When we buy, what are we really buying – a product or service, a benefit, or a transformation? What really interests me as a life and financial coach is directly altering the behaviour of a client so their life is transformed. In this first of a two part post on transformation I draw lessons from my own transformation and consider what triggers a transformation in people.

I was reminded yesterday by my own coach that people are not interested in a product, service or process per se. They want to see benefits and, in the coaching arena, transformation.

As Bernadette Jiwa wrote in her blog only two days ago, things may have changed, but people haven’t and nor have the real reasons they buy:

Because they’re scared or lonely. Because they want to be seen and understood. Because they need comfort or reassurance. Because they are sad or insecure. Because they want to be happy or make memories.’ (Bernadette Jiwa)

They buy to be transformed!

Certainly the purchase of products or services can change lives and often does.

Apple’s success is due less to its technology, more to its ability to transform peoples’ sense of themselves through the Apple community.

In fact, Apple scores on most of the items in Jiwa’s list.

Transformation triggers

Yes, products and services can bring us benefits. Do they lead, though, to a really deep transformation – a life changing transformation. Arguably, this comes less from products, more from life itself. I have identified three triggers that lead to deep personal transformation.

Overcoming obstacles

We deal with an obstacle or solve a problem, which allows us to move forward and if the obstacle is internal the transformation involved is often substantial

Rise from a fall

We get up after falling down and I know from my own experience that its not the falling down that matters, its the speed and energy with which we get up afterwards – Rising Strong, as Brené Brown puts it.


We are inspired or influenced by an organisation or individual, one that introduces us to a new paradigm and helps us to adopt it

My own life has, happily, contained many examples of all three triggers.

Getting out of a rut

In the ’90s my life was going nowhere, personally and professionally. I came to understand that if I played tomorrow the same way as yesterday, tomorrow would simply turn out the same as yesterday.  So I pulled out, sold my flat, left my job, stated over. Disruptive? Yes. Transformative? Definitely.

Dealing with a fall - badly

In my days as a young officer in the Forces I fell down badly. My mistake was not getting back up, and it left me in the desert for decades until I sought help (or rather, help found me) and I eventually rewrote the ending of that story in a way that rebuilt my integrity. It took too long, though, and my life would have been so different if I had sought help earlier.

Support team

It was in the mid 2000’s that I started to connect with people of influence who showed me that the old paradigm by which I had lived, a paradigm centred on self, not others, could be replaced by a paradigm built on compassion and empathy. I’ve written about these influences in other post on this site.

So, if that is my stories of transformation, what about those who seek help from me as a life and financial coach? What sort of transformation are they looking for? I’ll look at this in the 2nd part of this post.