What's the difference between a life coach and a transformational coach?

There are now many different areas of coaching, and some of us have really dialed-in very specifically to the kind of clients we best serve. One of the questions I get asked a lot about is “what are the differences between a life coach and a transformational coach, Martine?”

Both life coaches and transformative coaches both provide coaching and help to their clients, but the way we coach differs along with what we want to help our clients with.

In the past, I have been known as a “blog coach.” It was a career that I created, seeing a need in the industry for people who wanted to create their own blogs, and have a clear path and method for doing it. I was seen as an expert that bloggers hired to tell them what to do, because (in their view and in my positioning as a blog coach) I knew things they didn’t know.

In many ways, a life coach is such.

What is “life coaching”?

There are so many types of life coaches, and each coach has his or her own unique brand of coaching, too. Basically in this type of coaching, your coach will help you to identify the area or areas of your life that you would like to work on, and set a well-formed outcome for it. The life coach will guide and hold you accountable, while using certain methods and strategies as they help you navigate your way to your goal.

In the same capacity as I had as a blog coach, a life coach is seen an expert you hire to guide you, with the awareness that he or she will suggest methods and tactics for you, which you may choose to implement and learn, in order to achieve your desired goal.

What is a “transformational coach”?

A transformative coach works specifically with a person’s mindset, essentially helping you to look at your life and become aware of why things are the way they are. Instead of looking at a specific situation, a transformational coach guides you in connect what is happening now to what could have potentially been the beginning of the now. In helping you see what you are truly facing (and most of it is in the mind!), a transformational coach helps you to tap into your own wisdom, essentially guiding you to create your own solutions.

How does this work? Let’s take an example of a woman who is deciding to leave a corporate career of over years, to start a new life as an entrepreneur, or even a new way of earning money that supports the new life she is creating. Leaving a familiar corporate setting where everything is laid out: benefits, salaries, etc., can be a difficult reality to adjust to. In the coaching alliance, the coach and client work together to recognize any fears and uncertainties, and reframe these instead as “challenges and showing up to life”, often in ways and behavior the client has never tried before. Before, she may have been afraid at the idea of being unemployed, but with a change in mindset, she sees the situation as an opportunity for a myriad of other things: growth, education, self-care, new opportunities, and more. The client is able to find methods and strategies that fuel and motivate her.

What changed? She is still in the same situation — a “recovering corporate slave”, in her words — but her habits and behavior have changed, along with her view of life.

How she faces her challenges is different.

How she views her next kind of work is seen in a different light.

In changing her perspective, the client is able to commit to finding her own path, testing her own strategies, and creating a more beautiful life on her terms. She is enough.

A transformational coach can offer tips, strategies, and methods, when asked. But in the end, the client will be so aware of their potential, so changed in their behavior, that as they accept and own themselves and their power, they will be the cause of their own bliss and change, and will always have the motivation to take the next step forward.

I love coaching clients as they embrace their transformation. Yes, there are moments of discomfort and maybe shyness when a client uncovers bad habits, negative self-talk, and also limiting beliefs. As a coach though, it is a complete joy when I get to lead them to connect with their true self, even their future self (which we have a lot fo fun with); that’s when true transformation happens, and shows up in all areas of the client’s life: starting with the mind and spirit, flowing to their health and well-being, intimate relationships, and their work and money.

As a mindset coach in particular, I can say that nothing makes me more happy than hearing a client say “I’m in love with myself.”

Have you ever worked with a transformational coach? How about a life coach? What did you observe were the differences in your work with them?

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Martine De Luna