7 Practical Coaching Models

7 Practical Coaching Models To Structure Your Coaching Sessions

Structure is a key part of any successful coaching business. If you don’t have a way to set up your coaching sessions and make them run smoothly, it will be much harder to produce consistent results for clients and become successful in your field.

Because of that, most coaches end up adopting one of the coaching models that have been proven as a great way to structure each session, address the unique needs of each client, and transition towards a group coaching framework that suits your business. 

And the good news is that no matter what type of coach you are or how you like to approach working with clients, there’s a variety of coaching models that you can choose from, each offering its own unique benefits.

To help you find the right option in your situation, let’s look at what coaching models are, their benefits, and seven of the most valuable models you could use.

What is a Coaching Model?

What is a Coaching Model?

A coaching model is the process that you use to guide people through your sessions. It provides a clear structure and a framework you can repeatedly use, adjusting for each client while still ensuring that all of the most critical points are addressed.

For one thing, a coaching model helps to establish what the client is trying to achieve. Without a goal in sight, achieving any progress would be difficult, so most coaching models ensure that you will at least have something to aim for before you move forward with a client.

To achieve that, coaching models offer ways to gain insights about the client’s current situation, providing more context about why they came to you in the first place, what obstacles they are facing, and how they came to be in the current situation. 

With a coaching model, you can also evaluate the current direction that the client is heading, predict the course they are on, and make adjustments as necessary. 

Finally, a good coaching model will lay out the steps necessary to achieve a milestone or a goal and also consider any potential roadblocks that might stand in the way of making progress.

These are just some of the underlying principles that coaching models often have in common, but they can deal with them using different methods that can be better suited to various coaching styles. 

Benefits of Having a Coaching Model

There’s a reason why most successful coaches use coaching models in every session they run. Even if they’re not consciously using a proven model, they are probably at least implementing the main principles intuitively because it’s virtually impossible to provide consistent results for clients without it.

But why is a coaching model so important to success? Let’s look at a few of the key benefits it can offer.


Consistency can be hard to achieve for a coach. Each client is different and has unique challenges, so you need to use every available tool to maximize results no matter what the situation might be.

And that requires a proven process at every level, including the coaching sessions you run with all the people you work with. 

Even though responding to what clients have to say and basing your advice on that will always play an important role, the way you guide the sessions themselves can have a consistent format. In fact, you will probably find it’s more convenient both for you and your clients.

Helps Focus on the Desired Outcome

Helps Focus on the Desired Outcome

As a coach, your success largely depends on the results you can provide your clients. But while guaranteeing specific results is impossible, a good coaching model will at least ensure that you establish the desired outcome for each session.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of a coaching session becoming a chat, where the client shares their frustrations and vents instead of looking at the situation from a productive perspective.

Your job as a coach is to guide the conversation forward and not get stuck on the details. And when you follow proven coaching models, that becomes much easier.

Personalize the Client’s Experience

As you gain more experience with coaching models, you might even match different clients with coaching models that suit them best. 

You will discover that each person has their preferred way of communicating and receiving information. Because of that, having a good coaching model will play a vital role in whether your coaching sessions are productive. 

The good news is that there’s a wide variety of coaching models you can choose from, which almost guarantees that you will always have an effective option to go with. 

Types of Coaching Models

Types of Coaching Models

Understanding the different coaching models is a fundamental part of starting and running a successful coaching business. Below, you’ll find seven coaching models that should cover every type of session you might run, allowing you to choose different approaches according to the situation, what you want to achieve, and the type of client you are working with. 

GROW Coaching Model

The GROW model can probably be considered the gold standard when it comes to coaching models. Even though all of them have their advantages, this one is the most widely used and the one that can be universally applied to almost any situation.

The letters in GROW are representations of the four key components of a productive coaching session: 

  • Goal. The goal stage is where the coach helps the client figure out what they want to achieve, both during the session and overall.
  • Reality. Then, the coach and the client go through the reality stage, looking at the current situation and the steps that were already taken towards that goal. 
  • Options. During the options stage, the coach can provide helpful suggestions on how to proceed in the current situation. This is where the coach can share past experiences, examples, and their own opinions on what might work best.
  • Wrap Up. During the wrap-up stage, the session can be reviewed, with the goals and the options reiterated to ensure that everything is clear. 

TGROW Coaching Model

The TGROW model is quite similar to the GROW model, but it adds one step that can make the session more productive and focused. It can also help to learn more about the client’s priorities and where they want to go in each session, which usually results in the time being more productive. 

The “T” in the TGROW model stands for Topic, and that’s where you can ask specific questions to get the client to direct the session towards areas that they feel are more important right now. 

As a coach, you can still maintain some control over the conversations. Still, if you start with the more general topics and top-of-mind ideas, you can usually address the more pressing issues instead of spending the session dealing with the big-picture stuff only.

The remaining letters in the TGROW model are the same, but the stages can be guided by the initial topic discussion, producing different outcomes throughout the session.

OSKAR Coaching Model

If you feel like your coaching sessions often end up being problem-focused rather than solution-focused, you might benefit from implementing the OSKAR coaching model, which is designed to look at the available options from a possibilities perspective rather than a problem-oriented one.

The five stages of OSKAR are: 

  • Outcome. This is similar to the goal stage in the other coaching models, but looking at it from an outcome perspective can make it more focused on the process for achieving that outcome rather than the goals themselves.
  • Scaling. Scaling is used to identify the progress towards achieving the desired outcomes. You can use a simple scale of 1 to 10, helping your client better understand how far they’ve come and how much more they’ll need to advance.
  • Know-How. This stage is all about understanding the client’s current skills, experiences, and relevant qualities that can help them achieve the outcomes they set out.
  • Affirm & Action. Next, you’ll need to provide feedback on what the client tells you, affirming that they are on the right path and providing specific action steps they can take right now. 
  • Review. Finally, you’ll review the actions and the progress at the beginning of the next session, setting up the new outcomes to focus on.

CLEAR Coaching Model

Developed in the 80s, the CLEAR coaching model is another excellent coaching model that builds on the GROW model by adding a bit more depth to each session.

Here’s what the letters represent: 

  • Contracting. Just like with Goals and Outcomes, this is where you establish what the client wants to achieve, both short and long term.
  • Listening. The CLEAR model places a lot of emphasis on listening to the client and allowing them to clearly explain the situation and their thought process. Only then can you provide insights that are actually relevant and connect with your clients on a deeper level.
  • Exploring. Once you understand the situation, you can explore how the client can help themselves right now and build towards their goals. 
  • Action. After you talk through the main ideas, you’ll need to help your client develop a detailed action plan that they’ll implement until the next session.
  • Review. Finally, just as in the other coaching models, it’s essential to review the progress, any roadblocks that might come up, and the decisions that the client has made since the last session.

STEPPA Coaching Model

Developed by Dr. Angus McLeod, the STEPPA coaching model is a great way to get into the emotional investment that your client has in the situation, allowing you to fine-tune the suggestions accordingly.

Here’s how this model looks in action: 

  • Subject. First, you establish what your client wants to discuss and focus on.
  • Target. Then, you ask what the client would like to get out of the session and what types of goals they would like to achieve. 
  • Emotion. This is where you dig deeper into your client’s emotional investment into the goals they set out and how much effort they are willing to give.
  • Perception. To help achieve meaningful change, you need to understand your client’s perceptions about their situation, goals, and obstacles. Only then can you reframe them into a more productive outlook.
  • Plan. Once you have a better understanding of the situation and the context, you can provide help in designing an effective strategy that will help the client move forward.
  • Pace. Timelines and specific action plans are essential, so this is where you get the client to commit to specific actions they will take by a certain date.
  • Action. Finally, you review the session and ensure that the client is fully on board with what you have come up with together. 

ACHIEVE Coaching Model

The ACHIEVE coaching model is another solution-focused approach to running coaching sessions, providing coaches with a comprehensive framework to address the essential aspects of achieving client goals thoroughly and effectively.

Let’s look at the steps involved in this method: 

  • Assess Current Situation. First, you should talk through the current situation with the client, understanding what they are currently experiencing and what’s on their mind.
  • Creatively Brainstorm Ideas. If you feel like your clients are stuck, this is where you would brainstorm ideas for how they could change their situation for the better.
  • Hone Goals. To achieve significant results, your clients need something to aim for. This is where you help them develop goals they can look ahead to. 
  • Initiate Option Generation. Generating options means that you and the client look at the assets, skills, and opportunities your client has and how they could be used to achieve the goals that were set out.
  • Evaluation Options. If you have multiple options for moving forward, you should then evaluate each one and see which paths make the most sense.
  • Valid Action Plan Design. Since the client now has goals and a plan of action, it’s important to really dig down into the plan and make it as detailed as possible.
  • Encourage Momentum. Finally, if your clients are going to follow through, they need to remain motivated and build momentum. You can help them do that by tracking progress and encouraging them to continue moving forward.

FUEL Coaching Model

The FUEL coaching model is relatively new, but it’s already gaining traction because it’s simple, easy to apply in almost any coaching situation, and structured in a way to get the most out of the available time. 

Here’s how it looks: 

  • Frame the Conversation. First, you need to determine the focus of the conversation and what you and the client want to accomplish.
  • Understand the Current State. Then, you need to go through the client’s current situation, helping them clearly understand where they are right now and what obstacles they’re facing.
  • Explore the Desired State. Then, you’ll need to link their current state with the state they desire, looking at multiple paths to get there.
  • Lay Out a Success Plan. Finally, you’ll need to create a plan of action that the client can use to achieve the goals they set out.

Bottom Line

Using coaching models is a great way to enhance your sessions and get the most out of the time you have available. And when you combine a good coaching framework with an all-in-one coaching platform like upcoach, you can take your business to the next level and help more people than ever before.

Even though there are many coaching models to choose from, you really can’t go wrong with any of the ones listed above. Sure, they have slightly different approaches, but they all serve as reliable guides for keeping coaching sessions productive and result-driven. 

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