Co-Active Global Newletter
Evoking Transformation: Evolving Consciousness Through The Cornerstone
By Barton Cutter
This July marks the five-year anniversary of a major development in the Co-Active Model. With the replacement of the cornerstone “Hold the Client’s Agenda” with “Evoke Transformation,” the Co-Active Model shifted paradigms from being a purely coaching model to a fully relational paradigm. This shift has proven to be key in heightening the impact of the model on relationships, no matter the form.
“We knew the profound impact that the model had had within the coaching realm, and we were beginning to explore how the model could impact relationships beyond the coaching structure,” recalls Henry Kimsey-House.
“Our intent, initially, was to remove any items that would limit the model to a certain form. Hold the Client’s Agenda was clearly an aspect that assumed the premise of a coach/client relationship. By making the shift to Evoke Transformation as a cornerstone, we opened the door to having the model serve as a powerful paradigm for all human relationships.”
While the initial purpose was to broaden the range of applications for the Co-Active Model, it was not long before Karen and Henry Kimsey-House, along with the rest of the CTI family, realized that this simple shift had much broader implications.
“By establishing this as a cornerstone, we, at CTI, were taking a stand,” Karen Kimsey-House says. “For the first time in our history, we were declaring that Co-Active Coaching has an agenda.”
“At the most fundamental level, our aim is to Evoke Transformation in the client. We believe that the old cornerstone of Hold the Client’s Agenda is still imbedded within this. It is our premise that as humans, our nature is to evolve. And in a coaching setting, the client comes to the relationship with an implicit desire to change and grow. Here, we are simply making that implicit assumption explicit.”
In making this underlying agenda explicit and foundational to the model, CTI also discovered that this had a profound impact on the coach as well. By naming that the coach is present to evoke transformation, a natural shift occurred in how the coach appears in the context of relationship.
Historically within the coaching profession, the coach had often been trained to be invisible, placing the client in the driver’s seat alone. When this was taken to the extreme, it often led to the coach following the client around endlessly without a clear direction toward the client’s goals.
Henry Kimsey-House remarks, “We used to talk a lot about the client’s big agenda versus the small agenda, and this would often lead to confusion for the coach, particularly early on when a coach was just getting a feel for the model and the skills. Here, we are coming from the premise of the ultimate agenda, and we assume that no matter what clients brings to the session, transformation is ultimately what they are after.”
With this core assumption in place, coaches can no longer be the invisible partners in the relationship. They must take a stand for the client’s growth and evolution. This is powerful and demands that everything in the coach’s presence be oriented toward the service of transformation.
This paradigm shift also has significant implications for the ways in which coaching serves as a leadership competency. Far beyond the use of any particular skill, Evoke Transformation points to the belief that a leader’s ultimate responsibility is to grow the people in her environment.
It removes leadership from the space of a command and control model and empowers everyone to show up as a leader, taking responsibility for their work and impact. In doing so, each person becomes responsible for supporting their colleagues to bring forth the best in who they are.
“Through our work with organizations, we noticed that though we were teaching coaching skills, we were strongly influencing leadership development,” Henry Kimsey-House adds. “We’ve always known that leaders need to take powerful stands and set stakes in the ground for what they are after. The way this cornerstone impacts all other dimensions of leadership is that leaders must continually be looking at the nature of the transformation they are evoking. This, in turn, calls them to assess and reassess what is needed from them to bring forth their intended impact.”
The impact of Evoke Transformation on coaching as a leadership competency has had far-reaching implications for CTI as an organization. Just as the cornerstone demands that the coach is visible in the relationship, it also served as a declaration for CTI itself as it set a new precedent for the coaching profession.
“It’s about taking a stand for the evolution of human consciousness,” says Karen Kimsey-House. “By setting this stake, we are raising the bar on the whole coaching and leadership development profession. Whether in a coaching relationship, a leadership context or any other situation, we are asserting that through being a Co-Active presence we are heightening the consciousness level of our species, and this should be the ultimate aim of the coaching profession.”