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 out 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.”

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 inner self (essence), 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.’

The great transformational coaching question is therefore, “Who do you choose to be?” and what makes the process transformational is learning and doing what it takes to grow into the embodiment of that choice in being.

People still bring their personal goals, objectives, and high dreams to the table in transformational coaching conversations; however, we are aware that those function as the context for the deeper dive within, and are not the end game in themselves. The driving question remains grounded in a choice in being: Who do I need to be in order for my goals or dreams to become a reality? The ‘becoming’ process is the transformational path, and the end game is the embodiment of higher than realized levels of existence.