In this week’s FSOC (one of my most popular articles where we look at the essence of transformation. And while the story you’re about to read happened during a 3-day coaching intensive with one of my clients, the lessons it reveals apply to everyone on this planet (that’s why I included this story in my book, RESULTS: Think Less, Achieve More).
Transformational coaching is different in a number of ways from traditional coaching. As a transformational coach, you use distinctions and “leverage points” for creating the kind of profound, life-transforming shifts that aren’t necessarily evident in the FUEL methods and GROW models that are standard in the coaching world. In this article, you’re going to discover the secret formula for profound coaching transformations.
One of the things I love doing is 3-day transformational coaching “intensives” with my clients. The purpose of these sessions is for the client to experience a profound re-ordering of how they experience reality, to help them establish a new ‘foundation’ for living, and to create the specific results they desire (or something even better, as I’ll explain in a moment).
Back in 2014, I did an intensive with Ian. Ian runs a very successful SME business, but he had hired me because he felt stuck; he couldn’t move forward and get to where he wanted to in his work, his relationships and his life in general. He wanted clarity of direction and the ability to move forward. We made a short list of the problems he wanted to be solved, the changes he wanted to make and the results he wanted to create as a result of our session. About 45 minutes into our first session, he said, “I need a formula for how we’re going to work together over these three days. I need a formula for how this transformation is going to work.”
My first response was a mild panic. I didn’t have a formula, and I felt anxious about it. Ian had paid me a large sum of money, and I wasn’t going to be able to give him what he needed! Fortunately, I woke up quickly to the fact that my feelings of panic and anxiety weren’t telling me about my client, my abilities or my lack of a formula. My feelings were alerting me to the principle of Thought taking an anxious form at the moment. The moment I insightfully saw this, I fell out of my thinking and back into the moment, at which point the solution arrived. I told Ian, “Here’s the first part of the formula”, and wrote on the whiteboard:
You plus Misunderstanding equals Stuck
I explained that his experience of being stuck was coming from a fundamental misunderstanding of where his experience was coming from. I told him that the misunderstanding was perfectly innocent and natural, and said: “You have the innate capacity within you to see through this misunderstanding and wake up to a rich, fulfilling experience of life.” I explained that the misunderstanding about where your experience was coming from also led to a misunderstanding about who you really are, and what you’re up to in life. Earlier in the session, Ian had told me that when he was a young man, he was very happy-go-lucky, spontaneous and carefree. As he grew older, he had become more serious and busy-minded and said he longed for the sense of freedom, fun and happiness that he used to enjoy. I told him he was going to love the second part of the formula:
You minus Misunderstanding equals Clarity, freedom, fun, spontaneity, fulfilment, love and happiness
To my delight, Ian said “Great, that’s exactly the formula we need. Let’s go.”
Over the next 3 days, Ian had one insight after another. As he started to “see through” the misunderstanding about where his experience was coming from (what I refer to as the “outside-in misunderstanding”), he began to relax into his true identity, and wake up to the beauty of life. One of the fascinating parts of this was when, on the third day, we reviewed the list of outcomes Ian had made on the first day, and he started laughing. One by one, as we went through his list of objectives, we found that each objective fell into one of the following categories:
– The problem no longer existed, or…
– The solution was now obvious, and he felt capable and motivated to resolve the problem, or…
– The urgency was gone, and he felt comfortable and confident that the solution would emerge in due course.
– The change no longer seemed important, or…
– The change had already happened, or…
– The urgency was gone, and he was happy to let it emerge in an organic way.
– The result no longer seemed important, or…
– The result had been replaced by something much more inspiring and natural for him, or…
– The way forward was obvious, and he felt ready and excited to start creating it.
I love this part of the transformational coaching process. As the client falls out of their misunderstanding, they fall into a new sense of clarity, freedom and possibility. As you start waking up to your true nature, you realise just how much power you have to create a life that deeply inspires you. And speaking to you as a coach, it’s a wonderful way to work. Instead of trying to help the client solve their problems, overcome obstacles and figure out what steps to take, you focus in a different direction: creating a space for them to have a profound transformation. And what emerges from that transformation is a client who has the solutions to their problems, the capacity to overcome obstacles and to create whatever they are inspired to create.
In the time since our three days together, Ian’s life and business have continued to transform. As well as a new sense of energy of personal direction, he’s enjoying deeper-than-ever connections in his relationships, and more fun and spontaneity in general. As Ian has introduced this understanding into his business, it’s had a dramatic effect on his team and their performance.
When I followed up with Ian, 24 months after his intensive, his business has gone from being ‘stuck’ to experiencing an impressive 60% growth. He told me, ‘It’s wonderful to see my team flourish, take on more responsibility and be so much more productive. We’re connected, aligned and all pulling in the same direction. For me personally, this shows up in my life as working less for more results.’
Very importantly, he no longer feels stuck and is enjoying sharing his newfound clarity with clients, colleagues and loved ones. And the formula I came up with for Ian ended up being boiled down to The Clarity Equation…
Jamie Smart, Sunday Times Bestselling Author, Speaker & Executive Coach
PS This Sunday at 6 pm UK-time, I’m doing a free Masterclass called 30 Days to Get Your Coaching Practice Thriving.
This is part of the HUGE free live training series called The Thriving Coaches Business Masterclass series. It´s 8-12 hours of high quality, free training with me, and I’m doing it LIVE!
We’re halfway through the Thriving Coaches Business Masterclass series at this point, and we’re having a ball!
Tuesday’s Q&A session was an unexpected highlight, and the feedback’s been terrific so far.
Q&A Session 1
Q&A Session 2
Anyway, they’re all available to watch free now. Next workshop is Sunday night at 6 pm, and the series will be available until Friday, October 2nd, so…
Q: Would you like to watch the TCB Masterclass Series?
As soon as you register, we’ll give you replay access to the Masterclasses I’ve already done, and free access to Sunday’s masterclass, 30 Days to Get Your Coaching Practice Thriving.
PPS If you haven’t already joined my Secret Coaching Business Channel on Telegram, check it out. Pretty much every day I’m sharing bite-sized client-creation tips and exclusive content (my latest posts include the 5-question model for deciding on a price for your coaching or training, and what I call the ‘relationship/need matrix’).