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10 Ways to “Get” Co-Active

Posted on May 29, 2019

by Karen Kimsey-House, CEO & Co-founder, CTI

For many years, we resisted the numerous requests to create a definition of Co-Active because we didn’t want to create something dogmatic. However, after an iterative process of conversations with our amazing CTI faculty and those involved with Meet the Model, we finally arrived at a definition that is both simple and broad, able to represent Co-Active appropriately.

Co-Active represents the paradoxical balance between two primary energies of life:

Co:  Relationship, holding, space, BEING

Hyphen:  Non-duality, PARADOX

Active:  Action, certainty, clarity, DOING

We are always in this balance, and often we are far out of balance – too far over on the “Co” side – not able to fully bring our ideas into reality and unable to find clear boundaries, or entrenched on the “Active” side – running like hamsters on a wheel, frantically dominated by our “to do” list and yet disconnected from any sense of meaning or relationship.

However, the part of Co-Active that makes it so dynamic and alive is not the “Co” or the “Active”— it’s the hyphen in the middle. The paradox. The “both and” rather than the “either/or”.

Humans are not very good at paradox…we so want to know, to succeed and have it all figured out, yet, it is the embracing of this paradoxical dance between doing and being that is the key to mastery.  So how do we “get” Co-Active? It starts by growing and developing our own ability to be Co-Active.

  1. Develop a relationship with your life purpose. Understanding that you are here for a reason provides a foundation for action from meaning, from deep inside oneself.
  2. Learn to live in the question. Practice wondering rather than knowing.
  3. Grow your ability to act with certainty and clarity without attachment.  In the beginning, it’s kind of like patting your head and rubbing your belly… and your facility will grow over time.
  4. Understand that every single person in your life is there to teach you something. Stay wildly curious about what that might be. Practice gratitude and appreciation of that teaching, even when – and especially when – you don’t like what that person is doing.
  5. Be open to your emotions. They are the gas in our engine. They connect us to ourselves and each other and provide the fire to move forward in expansive ways.
  6. Become comfortable with the dramatic tension between choice and knowing that there are infinite possibilities.
  7. Learn to listen to the wisdom of your heart and follow its whisperings.
  8. Practice being fascinated by people and by life.
  9. Connect with nature. Everything we need to know about Co-Active already exists in the natural world. Spend time being in nature and notice what is unfolding all around you.
  10. If things get tangled, return to relationship and context. Usually things get off kilter because we’ve forgotten about the being.

When we are connected to why we are doing things, the things we are doing flow clearly.

Written By

Karen Kimsey-House

Karen Kimsey-House, MFA, CPCC, is the Co-founder and CEO of The Coaches Training Institute (CTI), the oldest and largest in-person coach training school in the world, and the co-author of the best-selling Co-Active Coaching: Changing Business, Transforming Lives. Karen was one of four pioneers of the coaching profession, and in honor of its 20th birthday this year, she is sharing her insights about human transformation in a ten-part HuffPost series,"Disrupt Your Life in a Good Way".