The possibilities of transformation through Coaching

I'm sharing with you a short discussion I contributed to our Transpersonal Psychology Discussion Forum, examining the Question Can coaching processes lead to transformation or spiritual awakening? Identify what the key criteria are that promote transformation in coaching, focusing on what transpersonal perspectives can contribute.


A commonly, widespread term within the field of transpersonal coaching psychology is "transformation" or "spiritual awakening" as a means to define an aspired outcome of any type of coaching intervention. To examine, whether coaching processes can lead or contribute to "transformation" or "spiritual awakening", a personal understanding of both of these terms is provided in the appendix to establish a context for the following short discussion.

From my perspective, a coaching process can be supportive to a client in unblocking his/her physical, emotional, and mental state of being to allow transformation to happen again naturally. The process of spiritual awakening is an immanent by-product of continual transformation. To allow a supportive field for the client to emerge which enables him/her to rewrite his/her narratives of life and gradually embody (integrate) them, several criteria are of significant importance. Dängeli's belief "the best a person can be in your presence, is a match to your internal representation of that person. (...) In this regard, transpersonal coaches need to also have an unlimited view of themselves and of the coaching process." is highly relevant. As Omer in his paper states "Imagination is at the core of human experience and is the essence of human consciousness. (...) Imagination both integrates and transforms our experience". The importance of this criterion is also reflected in the presuppositions of TCP emphasizing the awareness of our intra-dependence and the co-creational influence of each other beyond our rational mind (The TCP Handbook). Recurring inquiry into the coach's own beliefs, assumptions, and underlying motivations is a corresponding necessity as Howard Thurman beautifully put it,

"Ask not what the world needs.
Ask what makes you come alive!
Then go do it!
Because what the world needs
is people who have come alive!"

Potentially every blockage, however it might present itself, is based on the client's perception of the ecology he/she exists in. Therefore, to re-perceive and newly integrate (unblock) an issue based on a previously defined belief(-system) on the personal (Ego/self) level, shifting the client's state of consciousness is a necessary prerequisite. As Einstein famously stated, "We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them". Techniques like applied open awareness, mindfulness, contemplation, breathwork, somatic inquiry and more can evoke a shift towards a more expanded state of consciousness, hence a transpersonal perspective. When coaching is directed by transpersonal awareness, then everything that arises in the sessions is acknowledged as relevant and meaningful regarding Dängeli. Therefore the coach's trust in his or her inner guidance and the emergence of the moment is crucial and needs to be practiced, deepened, and refined through conscious practice.

Further important aspects (bodies of knowledge and wisdom) infusing and sharpening an intra-action (Barad, 2012) between coach and client are Titration (Levine, 2011), Dan Siegels' "window of tolerance", client-centering, rapport, safety and trustworthiness (Dängeli, 2023), grounding/embodying (Dängeli, 2023; Kinkel Interview, 2024), Intentionality (Rothlyn P. and Zahourek, M., 1998), Spiritual bypassing (Dängeli, 2023), Relationship dynamics (Elica Lorde-Syzygy, 2024) and more.



1.1 Transformation
Dängeli refers in his article Trauma-informed Coaching (2023, Vol. 2) to a range of definitions for transformation such as "A radical change that arises from deep awareness and leads to a fresh orientation and new direction (Kellog, Michaels & Brown, 2011)" or "Experiences that dissolve the understanding of self and create a new [expanded] one (Taylor, 2013)". Referring to Sophie Kinkel, Transformational Bodywork Practitioner and Teacher transformation is an ongoing natural process. Following her idea of transformation, we don’t have to do anything for transformation to occur, we are simply invited to allow life to unfold through us. Building on this idea influenced by teachings from ancient wisdom traditions, transformation is the reoccurring last step in our continuous cycle of human experiencing consisting of 1) expression 2) exploration 3) integration, and 4) transformation. Whereby transformation occurs as a natural result of a healthy, unblocked integration and results in an irreversible change on the physical, emotional and mental level of the experiencing self.

1.2 Spiritual Awakening
Richard Rudd depicts awakening in the Deja Blu Podcast (2023) as a series of softenings of the heart. A poetic widening of the meaning of awakening as a constant process of (re-)discovering our holistic nature. In addition to it, Spirare in Latin means breathing, to breath, one of the main etymological roots of the word „spiritual“. The combination „spiritual awakening“ for me, describes a process of gradual remembering of the multidimensional Self through cultivating a heightened (constantly evolving) sense of awareness and softness (of the heart) within.

2. A Quote that inspired my thoughts and contemplations deeply:
"Living compassionately, sharing in the suffering of the other, does not require anything like complete understanding (and might, in fact, necessitate the disruption of this very yearning). Rather, living compassionately requires recognizing and facing our responsibility to the infinitude of the other, welcoming the stranger whose very existence is the possibility of touching and being touched, who gifts us with both the ability to respond and the longing for justice-to-come." (Barad, 2012, On Touching)

Dängeli, J. (2023), Alef Trust course materials
Omer, A. (2016). When Imagination Leads. Transformative Imagery: Cultivating the Imagination for Healing, Change, and Growth, Chapter 24. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, London
Dängeli, J. (2022). The Transpersonal Coaching Handbook.
Dängeli, J. (2023). Trauma-informed coaching: a transpersonal perspective. Transpersonal Coaching Psychology Journal, Volume 2, 8-24.
Goodreads. (2024, April 15). Albert Einstein Quotes.
Barad, K. (2015). On Touching—The Inhuman That Therefore I Am. Power of Material - Politics of Materiality. The University of Chicago Press
Levine, P. (2011). Sprache ohne Worte. Kösel-Verlag
Rothlyn P. and Zahourek, M. (1998). Intentionality in Transpersonal Healing: Research and Caregiver Perspectives. Alternative Health Practitioner, Volume 4, No. 1
Marvel, S. (Host). (2024, March 1). Dependency & Sovereignty in Transformational Spaces: Elica Lorde-Syzygy. [Audio podcast episode]. In Spiritual Sexual Shamanic Podcast. International School of Temple Arts.

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