Posted in leadership

Co-Active Coaching: Quick Notes – Intuition and Curiosity

  • Intuition often shows up in a coaching conversation as a hunch, a visual image, or an unexplained shift in emotion or energy. Trust it; be aware of it, and completely unattached to the interpretation. Your responsibility as a coach is to speak what your intuition gives you. Having intuition and not using it is giving only part of the service the client wants from coaching. Blurt it out. Intuition is like a small flash of light that is already beginning to fade as soon as it appears. The most powerful moment is the first. Fear and timidity, hesitation, will pass it by. Intuition isn’t supposed to be reasonable. It is not based on logic or evidence and doesn’t need corroboration. It stands on it’s own.
  • Curiosity is disarming and engaging. It can lead to unexpectedly significant discoveries. Curiosity is a different way of discovering than information gathering. Being curious draws the client’s attention to those things of curiosity such as life purposes, values, passions, and gremlin. Curiosity generates the search, defines, and directs it, but it is the exploring that creates learning. Curiosity builds relationships; interrogation builds defenses. As a coach, your curiosity leads you to know the client from the inside out. You learn, you are curious about what you learn, and so you keep asking. The client in turn keeps responding to your curiosity by going inside too – looking for his own answers, trying to understand his own world and the way he operates, what stirs him and what stops him.

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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