BOOK-REVIEW – Co-Active Coaching

Book Review

Co-Active Coaching

Author(s): Henry Kimsey-House, Karen Kimsey-House, Laura Whitworth, Phillip Sandahl

228 pages

ISBN: 9781473674981

This book is more than just a book.

In the meta-view, Co-Active Coaching has been a founding and guiding light for over three decades, as coaching has evolved into a global movement.

The authors are among the core thought-leaders and action-takers who made coaching what it is today, helping us to walk the path into the light.

On a personal level, the book was a backbone during my coaching studies and became something of a friend to me.

We got to know each pretty well and grew close.

‘Go to’ for all coaches

Described as “the bible of coaching guides”, Co-Active Coaching offers a deep philosophy, a strong process, a holistic approach to coaching, sample dialogs, exercises to improve skills, together with a valuable online toolkit of resources.

In brief summary, the book defines and explores the co-active model, roles and relationships, the contexts involved, such as listening, intuition, curiousity, before delving into the principles which typically drive coaching agendas, fulfilment, balance and process.

This updated edition expands in scope to recognise the growth of coaching-type conversations in the workplace, aiming to also guide leaders and managers in building coaching skills.

However, I found this new content was somewhat “tacked on” to the end of each section, rather than being seamlessly integrated. I felt the book suffers a mild identity crisis, as it tries to serve the related, but somewhat differing, needs of the both practioner coach and manager coach.

Time and space

Although it contains a lot of information and guidance, I found there was a lightness of touch, both in the words and overall structure, which kept things flowing well and made for reasonably easy reading.

Very few authors achieve this Zen like, less-is-more approach, something which I can instantly spot and always value and admire. I read these as a jealous, green-eyed monster…

I see something quite special, subtle and rare at the heart of this work.

For me, there is space to move in many possible directions, time to think and to find the best way and a looseness to be something different and be your true self. The authors take a wide, liberal view of the world, of people and of coaching, throwing them all wide open and hinting at the infinite possiblilities open to us all.

Somehow, using only a few, sparse words, they have brilliantly captured and mirrored coaching itself, encapsulating it and making it available to all in the printed form of a book.

And we start again…

There are a few books – I can count them on one hand – in my life which I keep coming back to again and again.

Much like the endless re-painting of the Golden Gate Bridge, as soon as I finish reading one of these books, I know I will be starting reading it again before too long.

Welcome to the club, Co-Active Coaching!