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Coaching Models Used to Structure a Conversation

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April 25, 2024
CEO, Founder & Executive Coach
3 min read
Coaching vital for growth, using models like GROW, CLEAR, OSCAR, STEPPA, and ACHIEVE for goal-setting and progress. Adaptable to individual needs, coaching aims for fulfillment.

Coaching has become an integral part of personal and professional development in the modern world. It is a process that facilitates learning, growth, and performance improvement.

Coaches, whether in the context of life, executive, sports, or health coaching, utilise various models to structure their conversations effectively. These models provide frameworks for conversations, goal setting, and problem-solving. In this article, we will explore some of the most popular coaching models coaches use to structure a conversation.

1. GROW Model

The GROW Model is one of the most widely recognised and utilised coaching frameworks. It was developed in the UK during the 1980s and has since become a cornerstone in the coaching industry. GROW stands for Goal, Reality, Options, and Way Forward.

  • Goal: The first step involves clarifying what the coachee wants to achieve. The goal should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).
  • Reality: This phase involves exploring the current situation. The coach helps the coachee understand where they are and what challenges they might be facing.
  • Options: Here, the coach and coachee brainstorm potential ways to achieve the goal. It's about exploring different strategies and paths.
  • Way Forward: The final step involves committing to action. The coachee decides which options to pursue and develops an action plan.

2. CLEAR Model

Developed by Peter Hawkins in the 1980s, the CLEAR Model is another popular framework. It stands for Contracting, Listening, Exploring, Action, and Review.

  • Contracting: Establishing the purpose of the session and setting boundaries.
  • Listening: The coach actively listens to the coachee, providing a safe space to express thoughts and feelings.
  • Exploring: This involves delving deeper into the coachee's issue and looking at it from different perspectives.
  • Action: The coachee decides on the actions to take following the session.
  • Review: Finally, the outcomes of the session and the effectiveness of the process are reviewed.

3. OSCAR Model

OSCAR is a solution-focused model that stands for Outcome, Situation, Choices and Consequences, Actions, and Review.

  • Outcome: Similar to GROW's Goal, this step involves defining what success looks like for the coachee.
  • Situation: Understanding the current context and identifying the issue.
  • Choices and Consequences: Exploring different choices and their potential outcomes.
  • Actions: Deciding on the steps to take.
  • Review: Assessing the progress and making necessary adjustments.

4. STEPPA Model

Developed by Angus McLeod, STEPPA stands for Subject, Target, Emotion, Perception, Plan, Pace, and Adapt/Assess.

  • Subject: Identifying the subject or issue to focus on.
  • Target: Defining clear objectives and goals.
  • Emotion: Understanding the emotional context and its impact.
  • Perception: Exploring different perspectives and beliefs.
  • Plan: Creating a practical action plan.
  • Pace: Determining the right pace for change.
  • Adapt/Assess: Adapting the plan as needed and assessing progress.

5. ACHIEVE Model

The ACHIEVE model is a comprehensive framework that includes Assessment, Creative brainstorming, Hone goals, Initiate options, Evaluate options, Valid action program design, and Encourage momentum.

  • Assessment: Understanding the coachee’s current situation.
  • Creative brainstorming: Generating ideas and possible solutions.
  • Hone goals: Refining and clarifying goals.
  • Initiate options: Exploring different paths and strategies.
  • Evaluate options: Weighing the pros and cons of each option.
  • Valid action program design: Designing an actionable and practical plan.
  • Encourage momentum: Keeping the coachee motivated and on track.


These models provide structured and effective ways for coaches to facilitate growth, learning, and achievement in their clients. While each model has its unique approach and focus, they all share the common goal of helping the coachee identify and reach their objectives.

Coaches often adapt and blend these models to suit the individual needs of their clients, demonstrating the dynamic and versatile nature of coaching as a discipline.

The choice of a coaching model depends on various factors, including the coach's style, the coachee's needs, and the specific goals of the coaching engagement. By understanding and skillfully applying these models, coaches can significantly impact the lives of their clients, guiding them towards personal and professional fulfilment.