Coaches don’t tell you what to do. They don’t give you a long list of things to tick off. Instead, you will be asked to analyse, reflect and then take action as coaching is a learning conversation. The intended result of a coaching process is to enable you to better achieve success in one of more areas of your personal and/or work life. We’ll look at the 5 main types of coaching.

#1 GROW Model

Let’s start our list of major coaching models with the GROW Model which is the most popular and widely used in coaching.  Created by Sir John Whitmore in the 1980s, the GROW model provides a basic understanding of how to structure your training sessions. This model does not focus on anxiety, depression, or negative thoughts, but rather gives a framework for helping your clients.


We all are familiar with what goals mean. It means before starting a training session with your coachee, you should set a goal or target. In simple terms, you should be clear about what you want to achieve. It provides the primary floor for the entire training session.

Current Reality:

After your client comes up with a goal, it’s time to access their skills, knowledge, strengths, and abilities. Their current reality. It will help to find a relation between their goals and skills. You can use scaling techniques (like using a 1 to 10 scale) to help them define their skills and strengths.

With this info, decide the best course of action. They should attempt to use their imagination to picture what it would feel like to already have their goals met.


Now, it’s time for you to help your client explore different options available to them. Explore with them their skills and goals. Help show them possible ways they can achieve their goals using their skills. This is also a great time to honestly assess their skillsets and introduce new skills they should consider learning.


This is the final step, which is a wrap-up stage. Your client should now be able to understand what path they should go down and how to develop new skills. Wrap up with them and measure their will or desire to finish what they started.

#2 OSKAR Model

The next of the major coaching models the OSKAR Coaching Model is based on a solution-focused approach. Thus, it develops a robust framework that helps your coaching sessions to be more focused on solutions than on problems.


This is a goal-setting stage where you take as much time as needed to understand what your coachee or client wants to achieve. It helps to even ask what they are expecting to get from this coaching session. Help them to visualize their goal or goals.


After understanding a clear picture of their goal, use scaling techniques to measure their capabilities and skills. Use a scale from 1-10 to measure their skills. Especially those they will need to obtain their goal.


It’s time to establish an understanding as to what skills will help them to achieve their desired outcomes. This stage is like ‘digging for gold’ and requires a lot of time and resources.

Affirm and Action:

Motivate your client by providing them with positive reinforcement. Explain their positive points and strengths. Moreover, encourage them to take action.


You may have already guessed it. Yes, this requires giving feedback to your client. Explain all of the areas they are good at and where they need improvement. This takes a gentle forcefulness. They need to feel the need to grow.

#3 FUEL Model

The second of the major coaching models was developed by John Zenger and Kathleen Stinnett, the FUEL model is another useful coaching model. It involves the use of open-ended questions instead of leading questions. With this model, there is no mention of limiting beliefs or distorted thoughts. Similar to the GROW model, it also consists of four steps. These differ slightly, however, and include:

Frame for Conversation:

It defines how you can start or frame your conversation. It sets the road on which your conversation will go later on. It’s like getting on the same page with your coachee or client. When you can both see things the same communication is clearer.

Understand the Current State:

As its name suggests, you need to as a coach, peer deep inside and identify the current state of your client. This will help you understand where your client stands and what guidance he/she might possibly need. You must learn to use and ask open-ended questions at this stage.

Explore the Desired State:

Ask your client what they want to achieve or what is their desired state. When you know what your client wants it is easier to guide them to it. It is extremely important that you have your client use simple and clear language to describe what it looks like, feels like, sounds like to have reached their desired state. We often fill in blanks left by the clients, with our own definitions. Be sure not to fall into this pattern.

Lay Out a Success Plan:

Finally, it’s time to develop a success plan according to the individual’s needs to help them achieve their targets. It is important to know the skills of the client before trying to create a map to their goal. It only makes sense to create a path they are capable of undertaking.

#4 CLEAR Model

The fourth major coaching model, developed by Peter Hawkins CLEAR model shares many similarities with the GROW Model. This coaching model helps clients with transformational change and helps with transformational coaching.

It includes five stages:


Start with developing a clear understanding of what your client’s desired outcome is and what he is expecting to achieve through coaching. Moreover, set rules for your coaching as well. Be clear about what you expect, and what you intend to offer. This minimizes confusion later.

Be sure you have your clients spell out what they see as successful completion of their goals and even coaching.


This is the hardest part of this model, it involves actively listening to your client. Ask questions and let your client explain their point of view without any interruption. Do not try to come up with a response before they have finished talking.


At this stage as a coach, you have to explain to your client their emotional connection with the current state. Use mindful and present coaching techniques and ask a lot of questions so their point of reference becomes more transparent.


Encourage and motivate your client to take action. It is important that you know what motivates them. If you are unsure, you should stop and ask them again what they actually want. Listen for cues about their cognition style. People will often reveal their understanding style when they ask if you “see what they are saying”, “hear what they mean”, “if you follow them”, etc… Use the same phraseology with them to reach them better.


Give them honest feedback regarding their performance. This can be both negative and positive. Most people are a mix of good and bad. Try to use a compliment sandwich. Try hard to find two positive things and place a negative thing in the middle making a sandwich. This is also a great time to suggest where they could improve, and give them techniques to practice if requested.

#5 ACHIEVE Model

The fifth ACHIEVE is a coaching and mentoring model developed by The Coaching Centre (Dembkowski and Eldridge, 2003), building upon the foundations of the GROW model, inspired by leading thinkers such as Alan Fine, Graham Alexander and John Whitmore. It is posited as a methodical and systematic framework for coaching, but with added flexibility and feedback-reactivity compared with GROW. It was observed that leading executive coaches intuitively went above the framework outlined by GROW, so a new cyclical ACHIEVE model was formulated to accommodate this responsive plasticity and to attain measurable and sustainable results for their clients. This model is intended to increase trust between client and coach by increasing understanding of the methods involved in goal-setting and problem-solving.

Assess the Current Situation:

During the first stage of the process, the client or mentee is encouraged to think deeply about their current situation. Increased self-awareness of their state and surroundings allows the mentee to reflect on their current issues and goals and to contextualise any future actions. It also increases understanding of how the current situation came about, which actions they took to reach this point, and how they initiated emotional responses in others.

Creative Brainstorming:

This stage is designed to broaden the mentees perspectives and develops the foundation for behavioural change and creative solutions to current challenges. Sometimes, individuals’ perspectives can narrow when under stress – resulting in “tunnel vision” – the goal of the brainstorming stage is to open their mind and examine solutions that were not previously visible to the mentee. Mentees are moved towards a broader perspective and are unhooked from repetitive, unhelpful cycles of behaviour. Creative brainstorming is the foundation for goal-setting and action-planning.

Hone Goals:

In stage 3, the mentee develops specific goals from alternative solutions and suggestions which evolved during stage 2. SMART (specific, measurable, accurate, realistic, timely) goals are developed and refined here by feedback between coach and client. Often, individuals struggle to identify what they do want – rather, the focus is on what they do not wish to happen. It is the aim of the coach to ensure that this negative thinking does not occur, and instead, the emphasis is on achievable goal formation.

Initiate Option Generation:

At this stage in the process, the immediate steps in order to achieve the goals must be considered. The client should be aided in developing an array of possible options, rather than focusing on finding a single “right” way to act. Indeed, the volume of options at this stage should outweigh any focus on the quality or achievability of a single action.

Evaluate Options:

At step 5, the actions and options generated during the previous stage will be assessed, scrutinised and prioritised. The coach begins to guide the client towards a focus, or a small number of foci. It is crucial that aims are well-defined, in order to make goals appear within reach to the mentee. Though the coach may be purely executive, they may encourage that the client also applies these steps to their private lives – an aspect often not considered or analysed methodically by the mentee.

Valid Action Programme Design:

The aim of stage 6 is to put the options into action. Pragmatic approaches will be developed to break down overall goals into smaller chunks. This is when the client/mentee will commit to the plan via achievable steps of action with clear deadlines, often in writing or illustrated form. The challenge is often applying newly developed knowledge and skills from coaching and training into a workplace or other scenario, and it is the job of the mentor to guide their mentee into such a position where they have the confidence to apply themselves.

Encourage Momentum:

The final stage of ACHIEVE is to encourage momentum – both towards goals – and between coaching sessions. Until goals have been met, it is often difficult for individuals to remain motivated, and it is, therefore, the role of the coach to maintain encouragement and keep achievable goals within sight. The smallest steps and achievements must be met with encouragement and a sense of fulfilment. Small, sustainable goals and changes are the way to remain on the path towards a far larger, more distant aim.

#6 STEPPA Model

The last in our list of the major coaching models is an excellent coaching model known as the STEPPA Model. It is based on the assumption that our behavior is a direct result of our emotions. Meaning, all our actions are motivated by emotional commitment. Its steps are as follows:


Like most other coaching models, the first stage is to identify the goal or the subject of coaching. In other words, why, your client feels the need for coaching.


Next, identify their desired outcome or target. What is it that they want to achieve from the coaching sessions? If you know what they want as an outcome, you can show when it has happened. Too often people move their goals further out the closer they come to achieving them.


Every decision typically involves an emotion. Try to understand their emotions and what motivates them. Ask questions so you are not guessing. It is important to have a deep and clear understanding of the client’s emotional state, in regards to each decision they make.


Try to see their goal from a broader view. Understand the meaning of its purpose, its importance, and what specifically its meaning is for them. When you understand their perspective you can nudge it and help them see things differently.


To achieve their goals, they need to make a plan. Assist them with developing a path that can lead them closer to their goals.


It is like setting time limits and boundaries for achieving each goal. It gives you a deadline so that you can achieve your target. It applies pressure and accountability.


Now, it’s time to act. Have them follow their plan step-by-step to achieve their desired outcomes. Be positive and encouraging. Hold your client accountable.

Stanley Ng (Stan) 黄宝明

Stan is a trainer, consultant, and coach for the past 15 years and has personally trained, consulted, and coached over 5,000 professionals from 45 Fortune 500 companies. Stan is a Certified Hypnotherapist for the National Guild of Hypnotists (NGH) and The International Medical & Dental Hypnotherapy Association (IMDHA). Stan is also a International Coaching Federation (ICF) Professional Certified Coach (PCC), ICF Mentor Coach, and ICF Accredited Coach Education Instructor. Stan specialises in Executive Coaching, Life Coaching, and Addiction Recovery Coaching. 

  • International Coaching Federation (ICF) Professional Certified Coach (PCC)
  • International Coaching Federation (ICF) Mentor Coach
  • International Coaching Federation (ICF) Accredited Coach Education Instructor
  • Coach Masters Academy Certified Transformative Coach
  • National Guild of Hypnotists (NGH) Certified Hypnotist 
  • The International Medical & Dental Hypnotherapy Association (IMDHA) Certified Hypnotherapist
  • 12-Steps Sponsor & Accountability Partner
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