[Excerpt from Henry Kimsey-House, et. al., Co-Active Coaching, Third Edition, 2011]
Coaching is not about solving problems, although problems will be solved. It is not primarily about improving performance, attaining goals, or achieving results, although all of that will certainly happen over time in an effective Co-Active coaching relationship. Coaching is primarily about discovery, awareness, and choice. It is a way of effectively empowering people to find their own answers, encouraging and supporting them on the path as they continue to make important life-giving and life-changing choices.
Co-Active Coaching is a form of conversation with inherent ground rules regarding certain qualities that must be present: respect, openness, compassion, empathy, and a rigorous commitment to speaking the truth. Co-Active Coaching assumes strength and capability, not weakness, helplessness, or dependence. It is a way of communication that shifts the focal point of the conversation from rank or content to a deeper level of human connection.
The unique style of Co-Active communication is visible in a variety of ways. You see it in the way the coach listens, not only to the words but also to what is behind the words, and even to the spaces between the words. The coach tunes in to the nuances of voice, emotion, and energy - intent on receiving everything that person communicates. The coach is someone who listens to the very best in others, even when they can't hear it in themselves.
A coach is someone who cares that people create what they say they want and that they follow through when they choose. The coach is there to hold people accountable and keep them moving forward toward their dreams and goals. Ultimately, the coach is there to help people live lives of meaning and purpose.
"Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!"
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe