- Adult learning: Entails growing levels of change, and we can employ multiple intelligences, including physical, mental, and social intelligences.
How does TLC differ from therapy?
Coaching is distinct because of the traits it combines, as seen in the table below.
Transformative Life Coaching:
- Is a subset of coaching
- Is BEing-focussed not DO-ing focussed although doing comes from being
- Unleashes the power within you to transform yourself and your company
- Dives deeply below the surface to view the whole ‘iceberg’ that drives your behaviour
- Considers the entire person, not just what is visible on the surface, as traditional executive coaching does
- Gets to the heart of who you are
- Is space of shadow and light
- It underpins the effective generation of outcomes and can be used to your executive objectives
- Your ‘inner operating system’ is illuminated and reprogrammed
- The intention is to investigate new ways of being and what it takes to embody them
- Involves the following premise: The desired outcome and consequences are generated by an expanded way of being
- Is thus perfectly appropriate in the context of life, personal, and professional coaching
- Is how you feel it different from how someone else experiences it?
- Changes people more deeply, broadly, and for longer than any other type of coaching.
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“Transformative life coaching uniquely creates and holds the space for you to see your self afresh, with clarity, and step into new ways of being, which will transform how you intuitively create your world. My work is to guide you to raise your own conscious awareness to the level that you want to achieve.” Dr Olly Alexander MD, MBBS, BA(Hons), MA(Cantab), MRCS, PhD, FRCS.
I have a Bachelor’s degree in Natural Sciences from Trinity College, Cambridge; a Master’s Degree in Philosophy from Trinity College, Cambridge; a PhD Doctorate in Scientific Research from University College London (UCL); a Medical Degree (MD/MBBS) from The Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine, London and am a Member (MRCS) and Fellow (FRCS) of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. I have published over 50 peer reviewed scientific journal articles and am the author of several scientific books. I am completing my Diploma in Transformative Life Coaching in London, which has International Coaching Federation Accreditation, as well as the UK Association for Coaching (AC), and the European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC). I attended the Ultimate Coach conference with Steve Hardison, the world number one life coach, in London in April 2022.