Research Paper By Eli Rivera
(Transformational Coach, UNITED STATES)
TRANSFORMACTIONAL LEADERSHIP COACHING- Transformational Coaching in a Transactional World
TRANSFORMACTION- Authentic Transformational Leadership
TRANSFORMATIONAL COACHING IN A TRANSACTIONAL WORLD
My email signature features this quote to remind me, and those I correspond with, that we are all exceptional beings filled with unlimited potential, living within a mechanistic system of “Doing” in order to “Get”. Oftentimes it’s the everyday act of “Doing” that gets in the way of our inherent state of “Being” and creates situations that move us further and further away from achieving our unlimited potential and keeps us constantly moving away from our higher purpose in life. That purpose is to give selflessly from a place of empathy and compassion and help others we encounter throughout life to do the same.
It is no wonder that coming to terms with such an abstract notion can be difficult for most. Since our birth we have been conditioned by others who been conditioned by others (and so on and so on) cultivating a state of Unconscious Competence (Adams, 2011). We are constantly bombarded by external forces telling us what success in life looks like…. marriage, 2.2 kids, a house, a car, designer clothes, etc…. It’s no wonder we lose “self” in the exterior notion of “ourselves”.
Life is steeped in duality; science and spirituality, theoretical and empirical research, qualitative and quantitative information and on and on. Therefore, in order to best describe what Transformactional Leadership Coaching (TLC) is, I must work to bring together many varying ideals that through further exploration will ultimately lead back to the core essence of TLC. Together, we will explore (in historical order) the relationship between Vedic Astrology (Chakra Development Stages), The Four Stages of Learning, Maslow’s “Expanded” Hierarchy of Needs and John C. Maxwell’s Five Levels of Leadership.
After describing each of these theories and their respective influences on TLC, I will provide a basic model (combining all of the explored models) that may be used to chart the current “Leadership State” of a client. After describing each individual model and their influence on TLC, I will pose a series of questions in the (Application Section) designed to drive the client deeper and deeper within their current state of consciousness to seek the answers that may propel them forward and contribute to the “shift” into their next state.
Chakra Age Cycle
History has a way of repeating itself and oftentimes we must look at our past to see what lies ahead in our future. Since the beginning of documented time man has looked to the celestial bodies for navigation, tracking of the seasons and determining character traits of individuals and their future. Vedic Astrology is one such study of the celestial body and will be the starting point of our journey into the world of TLC.
According to the science of astrology, planets represent certain energies, and, in fact, do emit certain magnetic and electric fields which influence the lives of human beings. Vedic astrology (called “Jyotish”, or the science of light) comes to us from India since times pre-dating the Christian era. Vedic philosophy and Vedic astrology readings assume the law of karma, which states that a human being lives and works within certain parameters created by actions performed in prior lifetimes. Thus it is generally regarded as predictive in nature — it can show when the results of such prior actions will come to fruition in the present life. (Koch, 2011)
Chakras are defined as: energy points or knots in the subtle body. Chakras are part of the subtle body, not the physical body, and as such are the meeting points of the subtle (non-physical) energy channels, called nadiis.
Dependent upon the age of a person a particular combination of chakras will be the focal point of their personal development and have a great influence upon a their state of existence. For example, a 22 year old will find themselves struggling with choosing to get married and permanently settle down or live a life of bachelorhood, because the chakras dominating their life in the 22nd year are Heart & Fear which results in “Fear of living together whole life, fear to stay alone for the rest of life”. (Appendix 1)
Influence Upon Transformactional Leadership Coaching
From the dominant chakra for each seven year cycle, one may predict the dominant attributes at play in an individual’s life depending upon their age during that particular cycle. From the secondary “actual age” chakras the particular energy of influence on the individual for that year may be determined. Assuming that our life moves in seven year cycles and we will always have two chakra cycles at play at any given time, a client will always fall within these chakra states. A coach may reference the chart to see what personal influence may be driving a client’s current condition and fashion questions to help propel the client forward. (Appendix 1)
John is a 28 year old man thrust into the position of Regional Manager of a rapidly growing retail chain. John’s only major management experience came as a General Manager of a retail store in which John’s main objective was to meet the company’s sales and profitability expectations. Now, as the company grows and John has been promoted he is expected to teach other General Managers how to achieve the success he did at the single store level. However John has absolutely no idea what it takes to develop others because he’s never had to do anything other than give orders. Based upon the Chakra Table, at 28 years of age John is facing “Desire to raise benevolent kinds and leave a mark on this world” a coach may ask deep Transformactional questions that will create deep internal change within John that will be the catalyst to his shifting into his new leadership role. Some questions that may be asked are: How would you wish to be remembered by those you’ve developed? What do you believe motivates others to be kind? What is the legacy that you would like to be remembered for when you are gone?
The Four Stages Of Learning A New Skill
Burch 1970 as cited by (Adams, 2011)
Unconscious Incompetence- This feeling of incompleteness is our most basic method for living. We go through our day to day interactions feeling that something is amiss, but we just can’t put our finger on it. We identify with having our basic needs met and cannot understand how there could be anything else missing. “We don’t know what we don’t know.” (Adams, 2011)
Conscious Incompetence- You are becoming aware of many of the problems but don’t know how to correct them. You know what is needed and just don’t know how to or are afraid to make the necessary changes.
This is when we are unhappy with ourselves, our relationship, career or any other “external” achievements. This is where we usually start down the road of exploring personal development and self-help opportunities yet still feel overwhelmed.
Conscious Competence- You now know what it will take to fix things and understand that past conditioning will make it a long and arduous process. A feeling of discomfort and resistance may be present in your body as you move out of your comfort zone, but you know deep down inside it’s the right thing to do and are willing to trade the current discomfort for the feeling of accomplishment and your future achievement. Life is becoming more meaningful and fulfilling.
Unconscious Competence- Your changes have become ingrained in you and action comes effortlessly. You no longer have to think of the changes you have made because they are now an inherent part of who you are. This is where Transformactional Leadership is born! We not only understand that this process must be maintained by constantly pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone in order to grow, we wish to share this with others with the gentle understanding of all the hard work it took to get here. We become immersed in creating more and more positive habits within ourselves and seek to transmute these feelings and behaviors through our words and actions.
Influence upon Transformactional Leadership Coaching
Coaches should always take into consideration the pace and style at which their client is most comfortable. Clients may completely shut down if questions are too far beyond their comfort level. Conversely, questions that are not inspirational or compelling to a client who is ready to be challenged can contribute to a state of stagnation in the client.
Susan has experienced life at Stage 1- Unconscious Incompetence and is looking to start her own business and is seeking the assistance of a Coach to help her begin the process. This is Susan’s very first business venture and her motivation to do so is strictly based on the fact that Susan has discovered that the discomfort she identified in Stage 1 was due to “not wanting to spend the rest of her life working for someone else”. It would not be a good idea for a coach to ask Susan “What legacy would you like to leave in the world”, when she is just getting to Level 2- Conscious Incompetence and still hasn’t even decided what business she would like to start. Questions that explore her core values and passions may be more appropriate for her movement towards defining what business she would like to start and why. Appropriate questions may include: Where does your passion lie? What will make you happiest? What does your intuition tell you?
Maslow’s “Expanded” Hierarchy Of Needs
Maslow, 1970 as cited by (McLeod, 2007)
Abraham Harold Maslow was an American psychologist who was best known for creating Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a theory of psychological health predicated on fulfilling innate human needs in priority, culminating in self-actualization. (McLeod, 2007)
Maslow stressed the importance of focusing on the positive qualities in people, as opposed to treating them as a “bag of symptoms” and often times is considered the founder of modern day Positive Psychology.
Maslow wanted to understand what motivates people outside of rewards or unconscious desires. He believed that it was human nature to achieve a certain need and then seek to fulfill a new one and then on and on.
The earliest and most widespread model of Maslow’s Hierarch of Needs has five stages. For the sake of this paper we will focus on his 1970 “Expanded” Hierarchy of Needs.
- Biological and Physiological needs – air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex, sleep, etc.
- Safety needs – protection from elements, security, order, law, stability, etc.
- Love and belongingness needs – friendship, intimacy, affection and love, – from work group, family, friends, romantic relationships.
- Esteem needs – self-esteem, achievement, mastery, independence, status, dominance, prestige, managerial responsibility, etc.
- Cognitive needs – knowledge, meaning, etc.
- Aesthetic needs – appreciation and search for beauty, balance, form, etc.
- Self-Actualization needs – realizing personal potential, self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences.
- Transcendence needs – helping others to achieve self actualization. (McLeod, 2007)
Maslow’s choice to focus on what goes right with people and their ability to maximize their life potential versus what goes wrong (traditional psychopathology) , is also in alignment with the fundamental beliefs of TLC. According to Maslow this is a fundamental step towards becoming “Self-Actualized”. Maslow believed that personal growth and discovery are never static as long as one is seeking self-actualization and eventually all self-actualized persons will find a meaning to life that is important to them. Maslow estimated that only 2% of people ever reach the state of self-actualization.
Influence upon Transformactional Leadership Coaching
Maslow’s positive view of human potential and that a human’s natural state is never static support a leader’s ability to bring out the best in others. MacGregor Burns said it best when he stated that a Transformational Leader “recognizes and exploits an existing need or demand of a potential follower… (and) looks for potential motives in followers, seeks to satisfy higher needs, and engages the full person of the follower”. (Srinivasan, 2008)
Bob, a local cashier at the neighborhood grocery store has just gotten a 20% raise for doing such a great job but is still feeling personally unsatisfied. Bob lives a very meager lifestyle in a nice one bedroom apartment in a nice neighborhood and has been able to save a rather large amount of money. It’s very clear that Bob has met his biological, physiological needs and safety needs, yet is feeling incomplete. Looking at the natural progression unto the next level of Maslow’s hierarchy (Love and Belongingness), a coach may ask: What do you like to do for fun? Who are your greatest supporters? If you were to teach people how to have fun, how would you go about it? All questions that may bring to light Bob’s desire to be around others. (Appendix 1)
Maxwell’s Five Levels Of Leadership (Maxwell, 2011)
John C. Maxwell has successfully bridged the gap from the traditional Transactional Leadership Model to the current Transformational Leadership Model. Maxwell’s ideals embody the fundamental transactional needs that Maslow described, while also understanding and implementing the “self-actualization” principle of self-discovery and personal growth.
Level 1: Position
This level is the most transactional level within the 5 Steps. You must do what I say because I’m your superior and that supports the hierarchy of the organization! If you don’t do what I say…. you may be reprimanded, have your pay limited or perhaps even get terminated. “Position is the starting place for every level of leadership. It is the bottom floor and the foundation upon which leadership must be built. Real influence must be developed upon that foundation”. (Maxwell, 2011)
Level 2: Permission
This is the first opportunity to connect at a deeper level with subordinates. The need to use the “threat” of what may happen if directions are not followed to one where the subordinate begins to trust and wants to help his leader. As the leader builds trust and garners a greater level of commitment from his team members, it becomes easier to do what has been asked and truly follow the leader. “Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less”. (Maxwell, 2011) Leaders who rely on their positions to move people rarely develop influence with them.
Trust is the foundation of all personal relationships. Once personal relationships are nurtured and cultivated a leader will be able to accomplish more with his team.
Level 3: Production
Production is the net result of a leader who has built trust, inspired and initiated action by his team to achieve results. Leaders are judged on the transactional results of what they have produced for an organization. This is where true leaders shine and set themselves apart from others who are in leadership positions. At this level the team will have even more trust in their leader and want to continue to contribute to their success.
Level 4: People Development
Here is the first opportunity that a leader may have to teach others what he learned in Levels 1-3. Effective leaders will ultimately move away from the results that are generated during their presence to developing others to lead in their absence or even permanently (as the team member moves up in the organization). This opportunity also challenges their new found comfort zone and sense of success in achieving the transactional expectations as producers and challenges them to become facilitators of personal change in others.