Hitler and the Definition of Transformational Leadership Coaching

Transformational Leadership Coaching is a way to teach, inspire, and motivate clients to achieve personal, professional, and organizational success. It is coaching that can lead to transformation – both individual and collective. Though the term is usually reserved for those working in the coaching field, sometimes transformational leadership coaching is applied to world leaders.

Transformational Leadership Coaching
Transformational Leadership Coaching – kasto © 123RF.com

Was Adolf Hitler a Transformational Leader?

The question of Hitler’s ability as a leader often arises in intellectual discussions and debates on leadership. Can someone be a transformation leader if they lack virtue? Can someone be a transformational figure if they only pursue destruction and evil?

In many ways, Hitler was most certainly transformational. As the memory of his reign disappears to the march of time, his power to motivate and stimulate his followers can be understated or forgotten. But, there can be no doubt that his leadership persuaded millions to adhere to his belief systems and motivated them to act. Could he possibly be considered a transformational leadership coach or leader if he used his power and abilities for evil instead of good?

What is Transformation?

Some experts in the field consider transformation to be any fundamental social change without regard to moral values or ethics. However, many experts in coaching, counseling, and leadership believe that the term “transformational” should apply to only those who pursue and achieve positive outcomes. In coaching, that would apply to individuals – the change should be positive or at least, an attempt to be positive.

Leaders who appear to be transformational under the lens of history, such as Hitler, Jim Jones, David Koresh, and Idi Amin, are hardly transformational leaders when viewed within the framework of ethics, morals, and the individual.

What is Transformation Leadership?

Bernard Bass, a respected and long-time researcher in the field, has suggested that there are four components of transformational leadership:

  • Intellectual stimulation – encouraging creativity and innovation – finding and nurturing new ways of doing things.
  • Individualized consideration – offering support and assistance to each client, employee, team member, or follower.
  • Inspirational motivation – having a clear mission and vision that can be articulated to others.
  • Idealized influence – Leading by example and serving as a role model for others – clients, employees, friends, family, children, etc.

What is Transformational Leadership Coaching?

Most people reading this don’t aspire to become a world leader and have millions of followers. Coaches seek to change the world one individuals at a time, and they have the power to do this by coaching for transformation and leadership.

Transformational leadership coaching is a process that is favorable, positive, and life-affirming, Leadership coaching helps clients escape the person they were or are, and become the person they have always longed to be. It is a process of self-actualization, self-realization, and self-determination. Transformation focuses more on being rather than doing. Once the client has become what they desire, their actions will arise organically.

The Hitler Problem of Transformation

World leaders and coaches share many of the same characteristics, but they are also diametrically opposed in some ways. World leaders seek power and notoriety, while coaches mostly work behind the scenes and beyond the glare of the spotlights. The “Hitler Problem” is just one of those intellectual discussions on transformation and leadership that can be fun and enlightening.

Transformational leadership coaching is always about making positive changes and leading clients to a better future so they can create better futures for everyone around them. This is obviously not what Hitler did, but if you harness the power of leadership and transformation, you can make a positive difference in the lives of your clients and in the collective known as the human race.

By the way… you’re invited to claim your FREE step-by-step “Life Coaching Business Blueprint” video toolkit. Just go HERE now to get your life coaching business blueprint videos.

Fred Philips
Business Coach
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Facebook comments:


  1. Kimberly says

    Transformational Leadership Coaching is very powerful as it has the ability to influence and motivate others but as this article has stated, it should be in the context of promoting good and positivity within ourselves and others.

  2. Wendy says

    Many can become great leaders but as this article has stated not all know how to become a transformational leader. After reading this, I really think it can benefit a lot of people if they know more about transformational leadership coaching.

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