The word “transformation” traces its origins back to Old French and Latin, and means to change in shape, or “metamorphose.” The use of the word to designate undergoing a change of form dates to the late 16th century.


Transformation implies a fundamental change in a being or organization.

Even today, transformation indicates that some fundamental change is taking place, and not just a cosmetic or surface change. Businesses hire business coaches, but they also hire transformational coaches, and the two are not the same. Transformational coaching is more holistic and overarching than typical business coaching.

Similarities Between Business and Transformational Coaching

The goal of business coaching and the goal of transformational coaching is often the same or at least very similar. When a company hires one of these types of coaches, they do so with the goal of a more effective business, with more effective leadership. In other words, they want to make the business measurably better in some way.

Business and transformational coaches may work with top leaders within an organization in an effort to help them tap into their unique greatness and recognize where they need to improve. Both the business and transformational coach strive to have clients that end up more self-aware, confident, and goal-oriented.

Differences Between Business and Transformational Coaching

But business coaching and transformational coaching aren’t interchangeable. Think of it this way. If you want to redecorate your home, you may repaint, replace furniture, change the drapes or blinds, or change the flooring. The end result can be a much more enjoyable, attractive, and usable home that looks significantly different from the way it started out.

If you want to renovate your home, however, you will make changes on a more fundamental level. You may take out walls, change the function of various rooms, make some rooms bigger and others smaller. You’ll likely do many of the same redecorating tasks like repainting and rearranging or changing furniture. But once you’re done, the result may be completely unrecognizable as being the same dwelling as it was before.


Transformation may require tearing down walls and otherwise going back to the foundational structure of an organization.

Transformational coaching in business tears down the walls, reassesses functions, and sometimes rebuilds from the ground up. It’s more thorough, far-reaching, and can create a “new” way of doing things that are vastly different compared to how it was before.

Choosing a Transformational Coach

Choosing a transformational coach is similar to choosing a business coach. You have to do the same due diligence, with respect to tasks like checking a coach’s qualifications, certifications, and experience. Choosing a coach who has undergone an accredited training program is important regardless of which type of coach you want to hire.

Personal testimonials can be immensely valuable whether you’re choosing a business coach or a transformational coach. Because of the greater intensity of transformational coaching, it’s even more critical that you talk to people who have undergone the process and learn all you can about what it was like, what changed, and how they have benefited from it.

Will you be unrecognizable as a professional after undergoing transformational coaching? Probably not, but you should feel and perform as if you have undergone a fundamental change in terms of how you view situations, how you understand problems, how you develop solutions, and how you move your organization forward.

Transformational coaching and business coaching share similarities, but they’re not identical concepts. In my publication, “John Mattone’s 21 Laws of Leadership and Cultural Transformation” I go into more depth on what actually has to happen for business transformation to take place. It’s a good place to start when weighing your business coaching and transformational coaching options.

Both business coaching, corporate transformation and transformational coaching benefit businesses that make a genuine commitment to the processes involved. In today’s business world, standing still or relying on the status quo is not an option if long-term success is the goal.

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