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What is Co-Active Coaching?

Updated: May 4, 2022

The Co-Active coaching method, taught by CTI, is the most reputable coaching program available.

When choosing my own coach training, I wanted the very best; I wanted the “Harvard of coaching programs” so I would be pushed to grow and clients could feel confident in my formal background as a coach. So, I asked executives in my network (who had received leadership coaching), and the same name appeared at the top of every list: Co-Active.

My own research revealed that the rigorous training program provided by the Co-Active Training Institute (CTI) is globally recognized as the industry’s gold standard. Just recently, LinkedIn performed an extensive review that ranked Co-Active the #1 coaching program for 2022, stating that “It's at the top of everyone's list of executive coaching training programs for a reason. We love the Co-Active training model which delivers relevant and experiential learning that is truly transformational for each coach trainee—it is also recognized as the most flexible and proven model for coach training out there.” What’s more, a third of all Fortune 100 companies employ Co-Active coaches, and Stephen Covey, author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (often recognized as the top leadership book of all time), calls the Co-Active method “the bible of coaching.”

So what is Co-Active coaching?

Well, there’s literally a whole book on it, and the course is over 100 hours of training with professionally supervised practice on clients with real challenges. But, to vastly oversimplify, the Co-Active methodology illustrates the constant movement between three fundamental principles present in every Co-Active coaching session:

· Fulfillment – Following a path of resonance to surface powerful inspiration and clarify a compelling vision for success.

· Balance – Identifying the perspectives that no longer serve us, and actively exploring additional options, alternatives, and possibilities – resulting in increased creativity, better decision-making, and more effective mental models.

· Process – Examining areas of resistance and problematic patterns so leaders have the capacity to be resilient and effective in any circumstance that may arise.

What does the science say about Co-Active coaching?

As our ability to observe the brain is constantly improving, the science is increasingly supporting the Co-Active method. According to Dr. Carol Kauffman, faculty of Harvard Medical School and founder/director of Harvard’s affiliated Institute of Coaching, “CTI offers a gold standard of coach training, and the Co-Active model behind it is remarkably congruent with a vast body of research in positive psychology and coaching. As business, health and personal coaches begin to master and articulate these messages, we believe it will create inroads for more individuals and organizations to see the value and validity of coaching. … In the future, results will continue to show how science can be mapped to CTI’s Co-Active model and their four cornerstones of coaching.”

At the end of the day…

While both experts and the research confirm that Co-Active is the top training program and methodology available today, Co-Active coaching is best understood through direct experience - which is why Mainspring offers prospective clients a free Co-Active sample session. I want my clients to move forward with confidence, and – in less than one hour – you will know if it’s right for you, risk-free.


About the Author

Andy Cole is a leadership strategist and executive coach at Mainspring Consulting, skilled in helping leaders clarify their thinking, improve communication, and cultivate sustained confidence. He has 15 years of professional experience as a business executive, renewables engineer, strategy consultant, and leadership coach. Connect with Andy on LinkedIn or visit Mainspring’s website at


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