Posted in leadership

Co-Active Coaching: Quick Notes – The Model

  • From the very beginning, coaching focuses on what clients want. Whatever the individual reason, it all starts with the client. In a co-active coaching relationship, the agenda comes from the client, not the coach. In most cases, the coaching will quickly progress to a deeper definition of fulfillment. It’s about what fills the client’s heart and soul. A fulfilling life is a valued life, and clients will have their own definition of what they truly value. Coaching skills include listening, intuition, curiosity, action/learning, and self-management.
  • 4 Cornerstone of co-active coaching model: 1. The client is naturally creative, resourceful, and whole. 2. Co-active coaching addresses the client’s whole life. 3. The agenda comes from the client. 4. The relationship is a designed alliance.
  • The coach does not appear in the model at all. The coach’s role is to create an environment in which clients focus entirely on their fulfillment, balance, and process.
  • Coactive coaching fundamentals include confidentiality, trust, veracity, and spaciousness.
  • The Gremlin Effect: A slump can be the sabotaging work of the client’s gremlin – that inner voice that abhors change and demands the status quo. The intent of the gremlin is not malicious mischief. The intent is to preserve the status quo. You cannot coach a gremlin. It’s too sharp, too fast, and too experienced. The best strategy is to notice it, recognize it, and name it. By bringing it out of the shadows, it begins to lose its power. It can’t stand up to too much scrutiny.

Reference: Whitworth, L, Kimsey-House, H., Sandahl, P. Co-Active Coaching. (1998) Palto Alto, CA: Davies-Black Pub


For a list of Sheila’s books, check out


Dr. Sheila Embry is a govie, author, pracademician, sister, aunt, cousin, and friend who loves to read, write, think, and laugh. Many of her blog postings are summaries or excerpts of books that she read and wants to share to encourage others. An author with more than 25 years experience within the legislative and executive branches of the U. S. federal government holding 3 accredited degrees: Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership, Master of Arts in Human Resources Development, and Baccalaureate of Business Administration, she believes in continuing learning both on and off the job. She has been recognized with multiple professional and writing awards for her peer-reviewed, publications. Click the bibliography page above for a listing of all the publications.

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