Posted in leadership

Co-Active Coaching: Quick Notes – Goal, Change & Failure

  • Just the simple act of telling your plan to another person raises the stakes. Making your commitment public draws your attention to it and reinforces its importance. Most of us place a high value on doing what we say we’ll do. SMART: Items on the accountability list should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Oriented.
  • Always give the client the same 3 choices: agree with your request, turn down your request, or make a counter offer.
  • You need to be physically grounded, emotionally steady, and mentally present – which means that you need to be taking care of the significant areas of your own life, your own fulfillment, balance, and process. Yes, you need to be strong for your clients. Gritting your teeth and persevering when the going is tough is admirable – but only up to a point. Self-management is about knowing where the point is.
  • Reframing takes real pieces of the client’s life and shifts, the perspective to show opportunity or a pathway that didn’t appear there minutes before.
  • We celebrate failure in the sense that we have reverence for what it means – in the same use of the word as in “celebrate mass” or “celebrate an important milestone.” We have a high regard for failing because so few people are willing to put themselves in that position. It’s worth celebrating when it happens.

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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