6 Effective Coaching Models for Team Leaders

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6 Effective Coaching Models for Team Leaders

Coaching is a powerful tool for team leaders and managers; it helps to enable team members to grow and achieve their goals. This coaching may involve asking team members to work in new ways, ensuring they perform at their best while serving the team’s objectives.

Usually, professional coaches are brought in to handle the coaching session but to be agile and support individuals through constant change, many companies have recognized the need to develop a culture of coaching across the organization. This process involves the company’s team leaders and managers, who can coach others, leading to improved employee performance, increased job satisfaction and engagement and exponential growth.

Although it is not regarded professional coaching, team leaders who understand how coaching models work and match them to the right goals can help create an action plan that works for their team. In this article, we will talk about five coacing models team leaders can use and how to choose the right model for the team.

What Are Coaching Models?

Coaching models or frameworks, are established benchmarks in coaching sessions to guide coachees and coaches. They help maintain a common understanding of the current situation and identify ways to move forward. These frameworks help maintain a “problem-solving mode” and ensure the client achieves the desired outcome. They vary from ordinary conversations, focusing on understanding the current situation and identifying ways to move forward.

Coaching Models Examples

Coaching frameworks are as diverse as coaches, each with unique methods, models, and tools. Organisations often choose one model to align language and understanding, but many overlap significantly. Some popular coaching models include:

  • The GROW Coaching Model
  • The OSKAR Coaching Model
  • The CLEAR coaching model
  • The FUEL coaching model
  • The STEPPA Coaching Model
  • The Solution Coaching Model

#1. The GROW Coaching Model

Sir John Whitmore, Alan Fine, and Graham Alexander created the well-known GROW model for executive coaching in 1992. It focuses on problem-solving and goal-reaching to help clients achieve desired results. The model can be used as a framework for coaching, one-on-one sessions, and a tool to guide clients with their daily activities. Published in Coaching for Performance, the GROW model helps structure individual coaching conversations by asking questions to help clients clarify their goals and commit to a course of action.

The GROW model is a coaching approach focusing on four stages

  • Goals
  • Reality
  • Options
  • Will

In the first stage, GOALS, coaches help employees identify goals and explore options through future-focused questions. They can ask questions such as what they want to achieve from the conversation, the problems they are trying to solve, the benefits of achieving this goal and how they would feel about achieving the goal.

In the second stage, REALITY, coaches help employees understand their current situation and internal and external obstacles. They should use exploratory questions with rounded thinking, considering different perspectives and feedback received in the past. Questions to achieve this introspection include what action they have taken so far to achieve their goals, their motivation and the main obstacles they face, the impact of the goals to their lives and how they feel trying to overcome the challenge.

In the third stage, OPTIONS, coaches help employees determine how they can close the gap between where they are currently and where they want to be in the future. They can prompt questions like what their other options for achieving the goals are, what the ideal solution is to them, anyone they could get a different perspective from, any obstacles they anticipate that may stop them from achieving the first step and what else they could do.

The GROW coaching model’s fourth stage, WILL, involves coaches helping the individual identify the necessary actions to achieve and commit to their goals. This helps visualise the steps in their process, increasing the likelihood of achieving these actions. The coach’s role is to help the individual understand their future steps and make a commitment plan. Questions coaches can ask include identifying the first step, when to take it, who could help, what actions to take and how committed they are.

#2. The OSKAR Coaching Model

As explained in Mark McKergow’s and Paul Jackson’s book, the OSKAR coaching model is a solution-based approach. It consists of four steps

  • Outcome
  • Scale
  • Knowledge/Choices
  • Affirm and Action
  • Review

The OSKAR coaching model aims to help clients focus on solutions rather than problems. The client expresses their desired outcome when solving an issue, and the coach and team member discuss bridging the gap between the problem and the desired solution.

The coach examines the positive aspects of the client’s current situation and demonstrates the hard work they have done to achieve it. The coach and client then analyse the outcome’s past, present, and future, determining how successful they have been so far and whether they need to adjust their strategy or tactics moving forward. This model has become one of the best tools for coaches worldwide, helping them to improve their coaching and change strategies.

#3. The CLEAR Coaching Model

The CLEAR coaching model, developed by Peter Hawkins in 1985, is a popular executive coaching style aimed at helping clients achieve transformational change. The model is designed in a multi-session format to focus on desired outcomes for individuals and the organisation. The CLEAR acronym stands for:

  • Contracting
  • Listening
  • Exploring
  • Action
  • Review

The CLEAR coaching process involves contracting, where the coach sets goals and results for the day’s coaching session. To understand the situation, the client shares their thoughts and feelings with active listening and catalytic questions. The coach then explores the situation, asking questions for clarity and insight. The client commits to the necessary changes by internalising a new view of the situation. The model is easy for a different coaching style to adapt and build upon.

#4. The FUEL Coaching Model

The FUEL coaching model, outlined in John Zenger and Kathleen Stinnett’s book The Extraordinary Coach, is a coaching approach that focuses on skill development and performance. It involves framing the conversation, understanding the current state, exploring the desired state, and creating a step-by-step plan for success. The acronym FUEL stands for:

  • Frame the conversation
  • Understanding the current state
  • Exploring the desired state
  • Laying out a plan for success

This approach helps coaches guide participants to the best solution, fostering awareness and insight into the situation.

#5. The STEPPA Coaching Model

Angus McLeod created the STEPPA model in 2003, which is a well-known executive coaching technique. This model focuses on repurposing emotions from specific problems or situations to create new objectives and outcomes. The model is divided into three stages:

  • Subject (S)
  • Target (T)
  • Emotions (E)
  • Perception (P)
  • Plan (P)
  • Act (A)

The subject stage involves identifying the subject of coaching and the context behind the topic, with the coach supporting the client by recognising and working through emotions that may hinder development. The target stage involves determining an attainable target or outcome within the company. In contrast, the emotions stage assesses the feelings the employee has put behind their goals and decides whether those feelings may help or hinder progress.

Perception encourages the employee to look at their professional goals in a wider context, determining how pursuing that goal impacts the thoughts and emotions of their colleagues and how it opens doors for growth. The planning stage involves setting concrete steps towards achieving the goal, setting semi-strict deadlines and timescales for completing each task, and finally, the action stage consists of reviewing the development plan and revising decisions that don’t fit the stated goal.

The STEPPA model is beneficial when complex or difficult emotions hinder an employee’s growth. By focusing on the emotional context of a situation, the coach helps the employee develop a plan that aligns with their goals and encourages continuous progress.

#6. The Solution Coaching Model

The solution coaching model is a coaching approach that focuses on finding solutions to problems rather than discussing their background. This approach is simpler and less complicated than other models, as the coach uses language in both the present and past tense to frame the problem as resolved and help the employee visualize a path towards their ultimate goal. The model consists of three components:

  • Questioning
  • Scaling
  • Imagination

Questioning helps employees work backwards from the problem to find a solution. Scaling guides employees towards their desired goals, while imagination encourages employees to envision how their work life would change if they achieved their goal, ultimately motivating them.

How To Choose a Coaching Model

Choosing the right coaching model is very important. Here are some steps to help you choose:

  • Identify Your Coaching Goals

Understand what you want to achieve with your coaching. This could be anything from helping clients achieve specific goals to improving their skills or overall performance. Your coaching goals will guide your selection of a coaching model that aligns with these objectives.

  • Understand Your Coaching Style

Reflect on how you communicate, listen, question, and empathise with your clients. Your coaching style will influence the type of coaching model you choose. For example, if you prefer a more structured and directive approach, you might select a model emphasising goal setting and action planning. On the other hand, if you’re more comfortable with a non-directive approach, you might opt for a model that focuses more on exploration and discovery.

  • Consider the Nature of Your Coaching Business

Different coaching models are better suited to different types of coaching businesses. For instance, if you plan to conduct coaching sessions online, the online coaching model might be a good fit. If you prefer to conduct in-person coaching sessions, the in-person coaching model could be a better choice.

  • Assess Your Clients’ Needs

Coaching should be customized to the individual needs, ensuring it aligns with their goals and strategy. It’s essential to understand the individual’s strengths, weaknesses, preferences, and learning styles to select a coaching model that aligns with their readiness, motivation, and confidence, ensuring the coaching process is effective and beneficial.

  • Consider the Coaching Model’s Strengths and Limitations

Each coaching model has its strengths and limitations. For example, the GROW model is easy to understand and use, making it a popular choice. However, the CLEAR model is more suitable for clients who know exactly what they want and can help them achieve their goals efficiently.

  • Try Different Models

Don’t be afraid to try different models to see which works best for you and your clients. Remember, the best coaching model is the one that helps you achieve your goals and helps your clients achieve theirs.

  • The Desired Results

Coaching emphasizes accountability, action, and outcomes, with goal-setting being a significant part of the overall structure of a coaching model. Oftentimes, coaching is defined as a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires clients to maximize their personal and professional potential. Hence, the success of a coaching framework depends on maximizing potential in both thinking and conduct, as it is impossible to determine if the framework was successful without it.

  • Time Frame

Implementing training programs depends on the training’s duration, intensity, and skill level. Creating a culture of growth is essential, allowing for multiple personal and professional development opportunities throughout the year. Coaching models can teach different competencies, ensuring a smooth transition from day-to-day work to training.

Final Thoughts

As a team leader, if your team is not performing well, you can invest in coaching to help the members improve and become better. By understanding and using various coaching models, you can create an action plan that works for their team and ensure their success in the competitive business environment.


What are the 4 C’s of coaching?

The 4 C’s of coaching, also known as the 4 C’s of leadership, are a framework that helps coaches and leaders maximise their impact. These elements include competition, confidence, character, and connection. The model also provides clarity, context, conduct, and contract. By understanding and applying these elements, coaches can help their team members reach their full potential.

What is a coaching framework?

A coaching framework is a structured approach that guides coaching conversations, keeping coachees and coaches on the same page, measuring progress, and ensuring the client reaches the desired outcome. It helps keep participants in problem-solving mode and depends on the coachee’s specific agenda and circumstances.


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