What Is The OSKAR Coaching Model? The OSKAR Coaching Model In A Nutshell

The OSKAR coaching model was developed in the early 2000s by organizational theorists and authors Paul Z. Jackson and Mark McKergow.  The OSKAR coaching model is a solution-driven method used for managerial coaching in the workplace. In their book titled The Solutions Focus: Making Coaching and Change Simple, the pair layout a framework to help coaches implement training sessions that are focused on solutions and not on problems.

ElementDescriptionImplicationsKey CharacteristicsExamplesApplications
OutcomeThe desired goal or outcome that the coachee (person being coached) wants to achieve.– Focuses coaching efforts on achieving a specific result. – Provides clarity on what success looks like. – Motivates the coachee to work toward a meaningful goal.– Clear and well-defined goal. – Specific and measurable. – Driven by the coachee’s needs and aspirations.– A coachee aims to improve time management skills to reduce stress. – An employee wants to enhance leadership skills to qualify for a promotion. – A student seeks strategies to excel in academic performance.– Use the coachee’s desired outcomes as the foundation for coaching sessions. – Ensure that outcomes are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound). – Align coaching discussions and actions with the desired results.
ScalingA numerical scale used to measure the current position of the coachee in relation to the outcome. It helps assess progress and track improvements.– Provides a quantitative way to gauge progress. – Allows coachee and coach to visualize growth over time. – Encourages self-reflection and self-assessment.– Numeric scale (e.g., 1 to 10) to represent the current status. – Requires periodic self-assessment and comparison to track changes.– A coachee rates their current level of public speaking skills as a 4 on a scale of 1 to 10. – An athlete evaluates their physical fitness at a 7 on a scale of 1 to 10. – A manager assesses their team’s collaboration at a 5 on a scale of 1 to 10.– Use scaling to establish a baseline and track progress toward the outcome. – Encourage coachees to regularly assess their position on the scale. – Discuss strategies and actions to move up the scale and achieve higher ratings.
Know-HowThe existing knowledge, skills, and resources that the coachee possesses. These are leveraged to identify strengths and capabilities.– Recognizes the coachee’s strengths and assets. – Maximizes the utilization of existing knowledge and skills. – Builds confidence by acknowledging areas of competence.– Identification of skills, experiences, and resources within the coachee’s toolkit. – Focuses on strengths and competencies. – Appreciation of the coachee’s capacity to make positive changes.– An employee possesses excellent project management skills. – A coachee has prior experience in conflict resolution. – A student is proficient in data analysis techniques.– Explore and assess the coachee’s existing competencies and resources. – Encourage the coachee to leverage their strengths to achieve desired outcomes. – Align coaching strategies with the coachee’s knowledge and skills.
Affirm & ActionThis stage involves affirming the coachee’s potential and encouraging them to take specific actions aligned with their desired outcome. It combines positive reinforcement and actionable steps.– Boosts coachee’s confidence and self-belief. – Guides coachee toward practical actions. – Reinforces the coachee’s commitment to change.– Positive reinforcement and encouragement. – Identification of actionable steps and strategies. – Reinforcement of the coachee’s dedication to achieving the outcome.– The coach affirms the coachee’s determination to improve public speaking skills and suggests joining a speaking club. – A manager acknowledges an employee’s leadership potential and recommends leadership training programs. – A student expresses the desire to excel academically, and the coach encourages setting specific study goals.– Provide positive feedback and recognition of the coachee’s capabilities and commitment. – Collaborate on defining practical actions to move closer to the outcome. – Maintain a supportive and encouraging coaching environment.
ReviewThe review phase involves periodic assessments and reflections to evaluate progress toward the outcome. Coachee and coach assess the effectiveness of actions and adjust strategies as needed.– Allows continuous monitoring and adjustment. – Identifies what’s working and what requires modification. – Ensures alignment with the desired outcome.– Regular check-ins and evaluations of progress. – Comparison of actual results with intended outcomes. – Willingness to adapt strategies based on review findings.– A coachee reviews their public speaking improvements after several club meetings, noting strengths and areas for further growth. – An employee and manager hold regular performance reviews to assess leadership development progress. – A student periodically evaluates study habits and adjusts techniques for better academic results.– Schedule regular review sessions to track progress and adjust coaching strategies. – Encourage open dialogue for coachee feedback and reflection. – Use review outcomes to refine and adapt the coaching plan.
SummaryThe culmination of the coaching process, where coachee and coach summarize the journey, celebrate achievements, and plan for future growth or goals.– Recognizes accomplishments and milestones. – Sets the stage for continued development and future objectives. – Provides closure to the coaching relationship.– Acknowledgment of achieved goals and progress made. – Discussion of future aspirations and potential coaching needs. – Closing remarks to conclude the coaching engagement.– A coachee celebrates successfully enhancing public speaking skills and expresses aspirations to become a professional speaker. – An employee and manager summarize leadership development achievements and discuss future career goals. – A student concludes the academic coaching journey by reflecting on improved study habits and setting goals for the next semester.– Facilitate a summary session to acknowledge coachee achievements and future ambitions. – Discuss potential follow-up coaching or support based on coachee goals. – End the coaching relationship on a positive note with reflections and future plans.

Understanding the OSKAR coaching model

Coaching is a vital skill for leaders and managers in the workplace. When used in combination with positive feedback and reinforcement, it can foster behavioral change in subordinates that benefits themselves and the company as a whole.

The OSKAR model is one of many solution-based frameworks available for organizations. It is not as popular as the GROW model, but it is a useful alternative that is easily implemented and simple to understand. The focus of the OSKAR approach is to help the coachee move from their current state to a desired future state with more emphasis on behaviors than actions.

The five components of the OSKAR model

The OSKAR model is an acronym of five stages. Let’s take a general look at each below:

Outcome (O)  

What does the coachee want to achieve in the short, medium, or long term? What do they want to achieve in each session and how will the coachee know if each session has been beneficial? 

To help provide clarity to this process, the coach should ask the coachee to imagine a desired or ideal future state in detail.

Scaling (S) 

On a scale of 0 to 10, the coachee then rates where they are in relation to attaining that ideal state. Lower scores mean the individual is farther away, while higher scores mean the individual is closer. The coach should also rate the individual to increase objectivity.

Know-how (K) 

In the third state, the coach helps the coachee understand what skills and resources are required to achieve their stated goals. 

Some reflective questions the coach could ask include:

  • What do you need to learn?
  • Whose support do you need to secure?
  • Are there new skills you need to invest in? Who can teach these skills?

Affirm and action (A)

In the fourth stage, the coach helps the coachee assess their current state and look for ways to improve it. While less than ideal, the individual who rated themselves as a 5 in the second step should be encouraged to think about the competencies that got them there.

Questions that encourage the coachee to open up and be kind to themselves include:

  • What are you doing now that is already working? What makes it effective?
  • Which areas would you like to see change? How can this be accomplished?
  • What is your first step to moving forward? 

Review (R)

The review stage of the OSKAR process takes place in a separate session. This is because sufficient time should pass to allow the coachee to reflect on what has transpired and the progress that has been made. 

The review stage should then recommend actions that form the basis of another cycle of the OSKAR model. In other words, the coachee returns to stage one and redefines their short, medium, and long-term goals.

Key takeaways:

  • The OSKAR coaching model is a solution-driven method used for managerial coaching in the workplace.
  • The OSKAR coaching model focuses on helping the coachee move from their current state to a desired future state with more emphasis on behaviors than actions
  • The OSKAR coaching model consists of five stages: outcome, scaling, know-how, affirm and action, and review. The model is a cyclical approach to continuous improvement since observations from the review stage are then used to set goals in the initial outcome stage. 

Key Highlights

  • Introduction to OSKAR Coaching Model:
    • The OSKAR coaching model was developed by Paul Z. Jackson and Mark McKergow in the early 2000s.
    • It is designed as a solution-focused approach to coaching, especially in a managerial context within the workplace.
    • Unlike problem-focused coaching, which often dwells on analyzing and addressing challenges, the OSKAR model emphasizes identifying and implementing solutions to achieve desired outcomes.
  • Components of the OSKAR Model:
    • Outcome (O): This stage involves defining the desired outcomes that the coachee wants to achieve. These outcomes can span short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals. The coach helps the coachee envision a specific and detailed picture of their ideal future state.
    • Scaling (S): After defining the outcomes, the coachee rates their current progress toward those outcomes on a scale of 0 to 10. This numerical scale provides a tangible measure of the gap between the current state and the desired state. The coach also provides their own rating for added objectivity.
    • Know-how (K): In this stage, the focus shifts to understanding the skills, resources, and support needed to bridge the gap between the current state and the desired outcome. Coachees identify what they need to learn, who can support them, and any additional skills they need to acquire to achieve their goals.
    • Affirm and Action (A): Here, the coachee evaluates their current situation and identifies what is already working effectively. This self-affirmation helps build confidence and self-awareness. The coachee then identifies actionable steps they can take to move closer to their desired outcomes. This step encourages coachees to build upon their strengths.
    • Review (R): The review stage occurs in a separate session from the other stages. It provides an opportunity for the coachee to reflect on their progress, actions taken, and outcomes achieved since the previous coaching session. The coach and coachee together assess what worked well and what can be improved. This reflection informs the next cycle of the coaching process.
  • Application of OSKAR Coaching:
    • The OSKAR coaching model is particularly well-suited for managerial coaching and leadership development in a professional setting.
    • It encourages coachees to shift their focus from problems to solutions, empowering them to actively seek ways to overcome challenges and achieve their goals.
    • The model fosters a proactive and forward-thinking mindset, aligning with the idea that emphasizing positive change can lead to more sustainable progress.
  • Cyclical Approach to Continuous Improvement:
    • The OSKAR coaching model is designed as a cyclical process, where the insights gained from the review stage inform the subsequent coaching cycle.
    • The reflection and feedback from the review help refine the coachee’s goals and strategies, creating a continuous loop of improvement and development.
    • By iterating through the model, coachees can consistently fine-tune their approach, track progress, and make adjustments to stay aligned with their desired outcomes.

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 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.

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