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Episode 15

Becoming a Transformative Presence

We hear more and more about transformational coaching but what defines a transformational coach? And how do we become one in nature rather than simply in name?

In this conversation, Rand Stagen unpacks the four levels of coaching as defined by an insightful behavioural measure and dives deep into what it means to be a transformational presence and how to navigate the accompanying paradoxes.

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The 4 levels of coaching

What does the word “transformation” really mean? We have a vague sense that it’s about the space beyond our training, beyond getting results or even helping our clients – that it requires a state of presence beyond what we ordinarily experience.

It turns out, despite the ever-increasing numbers of coaches who call themselves “transformational”, this capacity is actually pretty rare and requires a longer timeframe than most coaching relationships. The closest we usually get is creating the conditions for transformation and, if the client is ready, potentially acting as a catalyst for transformation. Transformational coaching is in fact more about creating opportunity for transformation.

So what are the different levels of coaching and what do they look like? Rand came up with a framework that includes four levels of coaching capacity:

  • Friend coach: least complex, coach is seeking validation, client and coach feel they are friends
  • Performance coach: not looking for validation, focussed on results
  • Mentor/facilitator coach: looking for high quality delivery of their own unique process or life experience
  • Transformative coach: no validation seeking whatsoever, just present to the work, zero attachment to outcomes

Most senior coaches are mentors/facilitators – able to get results but also go deeper. One crucial defining aspect seems to be patience (who knew?!) – with each level the required patience capacity goes up; the coach holds a longer-term view of transformation.

At the highest level the sense of self also dissolves, hence why there’s no need for validation. The state of transformational presence is one of love and inevitably, of spiritual growth – this becomes the hallmark for “success”.

The general orientation of the coach is a non-attachment to outcomes, and rather a focus on being deeply present in the moment. Rand testifies that it is inspiring and frustrating to be in this type of coaching relationship because of the patience factor; the coach doesn’t have an agenda. It’s the clients work to step into what’s next.

One of the paradoxes that becomes evident as we begin trying to step into this coaching capacity is the paradox inherent in it: it’s not about you, and it’s all about you. There’s tension between non-attachment to outcomes and the need to run a viable business. Holding these paradoxes is a major learning point in this process.

Another aspect that gets called into question is our relationship with money. We all know that if there isn’t skin in the game (money) from the client, the likelihood of transformation goes down; if the client hands over a (for them) large amount of money, they will look for an equivalent amount of value, and as Rand says, “You find what you look for”.

So what’s the experience like, with a transformational coach?

  • No agenda
  • Sense of possibility
  • Great questions
  • Feels loved but no projection of desires
  • Nothing to make right
  • Only requirement is to be present
  • Sense of advocacy for the evolution of world

True mastery brings coaches to a place where stillness and divinity are balanced with action and agency (inspired action, not validation-oriented).

Resources mentioned:

About Rand

Photo of Rand Stagen
Rand Stagen

Rand Stagen is the Managing Director of the Stagen Leadership Academy that specializes in strategy, execution, and leadership development. Previously he was President of Presido Media Group, and served as chairman for Conscious Capitalism. Rand is a sought-after speaker to diverse audiences at universities, conferences, and industry events on the topic of leading conscious businesses.

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