Are Counseling and Transformational Coaching the Same Thing?

I met Rebecca three years ago at Texas School, where she was attending my training to earn her last few merits towards a certification she wanted to gain. That week was very special, and I knew our paths had come together for a journey, rather than a quick passing. Since that time, she has given me the honor of working with her in business coaching and transformational coaching. She has sent her husband and many of her family members and friends to experience transformational coaching, as well. The newness in Rebecca, as an individual, a wife, a mother, and a creative entrepreneur is a gift to experience. She is transforming her marriage, her family, and her friendships as she continues to commit to living her life fully alive. 

When she contacted me and shared her desire to write this blog post, I was excited about the clarity I thought it could offer my readers, as I get asked this question quite regularly myself. I hope you enjoy Rebecca's experience of what Transformational Coaching means to her and what its value is to her.

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Personally, hiring a business coach seemed like a no-brainer to me back in 2014. I had taken business classes before, and I decided that having one person to bounce ideas off of and help guide me was the way to go. (I only wish I had made that decision earlier in my business.) After a few months, business coaching turned into conversations about my personal life. During that season, situations would arise, and I found myself wanting to talk to Julia about those events, even though they had nothing to do with my business. One day, she mentioned that she also offers Transformational Coaching. That word, "transformation," was foreign to me, and I was intrigued. I knew that I wanted to see life more like she did. I knew that she had something I did not have, but I could not put my finger on it. So, being curious, I signed up for a semester of Transformational Coaching.

The first phase was Lifting the Con. When I say “con,” I mean that I was drifting through so many areas of my life, completely unaware of how I was affected by self-deception. The way I saw life had a huge impact on how I showed up at work and home. I was never taught how to check in with myself emotionally and be honest about what I felt. The process made me aware of how miserable I was, which was fairly painful to admit. I had no idea that my life was not "as good as it gets," and that there was more to this life than I was living. I believed I had an entirely normal life. Sure, there were issues, situations, and relationships that were difficult, yet it all seemed to be completely normal. When I would look around at others, I knew I had so much to be thankful for, and the days I focused on gratitude were much better than those in which I would focus on my complaints. My marriage, also, seemed normal. My husband worked hard; I worked hard; and, we always had enough money to pay our bills, put some away in savings, and occasionally splurge on a trip or something fun. Isn't that NORMAL?

As I learned to be honest with myself on a whole new level, the con got smaller and smaller and, thus, moved me from the phase of awareness to a time of visioning. During this season, I admitted to myself that I wanted more than what was normal. It was a time when I allowed the longings of my heart, which I had previously buried, to come to life again.

The process was a challenge because with admitting comes responsibility and the choice to make changes or stay stuck in the status quo. I realized I no longer wanted the old normal; I wanted to live a life full of honesty, authenticity, intimacy, and so much more.

The journey of transformation has been the hardest and most rewarding adventure of my life. The more intentional I become, the more I long for those I love to experience it, too. Yet, as I talk to people about my experience with transformational coaching, I feel like the general response is very similar to what mine was a few years ago. “Oh, but my life is normal.” Or, “That is for people with problems or who are dealing with tragedy.” Sometimes even, "Why would I ever need that?” I believe these assumptions come from what I and so many others think, that coaching and counseling are the same things. I am so grateful I learned that they most definitely are not equal and, for me, transformational coaching is something that I see as a long-term resource for me as I commit to living my life fully alive.

Even though I chose to be coached for the past two years, I am realizing that life will continue to press upon me opportunities to grow and expand.  It can be very uncomfortable and, in that, my tendency is to want to pull away and settle. For example, a few months ago, I was feeling overwhelmed. Between pregnancy, the coaches academy I was attending, traveling back and forth from Oklahoma to California, and the thoughts that accompany stepping out of my comfort zone to follow my heart, I was on the Struggle Bus and feeling that the more help I received, the more I needed. I was buying into the con that coaching is for the broken. Then, I heard this!

“Coaching is for the thriving.” Aileen T.

It shifted my perspective. I get to choose to have support, community, and honesty or to go at life alone like I had done for many years prior. The truth is I love my life. Every year it fulfills me more. Every year my relationships gain a new, deeper depth that, honestly, surprises me. I had no idea prior to this journey, prior to saying YES to Transformational Coaching, that I was indeed miserable and so unaware of my personal misery. If you had asked me two years ago what the difference between coaching and counseling was, I could not have answered you. Since then, I have learned that the main difference is…

Counseling - goal oriented; changing behavior because something is bad, broken, or wrong. The focus is on FIXING a problem.

Transformational Coaching - choosing a vision, creating the life you want to lead, and learning to be with what is; choosing to see the truth in each situation. The focus is on CHOICE and living life free from shame.

The most interesting part of this journey is that change, or something new, only comes from trying something new. If you do not have a problem, then you do not need a solution. If you already know everything, there is no room for new information. I love that I can learn something new every single moment of every single day just by being curious; curious about what others mean and curious about why I see something the way I do. I am thankful for this journey, thankful there is MORE to life than I ever imagined.

I challenge you to look at your life. If you could have anything, would it be the life you are living? Anyone can benefit from this journey; however, the KEY is the willingness to really take a daily, good hard look at your life and yourself, even if it is painful.

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Thank you for sharing with us, Rebecca. If you have questions about Transformational Coaching and want to know whether it can be a resource in your life, marriage, or business, please do not hesitate to ask. Simply leave a question in the Comments on this post or email the Beautiful Outcome Team!