Coaching “in the model”

One reason I am making time to pursue the Co-Active coach certification program is because its coaching framework really resonates with me. I have seen its power to facilitate transformation – in me and in my clients – and I want to make full use of it in my work.

Although the book is in its third edition, the model itself has changed very little in the 20 years since The Coaches Training Institute was founded. The model embodies some of my own core values, for example: respect for individuals, agility (they call it “dancing in this moment”), and holding the Big Picture. Have a look:

The Co-Active Coaching Model
The Co-Active Coaching Model, from the book Co-Active Coaching, 3rd Edition: Changing Business, Transforming Lives by H. Kimsey-House, K. Kimsey-House

The Co-Active certification program is designed to help coaches live this model in their work.

Certification is designed to push coaches beyond “knowing it” (which is a good start – and by the time you enter Certification it is a given) to a point of ongoing mastery, where our work is so deeply rooted in these foundations that we don’t consciously think about them any more. If you’ve learned any discipline deeply, you will recognise this road, from knowledge to deep wisdom – it’s not an easy one, but oh so worth pursuing!

I love that the program is explicitly designed to deepen my experience of the model – both as coach and client – because we practise coaching one another, so we get our own visceral experiences of what happens when the model is well applied. We also get the experience of being on the coachee end of things when coaching goes wrong – because the Certification workplace is a learning lab – a place where we are committed to stretching, to trying things outside our comfort zones, to failing and learning in the context of a committed team of colleagues, led by a truly committed master coach.

Having recently encountered “teaching from the back of the room” I appreciate how this program uses multiple channels to help me understand the model (simple enough?) and myself as a coach (ah! the frailties! the assumptions! so much to learn! :-). Every week, I interact with audio talks, book chapters, articles, my own written journal, discussion forums, and exercises done together in real time with teammates and leaders. The requisite 100 hours of client coaching ensures I am continually putting it to practise, and master-coach supervision of those recordings offers quality control, focused learning and deep insights into my own style of working. And the mandatory sessions with my own personal coach make sure I am regularly back in “beginner’s mind” as a coachee.

I especially, especially, appreciate our master-coach’s commitment to us deeply “getting” the model, to the benefit of our clients. No “checkmark” supervision here – it’s challenging, sometimes painful, and always awesome! Having completed CTI’s 116 hour training program, I “know” all of this material – and yet I have so much still to learn!

Something I miss in the recently revised model is the “big-A agenda” – also known as “the agenda comes from the client“. There used to be a big capital letter A superimposed on the star at the heart of the model, and the concept is still a core one for Co-Active coaches. I’ll have to go back and read what happened to that A :-)

If you are interested, you can read more about the model right away – the first two chapters of the Co-Active text are now a free download, to celebrate the third edition of the book! Or start with something lighter: here’s my 16-page summary: What is Co-Active Coaching?.


— deb

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