Life Coaching Methods: What One Is Right For You?

In recent years, women have increasingly sought support from life coaches to help them navigate life transitions, find purpose and direction, overcome challenges, and embrace personal growth. The reasons for seeking out a life coach are as unique as the women themselves – ranging from career advancement and work-life balance to self-confidence, empowerment, and overall fulfillment. With a variety of life coaching methods available and an estimated 23,000 certified life coaches in the US alone, it’s essential to determine the approach that fits your needs.

Transformative vs. Transactional Life Coaching

Before we can talk about specific life coaching methods, it’s important to understand that life coaching comes in two essential forms – transactional and transformative, each with a differing fundamental premise. Transactional life coaching takes a solution-oriented approach to setting and attaining specific goals. It emphasizes the achievement of tangible outcomes and rests on the idea that meaningful changes can be made without delving into a person’s underlying way of being.

In other words, within a transactional coaching model, you don’t have to explore or shift your way of thinking or being in order to reach the desired outcomes. While highly effective in supporting the accomplishment of short-term goals, these coaching methods may not result in lasting life changes.

Transformative coaching, on the other hand, centers on self-awareness, personal growth, and creating deep, long-lasting changes. By encouraging a shift in mindset, beliefs, and behavior, a transformational life coaching method allows you to organically bring to life goals that are an expression of your true nature.

While transactional life coaching relies on the tangible, time-sensitive goals such as career growth or relationship milestones, transformational coaching is focused on the abstract with results such as improved self-esteem, higher sense of purpose, or reduced stress and anxiety. A transformational life coach can and will use transactional methods at times. However, a life coach specializing in a transactional method will rarely facilitate the deep inner work associated with transformative life coaching.

Transactional Life Coaching
The GROWTH Model
One of the most common and effective methods of transactional life coaching is the GROWTH model. As described below, the word GROWTH is an acronym that stands for Goals, Reality, Options, Will, Tactics, and Habits, each representing a step in the coaching process.
Goals: Clearly defining the specific, measurable objectives you want to achieve.
Reality: Assessing your current situation so you can understand your starting point.
Options: Exploring the various ways you can move toward achieving your goals.
Will: Identifying which actions you’re willing to commit to in pursuit of your goals.
Tactics: Determining the specific steps and timeline to reach your desired outcome.
Habits: Developing habits and creating accountability to maintain progress.

Like most transactional life coaching methods, the GROWTH model is a structured approach that begins with setting goals then moves through planning, intentional action, and accountability in order to achieve a desired outcome. However, because of the surface-level aspects of goal achievement this model doesn’t offer much opportunity for profound personal growth and results may be limited.
Other transactional life coaching methods include the OSCAR model (Outcome, Situation, Choices/Consequences, Actions, Review), and the CLEAR model (Contracting, Listening, Exploring, Action, Review).

Transformational Life Coaching
Deep Coaching

Unlike transactional coaching methods that focus on reaching tangible goals through planning and accountability, Deep coaching is a transformative coaching model that focuses on the inner work needed to become the best version of yourself.

This life coaching model requires a willingness to be vulnerable and to face your fears so that you can break free from negative thought and behavior patterns, reconnect with your true self, and live a more empowered and fulfilling life. By engaging in this profound journey of self-discovery you can tap into your potential and create lasting transformations.

Using the Enneagram personality mapping system as a guide, Deep coaching encourages you to embrace your unique personality type and become the woman you were created to be. By uncovering your innate strengths, weaknesses, fears, and motivations you can begin to let go of those things that are holding you back in life.

As a transformative life coaching method, deep coaching is focused less on achieving a specific, measurable outcome and more on an overall change in your way of being. The benefits of Deep coaching include heightened sense of self-awareness, increased self-esteem, decreased stress and anxiety, and enhances feelings of empowerment, fulfillment, and purpose.

While transformative coaching models, including Deep Coaching, do include some aspects of goal achievement it may take longer to reach a specific goal with these methods.

The Pathway Process Of Life Coaching
The Pathway Process is a transformational life coaching model that I developed exclusively for women. By incorporating aspects of life coaching, positive psychology, and neuroscience, the Pathway Process expands on the principles of Deep Coaching allowing you to delve deeper into your psyche, embrace your authentic self, and unearth your core values so that you can live with a sense of purpose, passion, and fulfillment.

At its heart this process is a transformative coaching model but, recognizing that after the deep inner work is completed there is value in tangible goal setting and achievement, it includes components such as SMART goals and intentional action which are typically associated with transactional models. This allows for both structure and fluidity in the coaching process.

How to Choose a Life Coaching Method

When seeking out a life coach, there are a few key things you’ll want to keep in mind.
First, what kind of support are you looking for? Would you prefer to work with a coach one-on-one, in a group setting, or through a self-paced program?
Next, what goals are you hoping to achieve? Are they tangible goals such as getting a promotion at work or saving a specific amount of money? Or are your goals more abstract, like increased confidence or an overall sense of fulfillment?
Finally, how open are you to the idea of deep inner change?

If you prefer a goal-oriented approach that provides clarity and accountability in the pursuit of tangible objectives, then a transactional method like the GROWTH model may be a good fit. Many coaches who use these models specialize in a specific area such as business, relationships, career, or money management so it’s important to choose a coach that offers both the level and type of support you’re seeking.

However, if you’re seeking a more profound experience that addresses your underlying beliefs, facilitates personal growth on a deeper level, and creates lasting transformations in all aspects of your life then a transformative method such as the Pathway Process may be right for you.

Choosing a life coaching method that’s aligned with your unique needs is essential to your success. Whether you prefer a transactional or transformational approach, the key is to find a coaching method and a coach who resonates with you and can guide you towards the life you envision.

If you feel drawn to a transformative experience I would love to discuss the Pathway Process of life coaching with you. Contact me today to schedule a free consultation.