Three Coaching Models You Need To Know

Coaching models are structured frameworks that assist people with moving from where they are currently to a desired future state.

Importantly, these models ensure that coaching sessions remain focused on the client’s future improvement and do not wander off track.

Numerous coaching models exist today for a variety of purposes.

There are coaching models for individuals, executives, and teams, while others are specifically geared toward career or leadership development.

Below we have listed a few of the most popular.

The GROW model

Though no single individual can claim to have created the GROW model, writers Graham Alexander and Alan Fine together with racing car champion John Whitmore played a significant part in developing the framework during the 80s and 90s. The GROW model is a simple way to set goals and solve problems during coaching sessions through four stages: goal, reality, options, and will (way forward).

The GROW model was developed by business coaches Graham Alexander, John Whitmore, and Alan Fine in the 1980s.

The model, which is used extensively today, features four steps:

  1. Goal (G) – the coach first works with the client to develop a clear vision of where the latter wants to be. 
  2. Current reality (R) – for the client, this is their starting point. In other words, where are they now and what is happening to them?
  3. Options or obstacles (O) – in the third step, several paths forward are devised and possible obstacles or challenges are clarified.
  4. Way forward (W) – where both parties decide on a clear plan of action with defined steps. In most cases, the client has “homework” they must complete before they next meet with the coach.

The flow model

The flow model is a framework that enables individuals to reach a mental or emotional level where performance is optimized.

This level, where the individual is energized, focused, and fully engaged is known as flow state.

The flow model has three components:

  1. Goals – these must be objectives that will consistently motivate and inspire the client.
  2. Balance – the above can be facilitated by objectives that strike the right balance between challenge and perceived skill. Too hard, and the individual becomes overwhelmed and quits. Too easy, and the individual becomes bored and does not grow.
  3. Feedback – to accelerate the client’s development, the role of a high-performance coach is to give effective, insightful, concise feedback. 

Action-centered leadership

Action-centered leadership is a simple model that was developed by British leadership theorist and academic John Adair.

It provides a tried and tested blueprint for the management and monitoring of teams, groups, and organizations.

Adair believed that individuals could be coached to become good leaders. In other words, the ability to lead was not simply a trait one was born with.

Adair’s coaching model is illustrated with three circles that represent various leadership responsibilities:

  1. Achieve tasks – this includes defining tasks and activities, creating strategies and plans, and establishing parameters for timing, reporting, and quality.
  2. Manage individuals – leaders are effective when they understand subordinate motivations, needs, and fears in detail. Management entails support, encouragement, coaching, rewards, praise, and constructive feedback. It’s also important for leaders to spend time with more reserved individuals who are reluctant to contribute.
  3. Create teams – leaders must also be coached on creating and managing teams. They must ensure teams remain cohesive and prioritize values such as unity and collaboration. Adair also noted that superiors could be coached to establish the right culture, anticipate (and resolve) conflicts, evaluate and modify team composition, and establish standards of individual and team behavior. 

Key takeaways:

  • Coaching models are structured frameworks that assist people with moving from where they are currently to a desired future state.
  • Two examples of high-performance coaching models include the GROW model and the flow model. The former was developed in 1980 by a trio of business coaches and remains popular today.
  • Another high-performance coaching model is John Adair’s action-centered leadership framework. Adair believed that individuals could be coached to become good leaders and it was not a skill that one was simply born with.

Read Next: GROW Model, High-Performance Coaching, High-Performance Management.

Main Free Guides:

Connected Leadership Concepts And Frameworks

Leadership Styles

Leadership styles encompass the behavioral qualities of a leader. These qualities are commonly used to direct, motivate, or manage groups of people. Some of the most recognized leadership styles include Autocratic, Democratic, or Laissez-Faire leadership styles.

Agile Leadership

Agile leadership is the embodiment of agile manifesto principles by a manager or management team. Agile leadership impacts two important levels of a business. The structural level defines the roles, responsibilities, and key performance indicators. The behavioral level describes the actions leaders exhibit to others based on agile principles. 

Adaptive Leadership

Adaptive leadership is a model used by leaders to help individuals adapt to complex or rapidly changing environments. Adaptive leadership is defined by three core components (precious or expendable, experimentation and smart risks, disciplined assessment). Growth occurs when an organization discards ineffective ways of operating. Then, active leaders implement new initiatives and monitor their impact.

Blue Ocean Leadership

Authors and strategy experts Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne developed the idea of blue ocean leadership. In the same way that Kim and Mauborgne’s blue ocean strategy enables companies to create uncontested market space, blue ocean leadership allows companies to benefit from unrealized employee talent and potential.

Delegative Leadership

Developed by business consultants Kenneth Blanchard and Paul Hersey in the 1960s, delegative leadership is a leadership style where authority figures empower subordinates to exercise autonomy. For this reason, it is also called laissez-faire leadership. In some cases, this type of leadership can lead to increases in work quality and decision-making. In a few other cases, this type of leadership needs to be balanced out to prevent a lack of direction and cohesiveness of the team.

Distributed Leadership

Distributed leadership is based on the premise that leadership responsibilities and accountability are shared by those with the relevant skills or expertise so that the shared responsibility and accountability of multiple individuals within a workplace, bulds up as a fluid and emergent property (not controlled or held by one individual). Distributed leadership is based on eight hallmarks, or principles: shared responsibility, shared power, synergy, leadership capacity, organizational learning, equitable and ethical climate, democratic and investigative culture, and macro-community engagement.

Ethical Leadership

Ethical leaders adhere to certain values and beliefs irrespective of whether they are in the home or office. In essence, ethical leaders are motivated and guided by the inherent dignity and rights of other people.

Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership is a style of leadership that motivates, encourages, and inspires employees to contribute to company growth. Leadership expert James McGregor Burns first described the concept of transformational leadership in a 1978 book entitled Leadership. Although Burns’ research was focused on political leaders, the term is also applicable for businesses and organizational psychology.

Leading by Example

Those who lead by example let their actions (and not their words) exemplify acceptable forms of behavior or conduct. In a manager-subordinate context, the intention of leading by example is for employees to emulate this behavior or conduct themselves.

Leader vs. Boss

A leader is someone within an organization who possesses the ability to influence and lead others by example. Leaders inspire, support, and encourage those beneath them and work continuously to achieve objectives. A boss is someone within an organization who gives direct orders to subordinates, tends to be autocratic, and prefers to be in control at all times.

Situational Leadership

Situational leadership is based on situational leadership theory. Developed by authors Paul Hersey and Kenneth Blanchard in the late 1960s, the theory’s fundamental belief is that there is no single leadership style that is best for every situation. Situational leadership is based on the belief that no single leadership style is best. In other words, the best style depends on the situation at hand.

Succession Planning

Succession planning is a process that involves the identification and development of future leaders across all levels within a company. In essence, succession planning is a way for businesses to prepare for the future. The process ensures that when a key employee decides to leave, the company has someone else in the pipeline to fill their position.

Fiedler’s Contingency Model

Fielder’s contingency model argues no style of leadership is superior to the rest evaluated against three measures of situational control, including leader-member relations, task structure, and leader power level. In Fiedler’s contingency model, task-oriented leaders perform best in highly favorable and unfavorable circumstances. Relationship-oriented leaders perform best in situations that are moderately favorable but can improve their position by using superior interpersonal skills.

Management vs. Leadership


Cultural Models

In the context of an organization, cultural models are frameworks that define, shape, and influence corporate culture. Cultural models also provide some structure to a corporate culture that tends to be fluid and vulnerable to change. Once upon a time, most businesses utilized a hierarchical culture where various levels of management oversaw subordinates below them. Today, however, there exists a greater diversity in models as leaders realize the top-down approach is outdated in many industries and that success can be found elsewhere.

Action-Centered Leadership

Action-centered leadership defines leadership in the context of three interlocking areas of responsibility and concern. This framework is used by leaders in the management of teams, groups, and organizations. Developed in the 1960s and first published in 1973, action-centered leadership was revolutionary for its time because it believed leaders could learn the skills they needed to manage others effectively. Adair believed that effective leadership was exemplified by three overlapping circles (responsibilities): achieve the task, build and maintain the team, and develop the individual.

High-Performance Coaching

High-performance coaches work with individuals in personal and professional contexts to enable them to reach their full potential. While these sorts of coaches are commonly associated with sports, it should be noted that the act of coaching is a specific type of behavior that is also useful in business and leadership. 

Forms of Power

When most people are asked to define power, they think about the power a leader possesses as a function of their responsibility for subordinates. Others may think that power comes from the title or position this individual holds. 

Tipping Point Leadership

Tipping Point Leadership is a low-cost means of achieving a strategic shift in an organization by focusing on extremes. Here, the extremes may refer to small groups of people, acts, and activities that exert a disproportionate influence over business performance.

Vroom-Yetton Decision Model

The Vroom-Yetton decision model is a decision-making process based on situational leadership. According to this model, there are five decision-making styles guides group-based decision-making according to the situation at hand and the level of involvement of subordinates: Autocratic Type 1 (AI), Autocratic Type 2 (AII), Consultative Type 1 (CI), Consultative Type 2 (CII), Group-based Type 2 (GII).

Likert’s Management Systems

Likert’s management systems were developed by American social psychologist Rensis Likert. Likert’s management systems are a series of leadership theories based on the study of various organizational dynamics and characteristics. Likert proposed four systems of management, which can also be thought of as leadership styles: Exploitative authoritative, Benevolent authoritative, Consultative, Participative.

Main Guides:

About The Author

Scroll to Top