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What is Transformational Coaching? Transformation has become a popular term in business, leadership, and coaching circles. Unfortunately, when a word is used so freely, we often lose touch with its true meaning and use it to describe something it is not. This can happen when the words ‘change’ and ‘transformation’ are used interchangeably. We make changes all the time to the way we look, think, feel, and act. If we have intentionally set about on a course of action to learn or grow—to communicate better, to manage our emotions more effectively, to be a better friend or partner—we have likely grown and changed, but have we necessarily transformed? All transformation is change, but not all change is transformation. 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.” This confusion spills over into the coaching world as well, with some coaches calling what they do ‘transformational coaching’ when it is, often by their own definition, something else. Take, for instance, this definition which I came across: “Transformational coaching involves interactions with a coach for the purpose of increasing a coaching client’s effectiveness, performance, personal development, and growth.” This is an accurate description of all coaching; there is no form of coaching that does not endeavor to increase a person’s effectiveness, performance, development, or growth. Here is another inaccurate definition of transformational coaching: “the art of assisting people to enhance their effectiveness in a way they feel helped.” Again, this is a general description of all forms of coaching. In simple terms, transformational coaching is focused on enabling self-actualization. Far more than ‘options-strategy-action’ to attain goals or clarity or to get better at something, transformational coaching dives deep into an individual’s psyche, focusing on who that person is and desires to become. Transformational coaching is therefore an ontological approach because it is about ‘being’ rather than ‘doing.’