top of page
  • Toby Sinclair

Is your coaching Transactional or Transformational?

On my journey to become a coach I’ve learnt that it is as much about my own personal growth as it is of the people I serve. To build transformational coaching relationships, I must first grow myself.

Transactional coaching is focused on actions. It is focused on achieving a certain set of steps to move towards some outcome. For example, public speaking. Transactional coaching would focus on the actions to be more comfortable with public speaking. For example, breathing techniques, adopting a power pose before the talk or improving the presentation slides. A transactional coach may ask questions like “What could you do before the talk to calm your nerves?”, “What could you do if you get nervous on stage?” The focus is often on the presenting symptoms rather than the underlying cause.

Transformational coaching is focused on the whole person. It helps a person create an awareness of the factors contributing to the achievement of their challenge or goal. Often these contributing factors stem from our limiting beliefs, assumptions and values formed from our past experiences. Using the example of public speaking, a Transformational coach will ask questions to explore the underlying causes. “What is important about becoming a public speaker?”, “What has contributed to nerves or tension before a talk?”, “What are the beliefs associated to your public speaking ability?”, “What are your needs?” The results from transformational coaching often lead to long term success.

As a coach, how do I provide transformational coaching? Although transactional coaching does have a place and can often lead to success, there are times after a  coaching session that i think the relationship could of gone deeper.

So, what is preventing a transformational coaching relationship from forming?


Often it is my own fear and inability to be vulnerable that prevents coaching relationships going to that to that place of Transformation. Carl Rogers highlights that to create transformational moments, as coaches we need to show empathy, unconditional positive regard and be congruent. To be empathetic, I need to enter the shoes of another but often I’m scared to do that. To show unconditional positive regard, I need to suspend judgement but often I judge. To be congruent I need to show vulnerability but often I hide my emotions.

These points are a great example of why coaches need coaching and supervision. If coaches are to create transformational relationships we too must grow and develop.

What coaching do you provide?

What beliefs, values and assumptions are you holding that could be preventing those transformational relationships?


bottom of page