Updated: Jun 4
Welcome to my blog series which will dive deeply into Transformative Life Coaching.
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I'm Dr Olly Alexander, MD, PhD, the Transformative Life Coach. Please see the bottom of this blog for my education and training. I have trained in Transformation Life Coaching in London, United Kingdom. I believe so much in the deep power that coaching has to transform your self that I have had, and continue to have, a number of Transformative Life Coaches myself. I have been on a journey of personal transformation. I have experienced deep shifts in my way of BEing and therefore DO-ing. I am a full time Transformative Life Coach.
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"My GIFT is to be YOUR GUIDE" Olly Alexander MA PhD
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In this blog series I would like to tell you all about Transformative Life Coaching and how an expanded way of BEing, whether that be in life, relationships, or your career, will create potentially epic outcomes.
Transformation and transformative coaching have become popular terms in business, leadership, and coaching circles. Unfortunately, when words are used so freely, we often lose touch with their true meaning and use them to describe something they are not. 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.”
"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
There are over 100,000 coaches in the world today. Coaching is currently unregulated, although it is becoming increasingly Professionalised. This is a very fertile time for the development of Transformative Life Coaching (TLC) - increasingly a blend of coaching, positive psychology, and other influences, which I will also lay out below. But what exactly is TLC, who will benefit and how?
You may also be wondering:
What exactly is a life coach?
Is a life coach worth it?
What are the benefits of life coaching?
What exactly is Transformative Life Coaching?
What are the benefits of Transformative Life Coaching?
Is there a difference between Transforming Coaching and Transformative Life Coaching?
What does it mean to be transformative?
This blog will provide you with all these answers and the key information you need to know about Transformative Life Coaching. Please also download my free eBook. If you're ready, let's start...
Table of Contents
2. What is Transformative Life Coaching (TLC)?
3. What is the difference between Transformative Life Coaching, Transformative Coaching, Transformation Coaching, and Transformational Coaching?
4. Who can benefit from TLC?
5. What are the building blocks of a TLC dialogue?
6. What have been the influences of TLC?
7. How does TLC differ from therapy?
What is coaching?
"You cannot teach a man anything. You can only help him find it in himself." Galileo Galilei
Great coaching is a collaborative, non-directive conversation between the client (you) and the coach (me) to move you from where you are to where you want to be in life, work, or personal relationships. The key is that it brings about CHANGE and this is defined by you. It unblocks your potential. This journey involves focussed listening, inquiry through open questioning, clarifying questions, creating structure, creating deep trust and rapport and signposting by me; and reflection, discovery, and choice by you. This is combined with a call-to-action, motivation, and meaningful and challenging goal-setting in exploring ways forward to achieving success. It focuses on solutions rather than problems. I act more like a guide on a journey, rather than a 'helper', gently supporting you to stay on the path that you choose, in order to take specific targeted action to make a change. The shift in itself is ultimately down to you.
With executives, what is holding you back or what is causing you to be stuck and not escalating upwards to be effective? In most cases, it is not a functional gap, as you have the experience and knowledge to do the role very well. But there is something else that is limiting you - the way you interpret the situation, the way you integrate the situation, and how you are being reactive. Traditional coaching is simply not deep or wide enough to address this. These are not gaps but these are awareness. So, that leads on to what is TLC and how can it address this need?
What is Transformative Life Coaching (TLC)?
In simple terms, TLC is focused on enabling self-actualisation. TLC dives deeply into your psyche, focusing on who you are and desire to become. Transformational coaching is therefore an ontological approach because it is about ‘being’ rather than ‘doing.’ We are human BEings, not human DO-ings. The great TLC coaching question is therefore, “Who do you choose to be?” What makes the process transformational is learning and doing what it takes to grow into the embodiment of that choice in being. You will still bring you personal goals, objectives, and high dreams to the table in TLC conversations; however both you and I are aware that those function as the context for the deeper dive within, and are not the end game in themselves.
The driving question you will need to reflect on in TLC 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 realised levels of existence. To facilitate this process, a transformative life coach supports you to dive below the surface and immerse your self in self-exploration, to examine your beliefs, images, and interpretations about who you are and what is your purpose and place in this world - it is all of these which give rise to your existing way of being, and examining them sheds light on why you experience life as you do.
"Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes." Carl Gustav Jung
As a coaching client it requires willingness to face shadowy fears and beliefs in order to become free of patterns of thought and emotion that have held you captive for a lifetime. Change then happens at the core level of mind, within your internal operating system, and when you grow significantly at this level it creates the impetus for equally significant shifts in your behaviours, choices, and emotions. Over time, real transformation occurs, and the necessary thoughts, attitudes, and actions which function to bring envisioned goals into existence will arise organically, as an expression of the fulfilment of your higher nature.
"Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony." Mahatma Gandhi
The transformative life coach’s role is to maintain focus on the growth potentials of the deeper realm, and encourage exploration of being as a precursor to taking action. Being is paramount to doing, and doing flows from being. Many executives think that you want to come to coaching seeking strategies and solutions to a problem, but what you need is to learn how to fundamentally shift your entire sense of self into a more enlightened state. This will shift your thinking into "I am worthy. I love selflessly. I express who I truly am." This sustainable shift at the level of being requires a transformative shift, bringing zest, calm, verve, and creativity into your everyday life and realising your potential.
Transformative Life Coaching (TLC; also know as Transformational Coaching or Transformative Coaching) is therefore a subset of coaching, which uses these techniques to explore your inner world of limiting beliefs, critical self-talk, assumptions, core values, meaning, self-awareness, purpose, and expectations in order to create greater possibilities for ways of BEing in life, in the framework of personal discovery and growth. In this sense it goes much deeper and wider than other types of coaching: It involves the deepest levels of listening, with laser-like focus, so that I am aware of what is being said by you and explores what is left unsaid. Where relevant I will ask the difficult question to elicit change through bringing into the space what isn’t being said by you. I will create a safe environment for you to fully open up, using silence as a tool for greater client introspection. The difference between TLC and other types of coaching is what I am paying attention to and what I am talking about with you. The profound change experienced by you with TLC is the result of a paradigm shift - a complete perceptual and conceptual change in your thinking and your internal model of the world.
"When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change." Dr Wayne Dyer
TLC works on everything above the surface of the 'iceberg of awareness' (namely words, tone, behaviour, and emotional responses) as in other types of coaching but also on everything below the surface (feelings, thoughts, beliefs, assumptions, needs, values and beliefs). As a TLC coach I will bring your depths to the surface, using tailored questioning. So performance coaching deals with goals, but when the same problem occurs again you will need me again (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 the way you see your self, others, the world or life (Level 3 change). TLC works at the highest logical levels of change to do with purpose and meaning, and also with identity and self concepts.
“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” Pablo Picasso
TLC thus creates the deepest level of internal shift in your character, finding clarity, gaining purpose, and becoming more self-aware, even to a state of grace, rather than simply just doing things differently. TLC creates huge transformation in your life: New opportunities are born; You, transformed, become a creator. Powerful TLC may lead to bliss, spiritual awakening, and even enlightenment. In other words, TLC achieves self-initiated transformation.
“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
With TLC there is a long-term change of mindset that has repercussions throughout your life, which is both powerful and purposeful. Attracting what you want like a magnet requires you to access resources that you did not even know you have. It acts like the gravitational pull of the Earth. Once you know how to function like gravity, you will begin to manifest your heart's desires without any fear of your own power.
World class coaches understand that their role is to guide you to real, lasting change. This can only be achieved through TLC: It has the power to generate phenomenal positive changes in a very short period of time, over days, weeks or months. It is important that your TLC coach has undergone profound change themselves, through lived life experience and TLC! This allows me to work with any client, anywhere in the world. So remember, not all coaching is transformative. It has to be TLC to be this powerful!
"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, Transformation Coaching, and Transformational Coaching?
These terms all have the same meaning. This also includes Transformation Life Coaching and Transformational Life Coaching. The more recent version is Transformative Life Coaching.
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 a time of great choice and huge opportunity for many of us. We probably have more options to us than any previous generation. This provides space for exploration and discovery, and space for confusion and uncertainty. The sheer volume of information we receive and the choices we have can bring with then a sense of confusion - of too much to do with too little time to do it, of disconnectedness from our core values. It's for this reason that coaching is one of the fastest growing industries in the UK. Even where there is no explicit demand there certainly exists a need. As you try to get to grips with your life in an increasingly complex, fast-paced and demanding social environment, so coaching offers an evermore valuable contribution to supporting you to build your life in a way that makes you happy, add to the world and generate stronger emotional resources. Many of you are beginning to take stock of your lives and ask yourselves what you really want: This might be a better relationship, a better financial situation, a more fulfilling career, or a sense of purpose. Since coaching can help in most areas of life, there is an almost limitless market for coaching. Often with executive coaching what you want is to achieve a simple goal but what you actually need is a deep transformation in your character to be able to multiply your capability: You need TLC. The most successful companies are becoming rapidly aware fo this, making TLC very much in demand in corporate organisations.
"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?
The 5 pillars are:
Phenomenological centrality - your lived experience is central to your way of knowing: This is an epistemological position - the study of how you know things (theory of knowledge). The way you experience a phenomenon is critical to how you perceive it. So what is important is your experience.
Psychological: Explores you both inside and out, your beliefs, values, assumptions, expectations, and psychological patterns that guide how you show up, be and do in life, or in the workplace. Coaching is only transformative if something changes psychologically, with a shift in paradigm, beliefs, world view, and concepts, in that there is an inner change in you. One could almost say that transformative coaching IS psychological. It assumes that both you and I are open and willing to look inwardly, reflect, process, think about how you think and conceptualise.
Humanistic: Builds on the assumption that you are creative, resourceful, and whole, unbroken - you have a natural propensity, given the right conditions, to dig deeper and grow, flourish, be seen anew, and self-actualise the more conscious version of your self. This depends on the quality of our relationship. You have the resources you need to make improvements and that positive dialogue through coaching provides the space to realise this.
Integrative: Blends the wisdom of a whole range of schools of thought, allowing me to work adaptively with many different people. This has moved away from the one-size-fits-all approach or early coaching models.
Holistic: The whole person is taken into account: Mind and body are connected, and you have intuition, a creative and logical mind, and are more than just a thinking part. This is an ontological position - the study of being. I pay attention to all aspects of your experience - the cognitive, affective, somatic (relating to the body), relational, and behavioural dimensions.
What have been the influences of TLC?
TLC draws on the best of various coaching models to create a distinct form of coaching suitable for a huge range of purposes. Therefore, it is not in competition with any other forms of coaching: Rather it utilises the best of every type. In addition it draws from:
Positive Psychology - how do you live well, in balance and harmony, and become effective at living?: Behaviourist - governed by intrinsic and extrinsic rewards with regards to pleasure or pain relief; Cognitive - real change occurs when you think about your thinking and reconstrue how you view the world working with the conscious part of your mind - what are your internal filters? eg. beliefs and limiting assumptions; Psychodynamic - Freud, Jung and Adler - you are driven by inner forces, which are in conflict that you do not normally have direct access to and that determine your behaviour - only when you make contact with these forces and make them conscious can you change your self; Humanistic - relating to the relationship between you and me and creating 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: involves increasing levels of change and we can use multiple intelligences - physical, mental and social.
How does TLC differ from therapy?
Coaching is unique due to its combination of attributes as demonstrated in the Table below.
Transformative Life Coaching
Focussed on the past
Focussed on the present and future
Usually open-ended duration
Normally for fixed duration
Clients come with problems, usually of an emotional nature. Aim is to reduce emotional pain
Clients come with both positive and negative issues. Result is to create deep character shifts
Less goal focussed
Goal/solution focussed and action oriented
Therapist listens and prompts
Coach listens, facilitates, and clarifies
Transformative Life Coaching:
Is a subset of coaching
Is BEing-focussed not DO-ing focussed although doing comes from being
Unlocks the potential within to transform you and therefore your organisation
Dives deeply below the surface to view the whole 'iceberg' that drives your behaviour
Takes the whole of you into account, not just what is visible on the surface as with traditional executive coaching
Gets to the essence of you
Is space of shadow and light
Underpins the powerful creation of outcomes and may be used for your executive goals
Illuminates and reprograms your 'inner operating system'
Involves the intent: To explore new ways of being and what it takes to embody them
Involves the premise: An expanded way of being generates the desired outcome and results
Is therefore absolutely appropriate in the context of life, personal, and business coaching
Is experienced by you in a different way to how it is experienced by someone else
Creates change that is deeper, wider, and longer lasting than any other form of coaching
My coaching themes and services: Transformative Life Coaching, Transformational Coaching, Life Coaching, Personal Coaching, Positive Psychology Coaching, Recovery Coaching, Trauma Informed Coaching, Work Addiction Coaching, Workaholism Coaching, Addiction Coaching, Mindfulness Coaching
These are a handful of the books about awakening and enlightenment that I would take to my Desert Island, again. They are great signposts on any journey to awakening. Click on book link to be taken to Audible version of the book:
"The Art of Happiness", by His Holiness the Dalai Lama & Howard C Cutler.
"The Alchemist", by Paul Coelho.
"Awareness", by Anthony De Mello.
"The Bhagavad Ghita" by Eknath Easwaran
"Extraordinary Awakenings: When Trauma Leads to Transformation", by Dr Steve Taylor.
"Meditations", by Marcus Aurelius.
"The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari", by Robin Sharma.
"The Obstacle is the Way", by Ryan Holiday.
"The Power of Now, A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment", by Eckhart Tolle.
"The Prophet", by Khalil Gibran.
"The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success", by Deepak Chopra
"Time to Think", by Nancy Kline
"My GIFT is to be YOUR GUIDE" Olly Alexander
To book a free Zoom or in person meeting with me or to find out more please click here to be taken to my website:
“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.
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