Coaching Model: 4 Proven Models You Should Know

 Sai Blackbyrn/ 28th September 2021

Throughout my practice, I have been sure of one thing that my purpose here is to make coaches like you successful. Do you know the one thing all successful coaches have in common? A coaching model.

A coaching model is a simple system or method of coaching. The type and kind of model that you choose can make a massive difference for your clients. It will make your coaching practice quite efficient. With such productive use of your time, you will be able to close more clients fast!

If you are reading this, congratulations! You are ready to refine your coaching practice by selecting the right type of coaching model.

There are different types of coaching models that you can use in your coaching practice. Some of the popular coaching models we will talk about are GROW, CLEAR, OSCAR and CIGAR. Today, we will explore all these unique models and see how it can complement your coaching practice.

Many coaches I know, were unsure about using a coaching model when they had just started. So, before we talk about types of coaching models, let’s take a step back and understand a bit more about coaching models.

Do I need any type of coaching model in my practice?


Why? Because the word ‘coaching’, can mean different things to different people. Coaching is about being a facilitator and a guide. Coaching is seen as management. Coaching is also a way of nurturing the potential of your clients.

For you to be all these, a ‘coaching model’ will help you be the kind of coach your clients need you to be.

Increasingly, people are turning to coaches to learn and grow in their lives. For your coaching to be effective, it is important that clients trust you.

What can make a potential client trust you?


And how can you quickly gain credibility?

By having a unique and robust coaching model that suits your niche and coaching style.

Coaching is a competitive market, and by choosing a coaching model, you will make yourself valuable over your peers. If you can demonstrate the value of your coaching business, you can get clients faster.

A coaching model will help your clients visualize their journey with you. This way, you can easily show your value. With a higher value, your clients will be confident in your ability to coach them!

You can think of choosing the right type of coaching model as an extension of finding your niche!

Your niche + right match of coaching model = better, meaningful and impactful coaching = success!

Okay, so now we now know that choosing a unique coaching model can be the key to your successful coaching practice. But, we need to address something obvious. We are talking about types of the coaching model, and we also have coaching styles, coaching techniques, and coaching tools.

All these terms can seem similar, and it can be a little confusing, and it is okay to feel confused.

I’m here to help you. Let’s look at the difference between all these terms before we dive deep and select the right coaching model for your coaching practice

What is a ‘Coaching Style

As a coach, you bring your very own unique personality and experiences. You can use humor, wit, and charm. This is the simplest way to understand ‘coaching style.’

What is a ‘Coaching Tool

A coaching tool is something that you use during your coaching practice. Coaching tools help you deliver your coaching practice. Consider the most basic operation of any coaching practice; asking the right questions. That’s just one coaching tool!

But, asking the right questions isn’t enough. You need online tools to grow and expand your business. I have made a list of online tools that I have personally used, and I know it will help you the same way it helped me!

Read the complete list of 40 Coaching Tools To Grow Your Coaching Business [2021 Edition]

Coaching Technique

Now, you know what the tools of your trade can be. But what are the skills required to execute these tools? To ask the right questions, a coach must be an excellent ‘active listener’. That’s coaching techniques for you!

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Now, the key question is.

What is a ‘Coaching Model’?

A coaching model is a process that you will use when you coach your clients.

In simple words, a coaching model is a combination of:

Coaching Style

Coaching Technique

Coaching Tool

Once you combine these aspects into a transparent step-by-step process, you will get a ‘type of coaching model’ that is easy to understand and follow.

A well-defined coaching model follows a logical path and makes the results visible.

In other words, a coaching model is an engagement plan for your clients.

For any engagement to happen, there must be:



sense of worth


A little further, we will talk about different types of coaching models and help you decide the right model for you.

Once you start using the right coaching model, you add credibility to your practice.

With credibility, you build upon the trust factor. You then provide hope and a sense of worth for your clients. They know that your competency will help them achieve their goals!

One of the major reasons why people give up early is because they worry about failure way more they desire success. Having a well-defined coaching model only helps in establishing trust in your methods. Once your client believes in your and your coaching model, the fear of failure can be a thing of the past!

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Benefits of choosing a type of coaching model in your practice

A good coach is someone who helps an individual transition from where they are to where they want to be.

When you select a coaching model, you will be able to visualize ‘how’ you can help your client to achieve their goals. Every unique coaching model carries the advantage of having a precise, well-defined method that you can use to create change for your clients.

Using a coaching model to coach your clients creates accountability

Some of the benefits of having a coaching model are:

  • easily measure performance and ROI (return on investment)
  • Continuously check on performance, not just yours but even your client’s performance!
  • Set clear expectations for both you and your clients.
  • easier to manage agreements between you and your clients
  • creates a conducive environment for your clients to learn and grow
  • efficiently manage your time and make yourself productive
  • create a growth mindset, which is very important for any change to take place
  • Brings in focus and details into your coaching practice.
  • Ensures that your coaching is focused on strategies and remains service-oriented.
  • A good coaching model awards you with flexibility in your functioning as a coach!
  • helps in moving forward when clients get stuck on their problems or past mistakes

Before we move on to explore the different types of coaching models, I want to tell you this quickly.

There are no right or wrong types of coaching models.

Every model is unique, and if used well, can change the game of your coaching business. Finding the right kind of model is easier if you know your niche!

If you haven’t already, finding your coaching niche is a game changer! Once you have identified your niche, all you need to do if to identify with a coaching model, for a winning formula.

I have created an in-depth guide which any new coach can use to find their coaching niche.

Read The Ultimate Guide To Finding Your Coaching Niche

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Let’s explore Four Types of coaching models

  1. GROW
  2. CLEAR
  3. OSKAR
  4. CIGAR

Type of Coaching Model – GROW

By far, the GROW Coaching Model is the most popular and well-known model of coaching. An excellent metaphor for what your client seek, i.e. to grow, this model’s approach is in its name.

G – Goals

R – Reality

O – Options

W – Will

If you’re starting or want to establish a base model that can be your standard method of coaching practice, then GROW is the model for you!

Let’s explore this model:

G – Goals

The first task is to establish what is our goal or what we want to achieve?

Ask your clients, ‘What does a win look like to you?’

R – Reality

Once we have established the goal or the desired result, we need to take stock of the current situation.

Ask your clients, ‘Where are you in this journey towards your win?’

O – Options

Once we have identified our current reality, we now need to understand all the options we have for moving towards our identified ‘wins’.

Ask your clients, ‘What are your current options?’

Another variation of ‘Options’ is to add an element of ‘Obstacles’ at this stage in your GROW Coaching Model. Another question for your clients can be, ‘What are the obstacles that you expect on this journey towards your win?

W – Will

This step is the most obvious! Ask your clients, ‘What will you do now?’.

The main idea at this step is to help your clients understand how they can move forward from their current Reality and towards their Goals while keeping in mind their Options or Obstacles.

You can approach this model either as a free-flowing structure or as a dynamic process. You can even use this model to add the element of accountability by making your client’s goals to be tangible and measurable. You can create a detailed record of resources and options as well. Another way of making this model crisp is to add a timeline on the last step of ‘Will’.

You can see why this type of coaching model is appealing because it’s simple and powerful!

Type of Coaching Model – CLEAR

The CLEAR Coaching Model focuses on the initial stages of client contracting and setting expectations. This type of coaching model works exceptionally well for clients who know exactly what they want. How can they achieve what they want to? That’s where you come in with this coaching model!

C – Contracting

L – Listening

E – Exploring

A – Action

R – Review

Blessed are the curious, for they shall have adventures. ?
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Let’s explore the CLEAR Coaching Model

C – Contracting

At times, an engagement with a single client’s coaching can take an of 6-months minimum. Or, at times, clients will schedule and pay for your coaching session but won’t turn up. This step in the CLEAR Coaching Model helps in setting expectations with clients. Through this method of contracting, you can set up ground rules and create accountability

L – Listening

Listening is a cornerstone for coaching practice. For you to flourish as a good coach, you start with polishing your active listening skills

One of the most challenging aspects of active listening is to block your judgments when your client is engaging with you. Instead of judgment, active listening involves focusing on what the client means and how important that message is to them.

“Listen with the intent to understand, not to reply.” – Stephen Covey (7 Habits of Highly Effective People)

Top tools for being successful at Active Listening:

Paraphrasing; in which you recap their narration to show that you completely understand their message. You can carefully choose your intervals and paraphrase your client’s message.

Reflecting; in which you summarize and reflect upon a key emotion in their message. This emotion can be positive or negative. By reflecting on it, you are sharing your support for your client’s situation.

Probing; in which, you pause on the narration and ask critical questions as a follow-up to their thoughts. Probing questions are usually open-ended. Such questions help towards guiding your client towards achieving their goals and objectives.

Active Silence; in which you take the back foot and allow your client to open up about their situation comfortably. Active silence is also useful in probing open-ended questions.

It’s a simple brain trick. When you pause and continue to maintain your silence, it works as a prompt or a set of probing questions. Active silence can compel your clients to continue with their message, usually without any inhibitions.

E – Exploring

This step in the CLEAR Coaching Model is all about exploring the situation and context of your client. Exploring is not just about stating the obvious. It includes identifying the why and how of your client’s case. It also includes understanding what the impact of their situation on their lives is.

Additionally, this step can also include exploring the options and possibilities for your client to achieve their goals.

A – Action

Here comes one of the most exciting parts of this type of coaching model! The time and space in which your clients take the step forward towards transforming their lives. The action stage!

In this step, you support your client in the action they are taking towards their goals.

R – Review

The last step of this coaching model is very dynamic. There are various methods of reviewing any post-event situation or a process. The most common way that works surprisingly well in almost all cases is;

What went well?

What didn’t?

How can you make it better in the future?

The Review stage encourages your clients to provide feedback. This feedback isn’t just about your role as a coach in their life. Feedback in this step also includes feedback on the process and the outcomes from each stage of the CLEAR Coaching model.

Do you know the best part of this entire model? It works in a circular format, instead of a linear process. What it means is that you can either use this model for the whole coaching exercise OR, you can use it for your client’s outcomes within their goals.

The Review step can provide insights for the next round of the CLEAR coaching process, even if it is for the same client.

Additionally, you can have a CLEAR approach for individual stages of Listening, Exploring and Action within the model!

For example, let’s consider the ACTION step within the CLEAR coaching model. You can easily set up a Contracting agreement for the ‘action’ that your client will take. Listening and Exploring, you help your client see through their actions. These are the same actions that they have agreed upon in the larger process of the CLEAR model. Once your clients take action, you work on the review step and close the loop.

After this, you can move on to either Action item no 2 in the CLEAR process, or on the Review stage of the overall process

Type of Coaching Model – OSCAR

The OSCAR Coaching Model focuses on the solutions, outcomes and the desired wins for your clients. This type of coaching model is best suited for those clients who are clear about what they want. What they need is your expert guidance on how they can achieve their goals efficiently

O – Outcome

S – Situation

C – Choices/Consequences

A – Actions

R – Review

Let’s explore this model:

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O – Outcome

The very first step of the OSCAR Coaching Model is to define the outcomes, goals, and purpose of your client. This step is largely client-focused. Your client starts by describing their desired goals and outcomes. This step is usually seen in the context of the issue they are currently facing.

Ask your client, ‘What is your goal or the outcome that you want us to focus upon?

S – Situation

Once your client has described their desired outcome, we can move ahead to assess their current situation. This can also include questions on their current surroundings and if they have any enabling factors.

Ask your client, ‘What is, in your life right now, making it difficult to reach out Outcome?’

Alternatively, you can also ask, ‘On a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 indicates your final outcome, how far are you towards reaching the end?’

C – Choices/Consequences

This step is the most interesting and dynamic in this process. In this stage, your client can describe all the possible choices they can make to achieve their outcomes. The choices are usually considered in the context of their current situation. Along with choices, one can also explore all possible consequences towards these choices!

Ask your client, ‘If you could make one choice towards achieving your Outcome, what would it be?’

A – Actions

Okay, now your client has successfully decided their best possible choice that they want to make towards their goal. Next step is all about making a plan of action.

To understand this better, let’s continue using the same scale-based question in the ‘Situation’ stage. Let’s assume that your client has identified that they are at number 7 right now. So they have three more points to move towards reaching number 10 on that scale.

Now, ask your client, ‘What are the actions you will take to move towards number 8, number 9? And, finally towards the goal of number 10?’

R – Review

In the OSCAR Coaching Model, the stage of ‘review’ is crucial. Through useful reviews, you will be able to ensure that your client maintains their focus on their end goals. You can check if they have the same motivation to move towards number 8, number 9 and finally, towards number 10!

One question you must NOT ask from your clients is, ‘Are you there yet?’

Remember, the review stage is very different from micro-management.

This stage of review works best if the options and action items decided in the previous step can have a tangible way to measure efforts and rewards.

Often, this last step in the OSKAR Coaching Model is an ongoing process of feedback, review, and feeding back into the structure. This constant loop will help your clients in maintaining their focus on the end goal.

The OSCAR model of coaching is useful for clients who already have a well-thought-through goal or outcome.

Type of Coaching Model – CIGAR

In a way, the CIGAR Coaching Model has evolved from the GROW coaching model. The unique value that CIGAR method of coaching can provide is an in-depth focus on the current reality and the ideal solutions. When there is an emphasis on the actual vs possible, we lean towards a thinking mindset that is useful for any client.

C – Current Reality

I – Ideal

G – Gaps

A – Action

R – Review

Let’s explore this model:

C – Current Reality

As the name suggests, the first focus step in the CIGAR Coaching Model is to explore and clearly establish the current reality of your client. The key questions here is, ‘Where are we right now?’

I – Ideal

Okay, we have successfully established the current reality; the next step is to visualize the ideal.

The key question here is, ‘Where would you rather be right now?’

I’ll let you in on a secret here. Want better results? Have your clients visualize their ideal scenario as if they have already achieved it. So, instead of saying, ‘My ideal scenario is that I want to work full time as a sports coach,’ they must instead say, ‘I’m a successful full-time sports coach, and I’m adding immense value for all my players’. See the difference? Works wonders every time!

G – Gaps

Having a clear vision of your client’s goal sounds exciting, yes. But, before we draw a road map towards achieving that goal, we need to identify gaps that will cause delays. The key question here is, ‘What are the gaps between your current reality and your ideal scenario?

This step can be challenging for clients. Use a combination of probing questions and active silence to encourage your client to explore the gaps in their situation thoroughly

A – Action

This step is effortless once your client understands the gaps they need to overcome. Your role as a coach here is to help your clients to guide them, show them the way and improve their chances of removing all the gaps in their story!

R – Review

The last step of the CIGAR Coaching model is to review the entire process. They can focus on the efforts they made to overcome the gaps to achieve their ideal scenario. and by the client

Remember, while coaching models give you immense flexibility, they should not be seen as rigid frameworks

Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach – Tony Robbins

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