Co-active Coaching
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Interpersonal Skills and Self Development Blogs

Co-active Coaching

  Jun 27 2019

# Interpersonal Skills and Self Development

When I first heard about the co-active coaching concept, I was curious about how this differs from the “regular” coaching I am used to implementing in my daily tasks as a consultant and a facilitator of various types of training sessions.

Therefore, I decided to investigate the topic in depth.

What I learned, and am planning to implement in my co-active coaching career, builds on the four cornerstones that form the foundation of co-active coaching. I was able to realize the importance of giving the client the opportunity to be creative and resourceful while believing in the client’s ability to set the agenda. This opens the door for the coaching experience to address the client’s life as a whole while dancing in the moment as a coach.

Co-active coaching revolves around 4 sets of core competencies which were developed to enhance the needed skills utilized in today’s coaching profession as defined by the International Coaching Federation (ICF).

The 1st set of competencies is about setting the foundation of any coaching session as a coach should abide by ethical guidelines and professional standards. Ethics, by definition, are the set of values and moral principles that govern and guide a person's behavior while conducting a task. Co-active coaching and ethical conduct should establish a clear agreement with specific guidelines and parameters.

The 2nd set of competencies is about co-creating the relationship. In order to create a concrete relationship based on trust and intimacy, the coach needs to establish a safe and supportive environment with the client. Demonstrating respect towards the client, as well as showing personal integrity and honesty during the coaching session, form the backbone of co-creating the relationship needed at the beginning of each session. The coach should be able to exert confidence and show his/her presence by accessing his/her own gut feelings while facing strong emotions on the part of the client.

The 3rd set of competencies revolves around effective communication being the essence of everything we deal with in life. The four constants of communication must be implemented in any session of co-active coaching to ensure a smooth and efficient session. The first constant is that communication is inescapable. Therefore, direct and powerful questioning using clear and simple language is a must during a co-active coaching session. The second constant of communication is irreversibility. A co-active coach needs to employ active listening in order to avoid any unnecessary questions or statements resulting in awkward moments and a possible disconnection between coach and client. Complex and contextual communication are the third and fourth constants consecutively in the discipline of communication. This means that the coach should use different methods and tools such as metaphors and discussions that are non-technical and non-jargon filled in order to simplify communication and clarify the circumstances during the coaching session.

In order to successfully complete any given coaching session, a coach’s responsibility should include the task of facilitating learning in an effective and efficient manner. That is the 4th set of which can be done by creating the necessary awareness that allows the client to identify his/her own underlying concerns while helping the client expose various interrelated factors that can affect their behavior. Once awareness has been created and established, the phase of designing actions and motivating the client to “do it now” will take place using brainstorming to find alternatives and opportunities which were unknown to the client. Next comes the goal setting phase where the coach needs to assist the client in creating a plan built on SMART goals so he/she can achieve those goals and be ready and flexible enough to introduce any adjustments to that plan. Monitoring the client’s progress and managing it with honest and unbiased evaluation allows the coach to hold the client accountable and positively “confront” him/her in case the agreed upon steps and actions are not taken.

Keep calm, get a coach.

Reference: Co-active coaching, Whitworth et al, 2007.

Hanna M. El-Jor, PhD


Dr. Hanna El-Jor is a partner with Meirc Training & Consulting. He holds a bachelor of science from Northwestern State University of Louisiana and a doctorate from LaSalle University, both in the USA. Hanna has also earned a post graduate diploma in public relations and event management from the Fitzwilliam Institute in London and completed post graduate studies in safety promotion and risk management with the University of Karolinska in Sweden. In addition, he is a first aid instructor with certification from MEDIC First Aid International.