A word on coaching models

There are several crucial elements in coaching, such as goal selection, goal shaping, action planning, execution, monitoring and evaluation, etc. Different elements require different models to be effectively worked on. The important principle is that models must be integrated and coherent in a framework. You can only shape a goal effectively that is selected effectively!

Models are useful in developing a coaching program and help to facilitate the change and goal-focused process. Models can be transparently shared with the client.

GROW model (Whitmore, 1996)

At the behavioral end of the coaching spectrum, the GROW model follows the sequence:

GOAL setting for the session as well as short and long term;

REALITY checking to explore the current situation;

OPTIONS and alternative strategies or courses of action;

WHAT is to be done, WHEN, by WHOM, and the WILL to do it.

The last stage is also known as WRAP-UP.

ACHIEVE model (Dembkowski & Elridge, 2003)

Assess the current situation: Where are you now?

Creative brainstorming of alternatives to the current situation: Where could you be?

Home goals: Where would you like to be?

Initiate options: How could you get there?

Evaluative options: How else could you get there? {What if you can’t get there?}

Valid action program design: What do you choose to do?

Encourage momentum: What are you doing?

LASER: A coaching process (Lee, 2003)

A five-stage process that provides a reference frame for moving a manager through a leadership coaching journey with the core activities:






POSITIVE model (Libri, 2004)

Purpose: What do you want to achieve?

Observations: What have you tried so far?

Strategy: What does success look like for you?

Insight: How committed are you to achieving this goal on a scale of 1-10?

Team: Who will you share your goal with?

Initiate: When will you start to act on this?

Value: How will you celebrate your success?

Encourage: How are you going with your goals?

Wasik’s (1984) seven-step problem-solving sequence

Problem identification: What is the concern?

Goal selection: What do I want?

Generation of alternatives: What can I do?

Consideration of consequences: What might happen?

Decision making: What is my decision?

Implementation: Now, do it!

Evaluation: Did it work?


A seven-step solution-seeking problem-solving framework (Palmer, 2007; Wasik, 1984)

Problem identification

Realistic goals development

Alternative solutions generated

Consider consequences

Target most feasible solutions

Implement chosen solutions

Evaluate outcome

Shorter models of the problem-solving process

STIR: Select a problem; Target a solution; Implement a solution; Review the outcome.

PIE: Problem definition; Implement a solution; Evaluate the outcome


Army doctrine (FM 6-22) elaborates on what an Army leader must be (character), what a leader must know (competence), and what a leader must do (influencing, operating, improving).

“Be, Know, Do” is the model for developing competent, confident, and agile leaders.

The Army leader is visioned as a person of character, presence, and intellect.

Competence includes knowledge, behavior, identity, critical thinking, ethics, and morality.

Competent leaders are knowledgeable about leadership (knowledge); can enact a well-established set of varied leadership competencies (behavior); can demonstrate sophisticated levels of behavioral, cognitive, and emotional self-regulation (identity); can engage in high-level moral reasoning and ethical conduct (critical thinking, ethics, and morality).

Managerial Domains of Endeavor

The three main managerial domains of endeavor are planning, problem-solving and decision-making, and relationship building.

The accompanying three lenses of managerial leadership behaviors are change focus, task focus, and relationship focus.

These are loosely coupled with the leader’s personality motivators of achieving, getting power, and relating.

Again, these resemble Horney’s three orientations (or coping types) of moving away, moving against, and moving towards, creating discernible patterns of personality characteristics.

A matching motto could be: Protect, control, comply. Think, achieve, relate.

In the practice of facilitation, we have the three orientations of planning, decision-making and problem-solving, and relationship building, implemented through the three questions of getting clear about the issue, moving the task forward, and building the relationship.

Depending on the resolution appropriate to your adventure, you can use the lenses or frames presented to reveal the whole picture or story and focus on one aspect at a time, then weave them together to create a coherent, meaningful self, life, or experience.

The development goal and process as a layered map of human potential and actualizing: A Leader Competency Framework

The three levels, depths, or layers of your leader development can be approached in terms of 

(a) the inner developmental processes of selection-optimization-compensation making up self-development, 

(b) the mediating level of identity processes of self-regulation, or 

(c) the outer levels of manifesting in skills, competence, and mastery.

The inner developmental processes of Selection-Optimization-Compensation reveal themselves in the Growth-Maintenance-Regulation of loss.

The identity processes reveal themselves in authenticity, involving self-awareness, alignment, and congruence.

Mastery reveals itself in expertise involving experience and qualifications (of the socially constructed kind). Competence reveals itself in credibility involving proven success, “real” insight, and influence involving communication, style, and relationship.

To sum up the unfolding and enfolding of human experience:

All the world sees is your Performance, which we surmise comes about as an engagement of your Skills, Competence, and Mastery.

Performance is judged in terms of expertise, credibility, and influence.

The coach knows that your Expertise (Mastery) comes from Experiential Learning and the appropriate Assessment, Challenge, and Support of a Learning Relationship.

The developmental coach knows that you move through the experiential learning cycle serving as a developmental spiral by attending to your Identity Processes of Self-Regulation, Moral Development, and Reflective Judgment.

Performance is also an agency issue, requiring ethical or virtue judgment and choice in pursuing service, asking the question, “How am I Doing?”

Agency also involves the aspects of existential responsibility, authoring, choice, and decision-making, evoking issues of self-regard and self-compassion, asking the question “What should I Do?” as well as the aspects of relationality, value judgment, and value ideal requiring compassion and other-regard, amending the question “& for Whom?”

The consciousness aspect of the self engages reflective judgment in search for truth and sense-making through psychological capacities, asking the question, “What can I Do?”

The purpose of thinking is to analyze, evaluate, synthesize, strategize, and plan.

The time horizon may be here, near, or far implemented as executing, exploring, or planning. Another differentiation of the temporal aspect of goal pursuit may be in the form of goal-oriented, mission-oriented, vision-oriented, or values-oriented, giving rise to doing, motivating, dreaming, and aspiring.

The leadership system produces Strategy expressed on the outward vision and mission, from which flows Organization, the inward operation. Of course, the inward also has an outward aspect and vice versa.

Strategy and Organization serve Purpose through Direction, Alignment, and Commitment, which is an output of effective leadership.

Business output can be analyzed under three broad categories: Product, Offer, and Client. Another distinction to make could be between Industry and Market.

Product and Offer could be seen as process-relations of Industry.

Offer and Client could be seen as process-relations of the Market.

Product is characterized by innovation, engineering, supply chain, and financials.

Offer is characterized by sales, receivables, billing & payments, and bookkeeping.

Client is characterized by needs, wishes, wants, and funds.

Here is a slogan for business, “Satisfy your customer, engage your employee, monitor your cash flow.”

Since we started with slogans, here are some more, “Walk the edge, raise your standards, raise your expectations, get a grip on procrastination.”

A few more categories: physiological-behavioral, emotional-motivational, socioemotional-relational, and spiritual-aspirational.

Truth, beauty, good, justice; structural, symbolic, cultural, political; objective, personal, cultural, social-political.

Actor-agent is conative, willing, doing, praxis, ethical/virtue judgment/choice, embodying.

The meaning-making agent is the emotive, relating, connecting, praxeology, value judgment, value ideal, and valuing.

The sense-making agent is the cognitive, doxa and episteme, imagining, visioning, reflective judgment, truth, and reflecting.

The existential agent is the being, becoming, existence, responsibility, authoring, and choosing.

Acting in wholeness requires nurturing your Virtues of Transcendence, Temperance, Lover; Courage, Warrior; Wisdom, Magus; Humanity, Justice, and Prudence, King & Queen.

The spaces we live in

The mature adult lives four fundamental patterns in his or her life and consciousness, opening up four different spaces, or spheres, of experience.

Life as a Provider is enacted in the sphere of love and service and unfolds in the King and Queen form of consciousness, which creates the space of nurturance.

Life as Learner is enacted in the sphere of growth and unfolds in the Magician form of consciousness, which creates the space of transformation.

Life as Protector is enacted in the sphere of work and unfolds in the Warrior form of consciousness, which creates the space of achievement.

Life as Receiver is enacted in the sphere of play and unfolds in the Lover form of consciousness, creating the embodiment space.

Here is another wording for your everyday enlightenment:

The agency aspect of self reveals itself in karma, manifest in worth, will, and body.

Discover your worth – Dignity.

Reclaim your will – Choice.

Energize your body – Commitment.

Serve your world – Participation.

The consciousness aspect of self reveals itself in buddha.

Tame your mind – Awareness.

Trust your intuition – Knowing.

Accept your emotions – Opening.

Illuminate your shadow – Inviting.

The social-relational aspect of self reveals itself in sangha.

Manage your money – Contribution.

Face your fears – Safety.

Embrace your sexuality – Intimacy.

Awaken your heart – Compassion.

Another look at the inner developmental processes of Selection-Optimization-Compensation from the perspective of Growth, Decay, and Equilibrium

Growth   <——–>   Decay




Your whole life could be summed up as, “Move toward growth or maintain equilibrium, compensate for decay.”

Does maintaining equilibrium entail change? Yes, equilibrium is never static in the human realm.

Processes of loss, decay, reversal, and negation are inherent in living systems, giving rise to growth, compensation, emergence, an impulse to completion, healing, making whole, extending, transcending, emancipating, liberating, “boundarying,” remediating, restoring.

Thus we see the many colors of human experience: languishing and flourishing; starving and nurturing; depleting and fulfilling, extracting and adding; weak and strong; fragile and non-fragile; stiff and elastic; fixed and plastic or resilient, robust, and adaptive; deficit and surplus or fullness, completeness, and sufficiency.

What determines positive output? Effort, anxiety, capacity.

Turning a skill into output is mediated by anxiety. The coaching task is to increase effort and reduce anxiety. Increasing effort comes through (1) shifting motivation along the intrinsic-extrinsic dimension toward intrinsic motivation and (2) increasing valence of the outcome.

(1) Intrinsic motivation comes through (i) the use of signature strengths and (ii) valuing skill deployment as a rewarding activity in itself.

(2) Increasing valence of the outcome may come about by (i) linking the outcome to vision or (ii) linking the outcome to purpose or mission.

Reducing anxiety comes through (1) an increase in self-efficacy, (2) breaking of any link between performance and identity evaluation, (3) self-awareness and strengths-awareness, and (4) mindfulness, mindful self-compassion, acceptance, commitment, and stress reduction.

The third factor in output is capacity. The optimism or pessimism level will influence the perceived skill level, which becomes the actualizing skill level; in contrast to the potential skill level.

The broad category of capacity can be considered to include temperament, which is the main factor influencing anxiety.

We get from challenge to output through actualizing potentials mediated through capacity.

ABCDEF model

Use the ABCDEF model for unhelpful emotional or psychological blocks to examine, dispute, and modify beliefs.

The Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) principle states that our reactions to events are determined by our evaluations of those events rather than the events themselves. Adapt unhelpful evaluations of events to modify reactions to them.

Activating event; or Adversity, or Awareness of a problem; to be overcome.

Beliefs held toward the activating event; or evaluative beliefs about the self in relation to the activating event. To the degree these beliefs may be unhelpful to you, you may perceive the activating event as difficult and insurmountable.

These beliefs and perceptions may trigger Consequences such as procrastination or avoidance (behavioral), anxiety (emotional), and palpitations (physical).

Coaching task: “What is it about the event you truly find disturbing?” Inquire to refine the activating event and reveal more fully the unhelpful beliefs about the event.

For example, a stress-activating event may be making a presentation in front of the senior management team; unhelpful or stress-inducing thoughts, “my presentation should be perfect” (demanding), “doing a bad presentation will be awful” (awfulizing), “if my presentation isn’t perfect then I’m a failure” (depreciation or self-downing).

Disputation, or Discussion, of the stress-inducing thoughts.

What evidence is available to support that belief – empirical questions.

What is the logic that supports that belief – logical questions.

How helpful is the belief in achieving your goal – pragmatic or functional questions.

Develop a new and more effective approach.

Once we identify relevant stress-inducing thoughts, we work through Socratic questioning to deepen the understanding and clarify concerns. Do disputation to challenge existing beliefs. Through this process, you will develop more helpful beliefs or stress-alleviating thoughts.

Future focus; work through the model with the goal in mind. What have you learned from the current situation that you can apply in the future?

Resilience Undermining Thoughts (RUTs)

“I’m never going to get a job again.” (all or nothing thinking)

“I can’t stand this situation anymore.” (low frustration tolerance)

“Being unemployed for 12 months is awful.” (awfulizing)

“I’m a total failure.” (labeling, self-devaluation)

Use a Resilience Enhancing Form or Table based on the ABCDEF model.

A: note down the target problem and goals. 

B: note down Resilience Undermining Thoughts. 

C: complete to provide insight into how RUTs trigger different emotional, behavioral, and physical responses. 

Ask a pragmatic question, “Do you find the RUTs motivating or demotivating?”

Let the question sink in; let the client appreciate why time is spent chasing thinking errors and RUTs. Let the client decide if it is worth modifying her thinking. If yes, develop new Resilience Enhancing Thoughts (RETs) to counter RUTs in column D.

D: note down new RETs. 

Assign homework to explore psychological strategies that increase mental toughness and wellbeing, such as abdominal breathing, attentional control, and visualization strategies.

E: develop an effective new approach to tackle the presenting target problem; include behavioral strategies to help achieve goals.

F: future focus; what have you learned so far that you may carry forward with you?

CASIO model of life satisfaction, 

also called the five paths to happiness model: The client lists actions for managing a problem, such as changing circumstances (C), attitudes (A), goals or standards (S), priorities or importance (I), and overall (O) satisfaction or wellbeing. The model is used with quality of life inventory (QOLI) interventions to apply the CASIO model to the 16 life domains.