A Coaching Model Created by Samanta Maranca
(Transformational Coaching and Healing, ARGENTINA)
What is transformational coaching?
The Oxford dictionary defines transformation as a metamorphosis or a marked change in form, nature or appearance. As a result of such change, a different being emerges, which bears no resemblance with the original one.
Transformational coaching encourages an inner process that results in the discovery of our personal, physical and spiritual potential in life. It leads to the discovery of our own essence of being and allows for that essence to come to life.
The example of the bamboo tree helps exemplify this process. If you sow seeds of this type on fertile ground, you have to be very patient. Nothing happens for years; there are no green shoots or any sign at all for the first, second, third, or fourth year. The fifth year, something green pushes through the soil, and then it grow up to 80 feet in just six weeks! The reason is simple, for years nothing happens on the surface, but the bamboo is developing prodigious roots until it is ready to manifest in the world. There’s invisible transformation occurring.
This may pose a challenge since our modern world equals greatness to success and so it teaches us that self-realization should be fast, visible and tangible. Profound inner transformation, on the contrary, requires time, focus, patience and faith. It is less concerned with the ‘doing’ than with the ‘being’. Its goal is to allow for a new being to express its full potentiality and greatness.
It does not mean that transformation needs to take a long time, but it does require a profound willingness to let go of past limitations, beliefs and conditioning in order for our true self to emerge.
What is an encounter?
The Macmillan Dictionary defines it as an unexpected face-to-face meeting with someone. It’s an unplanned occasion in which (two) people meet, share an experience, and discover something. An encounter may also denote a fight, conflict or argument.
A coaching conversation is an encounter with our Self – through a dialogue with the coach. It is unexpected since it allows the coachee to access those aspects of himself or herself that they are not yet aware of. Through the encounter with their SELF, coachees can access their inner wisdom and experience themselves in whole new ways. They can discover gifts, talents, purposes and insights that had not yet been revealed. The outward focus is shifted and time and space are created to allow the coachee to look for their answers within.
This meeting with essence might also bring about fight, conflict or tension, which is the natural resistance people offer in the face of transformation. Human beings tend to resist what is new or different.
Most people lead their lives believing they have control over them when the truth is that life is unexpected. We are trying to control an ungovernable force that is constantly changing, evolving and adopting new forms.
Looking inwards poses us with the challenge of being comfortable with the unknown and welcoming anything that arises during that encounter.
Modern life can challenge us with many distractors, urgent needs to be met, too many responsibilities to attend to, and all that movement and sense of speed can blur our main purpose in life: to live it fully, passionately, meaningfully. There seems to be no time for the big questions, for living our dreams, for even listening to them.
How many times have you desired to be truly and deeply heard? How many times have you craved for a moment with your SELF, just an intimate encounter in which nothing has to be done or achieved, but in which you can just BE? Have you ever wondered which dreams are still buried inside of you, waiting to be realized?
Coaching provides that silent and trusting space in which clients can explore, discover, make conscious choices and try out new things without the fear of making mistakes. They can think out loud and express all their thoughts and emotions freely without being judged, which allows them to fully engage in their lives.
How often do you get to be your SELF openly and freely without feeling the need to hide something, pretend to be / feel something you are not, conform to what seems right, edit your words for fear of being out of place?
During this encounter, you can experience freedom to express your authentic self.
What may the encounter look like?
Suppose you are planning your coming holidays. After entertaining different options you finally decide you want to go to an unconventional destination. You are tired of known places and are not willing to go to a noisy, busy and crowded city again. You’ve had enough of them. You are ready to try something new. Travel books describe the unusual place you have chosen as an amazing one; the views are breathtaking and there’s something incredibly charming about it. It’s almost as if that place were calling for you, luring you to it. You have seen some of the scenery in photographs and have heard stories about that place, but have not actually been there yourself.
You may feel curious, excited and eager to set off and can even anticipate you will love this encounter. However, as the departure date gets closer, fear and doubt may start arising. How come? The answer is that you only have thoughts about this mysterious place but not the experience of it, yet. You may not know the language, the currency that is used, how to move around the city and all those realizations may trigger some tension. You don’t know what might happen or how things will unfold so you experience fear because you don’t have any control … you may be afraid of losing what you have or who you are … and stepping into the unknown requires trust, courage and determination.
The same happens when we start accessing deeper levels of our SELF. There are unknown territories and hidden corners we have never taken the time to explore and we may even be surprised to encounter those. Me may swear we knew ourselves so well…. Yet, there’s a new land to be explored and conquered and it lies within.
So this peculiar encounter requires that we are curious, open, innocent and willing to accept there’s so much we don’t know about ourselves. In other words, the coachee can expect the unexpected. The value of the coaching conversation resides in uncovering the hidden treasures that reside within.
The encounter with Self – revisited
Most spiritual and psychological traditions have described the process of self-discovery or self-development as something arduous, painful and serious. The journey has been described as an ordeal in which our shadow side has to be faced, our ego needs to be battled or tamed, suffering is involved and sacrifice is a must. Though growth entails focus, effort, discipline and perseverance, it also connects us with our strengths, deepest passions and helps us stretch enough to reach unimaginable places. As in any trip, this journey can connect us with our natural curiosity, with our desire to learn new things, with our yearning to engage in new adventures, to explore new horizons, to discover what lies outside of our comfort zone.
Becoming aware of our internal comfort zone
Most people are familiar with the term comfort zone: a pleasant or unpleasant thing that looks familiar, that we feel we control; what we know and makes us feel confident, safe or relaxed in/with. This may include places, emotions, thoughts, people, environments, habits, attitudes, behaviour, routines and skills.
To step out of the comfort zone implies doing something differently, shifting a behavior or attitude, performing at a whole new level. It requires a new action. For example, we may feel intimidated when speaking in front of an audience so we might make a commitment to join a public speaking club in order to overcome that fear. This achievement is visible and easy to recognize and acknowledge.
Inknowation explains what leaving the comfort zone may feel like in the following way:
Beyond the learning zone is the panic zone or no-experience zone. Many people (who won’t leave their comfort zone) will tell you it’s dangerous. Other people realise it’s the magic zone: where wonderful things can happen to you. Things that you still don’t know since you haven’t been there. It’s the big challenges zone. Some people think that if they go to the magic zone there’s no turning back and that the comfort zone disappears, but in fact leaving means broadening your comfort and learning zones. Change does not mean to lose what you had; it means that you add. Change is actually development.
Emotional tension and creative tension operate as two opposing forces; the first pulling you into your comfort zone, the second making you move outwards. Motivation has to win over fear if you want to move forward.
There is, however an internal comfort zone, which is not as easy to spot. Stepping out of this area means being a different way. This may include the ability to forgive, to be grateful or to have emotional management. The challenge lies on the fact that these invisible changes are intangible and can be easily overlooked or taken for granted and, thus, a person may feel that nothing is actually happening and that their efforts are not paying off. At this point, many people give up on their dreams and convince themselves that personal growth has no value or promises no rewards. That way, the comfort zone is preserved and dreams buried.
The E.N.C.O.U.N.T.E.R. with Self supports people in the expansion of their internal comfort zone, in creating awareness around invisible growth and appreciating it. It expands consciousness and allows people to develop self-gratitude and self-acknowledgment. It is empowering and transformational!
What values serve as the foundation for this model?
Many spiritual, psychological and scientific teachings have taught us that there exist certain energies or forces that enable transformation. Though the names assigned to them may differ, there is extensive evidence to the fact that being aligned with certain values (or energies) fuels transformation.
As a coach, I choose to be aligned with such forces – I consciously tune in with them, use them, activate them – as a way of enabling my own personal and spiritual realization. They help me focus my energy to expand my own sense of fulfilment, happiness and well-being. They help me stay in the flow of life!
Also, as I embody those values and allow those energies to be present in me (and through me) I can better hold the space for my clients to align with theirs and cultivate their own inspiration and motivation to make conscious choices, move forward … and experience transformation.
AWARENESS: We need to take an honest look at our lives in order to decide what we need to let go of and what needs to be embraced and integrated if we desire to maximize our fullest potential. This requires some silence and stillness in which we can ‘observe’ our reality, reflect on it and make (new) conscious choices.
RESPONSIBILITY: We are defined by our actions, which are constantly tracing our legacy. Everything we do or say has an impact on people and our surroundings and create a ripple effect. We are responsible for giving our best in every moment, for creating value, and for expressing our highest potential in every situation. It requires the same time and energy to do something sloppily than to do it gracefully, so it’s up to us to decide what we want to create as a result of our actions. What do our thoughts, actions and behaviours communicate about us?
SERVICE: The ultimate goal of any human being is to discover how they can serve humanity. We all have unique gifts and talents we can use in order to cater for people’s needs. Service does not only mean giving things away to charity, but it is a way of being in the world: listening to people’s deepest needs and desires and finding a creative way in which to respond to them. Ultimately, our best service to the world is to be committed to uplifting all the people we encounter on our way. We have the power to enable transformation, to inspire and to motivate.
EVOLUTION: Personal growth, and self- development – through self-inquiry – allow for a more evolved self to be expressed. Evolution implies honouring what has brought us to our present point, embracing our past experiences and choices and enhancing every aspect of ourselves in order to realize our fullest potential and share our greatness with the world. Evolution allows for expansion. As Deepak Chopra puts it, ‘your entire universe is in your mind and nowhere else. To expand the universe, expand your mind.’
Growth does not happen as a result of a revolutionary process (the willingness to destroy, reject or get rid of our past or ‘ego’) but rather as a natural result of evolution: using our experience as a springboard to become our most polished versions. It is about redefining and reinventing ourselves.
EQUANIMITY: Accepting what is brings us peace and allows us to embrace our reality. We can choose to respond to life (instead of reacting to it), to remain centered and become observers of reality. When we can experience life instead of interpret it or judge it, we don’t suffer. We are open to receive life fully, the way it naturally unfolds. We can understand that an experience has value only if we are aware of its underlying purpose and if we allow ourselves to be transformed as a result of it.
HEALING: According to Eckhart Tolle, ‘’the pain-body is … the accumulation of old emotional pain that almost all people carry in their energy field… It consists of negative emotions that were not faced, accepted, and then let go in the moment they arose. These negative emotions leave a residue of emotional pain, which is stored in the cells of the body … If you are not absolutely present, it takes over your mind and feeds on negative thinking as well as negative experiences such as drama in relationships. Another way of describing the pain-body is this: the addiction to unhappiness.’’ Our shadow (side) needs to be exposed, brought to the light and examined so that it can be transformed and elevated. By being authentic and vulnerable every single part of who we are can be seen and embraced. As Byron Katie states, suffering is repeated when the shadow is denied; we need to name and accept our shadow or it will keep on haunting and chasing us. Healing that pain body needn’t feel as a torment; it can be accessed with curiosity and with the aim of releasing unnecessary burdens: it is a gateway to healing.
AUTHENTICITY: When we are authentic we are being true to our Selves. We accept ourselves and can therefore be open, honest and vulnerable. We feel comfortable being who we are and we express ourselves freely because we experience self-love and self-worth. We don’t have to prove our value. We don’t have to pretend we are / feel something we are not because we are at peace with ourselves.
GRATITUDE: Gratitude is one of the keys to true happiness and fulfillment. We may achieve many outcomes, but we won’t be happy and fulfilled unless we are present to acknowledge them. Gratitude is mindfulness. To be grateful we need to be present, with eyes and heart wide open to celebrate all the gifts of life. Being grateful means that we value our life and that we are open to receive. We can choose to develop and nurture a positive and empowering mindset in order to make the most of our existence.
TRUST: We can only give others what we already own. We can’t trust others unless we trust ourselves and this implies knowing who we are (at a core level) and trusting our inner wisdom. We need to trust our talents, gifts and dreams. We can then trust that life will always provide us with everything we need. We can consciously choose to overcome fears, stretch our limits and have the courage to create our lives from a place of abundant and limitless possibilities.
An encounter with your SELF will help you…
- Remove barriers that are blocking your connection with your inner self.
- Connect with and trust your inner wisdom.
- Boost your self-confidence.
- Reconnect with your deepest dreams and desires.
- Develop courage to pursue your dreams and realize your highest vision.
- Take responsibility.
- Develop faith and gratitude.
- Uncover your core values.
- Expand self-love and experience self-worth.
- Make conscious choices.
- Create balance and wellbeing.
What stages can be expected in a transformational process?
Our soul is evolutionary, a constant potential in motion. We are therefore influenced by a natural transformational cycle that is endless, since it is fed by a positive and healthy loop that relentlessly allows for more expansion and transformation to occur.
1. INQUIRE: In order for transformation to take place, we need to identify what no longer serves in our lives and make a commitment to let go of it so that a new self can eventually emerge. Instead of clinging to our old ways of being (or doing) we need to let go of attachment and allow for the process of transformation to naturally unfold.
We need to develop awareness: What is going on in my life now? How fulfilled am I? What is my body telling me? What are my emotions telling me? We also need to do some detoxing and de-cluttering: Is there anything in my life that is causing me to feel a sense of unease, discomfort or (emotional) pain? How can I clear away complications and make room for what I want?
2. REFLECT: In order to plant the seeds for new visions and possibilities we need to allow for introspection: face our shadow side and get a clearer idea of what may hold us back, what may prevent our transformation into complete, fulfilled beings. We need to go deep into our selves, to our core, and prepare to take bold steps.
3. DISCOVER: After exploring, reflecting and letting go of old limitations ad conditioning, we are ready to envision a brighter future. We need to awaken our dreams, gifts and talents and use our (internal and external) resources as a springboard to create our ideal life.
4. CREATE: We need to cultivate mindfulness and gratitude and develop the capacity to appreciate what we already own in order to have some extra energy to create the life that we desire. We hold our highest vision while we develop action plans and learn to prioritise. Manifested visions require organizational skills, focused energy, conscious choices and deliberate steps. They require us to put in proper structures and rely on our support team. We need to trust and develop faith in a vision that still remains aloof.
5. CELEBRATE: We eventually witness the first sprouts. Hard work has paid off and we can now enjoy the first reaps of our sow. New opportunities start to unfold and we are eager to experience what life holds for us. It is a time of expansion and blossoming. As we boost our self-confidence we feel free to make new (and bolder) decisions. We may tap into our intuition (and listen to our inner wisdom) and start dreaming big!
6. TRANSFORM: A new self has emerged. Our desires and vision have fully manifested and provide us with trust and inspiration to keep dreaming and evolving. We feel we deserve to be happy and fulfilled and therefore welcome new opportunities and say yes to life! The process has shaped us into strong, yet light and flexible beings.
In a nutshell:
Niche: Transformational Coaching and Healing; Life Coaching.
Aim: An encounter with yourSELF.
Focus: Discovery of our personal, physical and spiritual potential in life.
Target: Clients who are seeking to connect with their inner wisdom, reconnect with and manifest their deepest desires and want to live a purposeful, meaningful life.
Key elements: Encounter is transformational; it nurtures an ‘inside-out change’ and holds a safe space in which clients feel free to discover and express their authentic selves.
What makes ENCOUNTER unique is its focus on the expansion of clients’ internal comfort zone, in creating awareness around invisible growth and appreciating it. It expands consciousness and allows people to develop self-gratitude and self-acknowledgment. It is empowering and transformational!
 Inknowation, Transforming organizations through Innovation: http://inknowation.com/en/