Co-Active Coaching


From the very beginning, coaching focuses on what clients want. People come to coaching because they want things to be different. They are looking for change, or they have an important goal to reach. People come to coaching for lots of individual reasons. They are motivated to achieve specific goals: to write a book, start a business, become a vet, open a coffee shop, to have a healthier body.

They come to coaching in order to be more effective or more satisfied work. They hire a coach because they want to create more order and balance in their lives. Sometimes people want more from life – more peace of mind, more simplicity, more joy, more freedom – and sometimes they want less: less confusion, less stress, less financial pressure.

In general, they come to coaching because they want a better quality of life: more fulfillment, better balance, or a different process to accomplish their life desires. Whatever the reason, it all starts with the client.

The Co-Active Coaching Model

The term co-active refers to the fundamental nature of a coaching relationship in which the coach and the client are active collaborators. In coactive coaching, this relationship is an alliance between two equals for the purpose of meeting the client’s needs.

Four Cornerstones

There are four cornerstones that form the foundation of co-active coaching:

  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 Clients strengths

The primary building blocks for all co-active coaching is this: clients have the answers, or they can find the answers. From the co-active coach’s point of view, nothing is wrong or broken; there is no need to fix the client.

The coach does not have the answers; the coach has questions. Sometimes clients don’t think they have the answers; sometimes they’d rather believe someone else – an expert – has the answers for them. Often there is a natural desire to buy the answers in a packaged program rather than do the work it takes to find a solution. All too often, what people end up with is an empty package.

In some case, people have a powerful sabotaging voice that tells them they don’t have the answers. But co-active coaching stands on the certainty that the client really does know. When they look inside, with the help of a coach, they’ll find they know themselves, their strengths, and their limitations. They’ll also discover what they want, what they fear, what motivates them and what holds them back, their purpose and their vision, where they sell out.

They may never have sought answers before a coach asks the question – the question that creates the channel for self-discovery – but the answer is there. Clients do know how to find their way, especially with the help of their coach. Years of experience using the co-active coaching model confirm it. This is why we say that the coach’s job is to ask questions, not give answers.

I have found that clients are more resourceful, more effective, and generally more satisfied when they find their own answers. And because they found the answers themselves, they are more likely to follow through with action.

Every day people make dozens, even hundreds, of decisions, to do or not to do certain things. The choices we make during the day, no matter how trivial they may seem, contribute to creating a life that is more (or less) fulfilling. The decisions we make move us towards a better balance in our lives or they move us away. These choices contribute to a more effective life process or a process that is less effective.

A coach’s job is to help clients articulate their dreams, desires, and aspirations, help them clarify their mission, purpose, and goals and help them achieves that outcome.