High-valent iron-oxo species are known for their very high reactivity, and this aspect has been studied in detail over the years. The role of axial ligands in fine-tuning the reactivity of the iron(IV)-oxo species has been particularly well studied. The corresponding role of equatorial ligands, however, has rarely been explored, and is of prime importance in the development of non-heme chemistry. Here, we have undertaken detailed DFT calculations on [(L-NHC)Fe-IV(O)(CH3CN)](2+) (1; L-NHC = 3,9,14,20-tetraaza-1,6,12,17-tetraazoniapenta-cyclohexacosane-1(23),4,6(26),10,12(25),15,17(24),21-octaene) in comparison to compound II of cytochrome P450 [(porphyrin)Fe-IV(O)(SH)](-)(2) to probe this aspect. The electronic structures of 1 and 2 are found to vary significantly, implying a large variation in their reactivities. In particular, the strong equatorial ligand present in 1 significantly destabilizes the quintet states as compared to species 2. To fully understand the reactivity pattern of these species, we have modelled the hydroxylation of methane by both 1 and 2. Our calculations reveal that 1 reacts via a low-lying S = 1 pi pathway, and that the generally available S = 2 sigma pathway is not energetically accessible. In addition to having a significant barrier for C-H bond activation, the -OH rebound step is also computed to have a large barrier height, leading to a marked difference in reactivity between these two species. Of particular relevance here is the observation of pure triplet-state reactivity for 1. We have also attempted to test the role of axial ligands in fine-tuning the reactivity of 1, and our results demonstrate that, in contrast to heme systems, the axial ligands in 1 do not significantly influence the reactivity. This highlights the importance of designing equatorial ligands to fine-tune reactivity of high-valent iron(IV)-oxo species.