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Quick Coaching with Acronym Models by Tracy O’Neill

Jun 25th, 2010 | By | Category: Coaching Research

Coaching models provide opportunities for coaches to integrate their natural styles into the communication process and meet the needs of the coached. They do not replace a coaching framework. Models are used as segments in the coaching dialogue to clarify processes or they can quicken decision making when time is limited. Sometimes the coaching process can take place in as little as 15 minutes when the issues are simple.

 Many coaching models out there were developed by psychologists and based on psychotherapy theories. Some are extremely complex and truly require a background in psychology, counseling, or social work to be executed effectively. Luckily, there are more simplistic models that are easy to understand, retain, and implement. Acronym models make it especially easy to remember the sequence of discussion that must take place. Let’s look at six such models:

 The GROW model, originally developed by Graham Alexander in 1984, is the more common approach to coaching.[i]

  • Goal-setting
  • Reality
  • Options
  • What action is to be done

 The Arrow model is similar to GROW but makes reflection an explicit part of the coaching process. It was developed by Matt Somers, author of Coaching in a Week. [ii]

  • Aims
  • Reality
  • Reflection
  • Options
  • Way Forward

 Dr. Sabine Dembkowski and Fiona Eldridge extend both the GROW and ARROW models into more explicit steps using ACHIEVE.[iii]

  • Assess the current situation
  • Creatively brainstorm alternatives
  • Hone goals
  • Initiate options
  • Evaluate options
  • Validate an action program design
  • Encourage momentum

 OSKAR is a solution focused model developed by Paul Z. Jackson and Mark McKergow that looks at what works and then doing more of it.[iv]

  • Outcome of coaching that is expected
  • Scaling the situation on a slide of 1 to 10
  • Know-how and resources available
  • Affirm plan and take action
  • Review what worked

 Seth M. Bricklin built the RAPPORT model to increase emotional intelligence in executives. It is applicable to organizational coaching sessions.[v]

  • Relationship
  • Assessment
  • Provide feedback
  • Plan for action
  • Organize change
  • Review progress
  • Think ahead for growth

 The SOLVE model is discussed extensively in Dr. Ron Muchnick’s book, Self Coaching: How to SOLVE.

  • State the problem
  • Observe the problem resolved
  • List exceptions
  • Verify the plan
  • Execute

 Use a coaching framework, and then choose the models you are most comfortable with to commit to memory. Models are a great way to help coaches work with their coachees, especially during unplanned or spontaneous sessions. They are also great tools for the coachee to use in self development and problem solving. Your ultimate goal is to make the coachee less dependent on you, right?


[i]Graham Alexander, “Graham Alexander,” http://www.alexandercorporation.com (accessed October 10, 2007).

[ii]Matt Somers, Coaching in a Week (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2002).

[iii]Fiona Eldridge, and Sabine Dembkowski, “The ACHIEVE Coaching Model,” http://www.coachingnetwork.org.uk (accessed October 7, 2007).

[iv]Paul Z. Jackson, and Mark McKergow, The Solutions Focus: Making Coaching Simple (London: Nicholas Brealey, 2007), 138. 

[v]Seth M. Bricklin, “The RAPPORT Program: A Model for Improving the Emotional Intelligence of Executive Coaching Clients,” (Doctor of Psychology diss., Widener University, 2001).

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