Business Growth

6 Popular Coaching Models for Your Online Coaching Business

Androniki Koumadoraki Content Writer LearnWorlds
11 min

Coaches meet all sorts of people: confident, anxious, born leaders, aspiring leaders, determined, bold, shy… Some who know what they want from their lives and some who are still trying to figure out what makes them happy.

Similarly, there are all sorts of coaches a client can bump into as they’re seeking for a mentor to guide them through the path to improvement. They’ll meet those who’ll ask them to introspect and search deep into their feelings and those who will want them to look ahead and focus on their goal.

Which category do you fall into? Are you the assertive or the no-nonsense coach? Do you put logic over emotion or vice versa?

If you are still trying to determine your coaching style, then you might want to take a look at the 6 popular coaching models we’ll explore with you today. Find out how each model works, what you need to consider before choosing the one for you, and the benefits for your coaching business.

Why you Should use a Coaching Model

Are you a free spirit that doesn’t want to be confined by models and rules? Good – but that’s not a reason to snob tried-and-tested coaching models. Here’s why it’s a good idea to use a coaching model when you’re selling coaching online:

Add Some Structure to Your Coaching Programs

A coaching model can elevate the quality of your coaching services by adding structure and coherence to your program. As such, it will also help you appear (even more) professional and knowledgeable. Use the one that feels right for you to better organize the sequence of your coaching sessions and break the coaching program down into smaller steps.

Create a Roadmap for Your Coaching Clients

New clients will feel a lot more comfortable and safe when they know what’s ahead of them. They’ll know what to expect from each coaching session and how the whole process will unfold until they meet their goal. Let’s say your clients are college students struggling to make money while still in school. Guiding them on how to choose the best bank accounts for college students might be a good starting point.

During your first coaching call, explain the model you’re working with and what this entails. Apart from explaining your coaching model during your first session, you can also create a brief video to walk the client through it.

Add a Sense of Accountability

With most coaching models, the client follows a clear path that you’ve both agreed on. This path includes milestones, upon which the client is expected to have performed a certain action.

When the client knows you’re working following a specific model, they feel more responsible to meet their goals within the timeframe you’ve set. This, of course, increases the chances of a successful coaching program.

Attract Your Ideal Clients

Coaching is a scalable business. Using a coaching model is one more way to grow your online coaching business. All you need to do is to promote your coaching model as a part of your marketing strategy. Talk about the coaching model you work with on the landing pages of your online school and on social media to get organic traffic and enable your target audience to discover you faster.

You’re New to Coaching

New coaches need a coaching model more than experienced ones. Even if you’ve received high-quality coaching training, it may take some time before you fully evolve your coaching skills and reach your top game. Until you find your personal coaching style, a coaching model will help you work more strategically.

Let’s see the most popular coaching models to choose from, and what it looks like working with them. These models work for any type of coaching or mentoring and are effective for private coaching and group coaching as well.


GROW is the most popular coaching model and has been around for more than thirty years. Created by Sir John Whitmore and colleagues, it stands out for its simple and straightforward structure. The GROW model assumes that the coach is not necessarily an expert in the client’s situation. Consequently, the coach acts more like a facilitator that helps the client come up with ways they can achieve their goals.

Let’s see what GROW stands for.

G-Goals: Discuss with your client what they want to achieve to establish the goal of the coaching sessions. It helps to set a SMART goal (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound) to make sure it’s evident when the client has reached it.

Even if it’s not possible to have all the components of a SMART goal (for example, you can’t always measure a behavioral change), it’s good to include as many as you can.

R-Reality: Next, you need to discuss where the client stands now. What is their current situation? How far are they from reaching their goal? What steps have they already taken towards their goal, and what results have these steps brought?

It’s essential to fully understand the current reality and examine disabling and enabling factors before you can start working on a plan for the future.

O-Obstacles/Options: You also have to factor in potential roadblocks (obstacles) that will come along the way. Prompt the client to think about solutions (options) to overcome them. You can brainstorm with them and share a couple of ideas of your own. When exploring the options, remember to consider the advantages and disadvantages of each one.

W-Way forward: The last step in the process is the way forward, or establishing the will. The client should now commit to taking the necessary steps to achieve their goal. At this final stage, measure the level of commitment of the client. You can do this with a simple “On a scale from 1 to 10” question.

Whatever is stopping them from being fully committed is an obstacle you failed to identify in the previous step, so you need to figure out ways to overcome these remaining roadblocks. Finally, make sure to schedule regular meetings to keep the coachee motivated and to check on their progress.


CLEAR is a coaching model similar to GROW developed by Peter Hawkins in the early 80s. It’s very popular in leadership coaching and executive coaching. What sets it apart from other coaching models is that it aims to transpire deep changes and is not merely goal-focused.

It also focuses on helping the client make an emotional connection with the change that’s about to take place by prompting them to imagine how they’ll feel once they’ve reached their goal.

CLEAR stands for:

C-Contract: On your first session, set the ground rules of your collaboration. This includes all the formalities, like the meeting frequency and duration of each session, and also the end goal of the program. At the beginning of each session, you should ask the client what they want to discuss and where they would like to focus on.

L-Listen: Next, ask the client questions relevant to the session’s desired goal and listen to what the client has to say. The client should monopolize the conversation, freely sharing their thoughts and feelings. The role of the coach at this stage is to initiate the conversation and guide it with open-ended questions. The coach needs to practice active listening, with no judgment.

E-Explore: Encourage the client to further analyze their current situation and their emotions. This will help the client realize how the situation they’re in is truly affecting them and start considering their options to get out of it.

A-Action: Help the client decide on a set of steps that will bring them closer to their desired situation. Ask them to imagine their feelings while they’re in the process of realizing these steps. At this point, it’s good to push for some accountability. When are they going to start working on their goal, and how?

R-Review: Before wrapping up your session, ask the client if they feel that the session has successfully met its goals. Go over the key points you’ve discussed and the progress you’ve made, as well as the action the client has promised to take.


The STEPPPA model was created by coach Dr. Angus McLeod. STEPPPA recognizes that emotions play a significant role in attaining goals and uses them to motivate the coachee to act toward their goal.

STEPPPA stands for:

S-Subject: Identify the subject of the coaching sessions. It’s not time to identify the goal yet – you only want to get an idea of where the issue lies and what you’re trying to work on. The client needs to provide you with context so that you’re fully aware of their current situation and how they feel about it.

T-Target: Define the target, i.e., the goal of the coaching. It’s your job as a coach to determine whether the desired goal is realistic. If the client has no specific goal in mind, you need to help them set one. If the goal is not realistic, consider other options available.

E-Emotions: Analyze the emotions involved. Negative emotions will not work favorably in achieving the desired goals. It’s essential to steer the client toward positive emotions and figure out ways to ignite their motivation.

P-Perception: At this stage, ask questions that will help the client view the subject and the target from a wider perspective. Help them see how their goal fits in their life and how it may affect others too.

P-Plan: Discuss a plan to reach the goal, considering again whether both the goal and the plan are feasible. The steps of the plan should be clearly laid out and easy to follow. The client shouldn’t have to make unforeseen choices along the way, so they can focus on the road ahead.

P-Pace: Set a timeline for the plan and break it into milestones. Breaking the plan into milestones practically means setting smaller goals. Small goals are easy to reach and can therefore keep the client motivated and focused.

A-Action/Adapt: At this point, review the plan to decide whether it’s doable. Make sure the client is happy with it and eager to follow suit. Make any changes necessary before the client commits to taking action.


The award-winning OSCAR model was created in 2002 by Andrew Gilbert and Karen Whittleworth to help leaders adopt a coaching style for training their teams. It focuses more on the solution and less on the problem.

Let’s meet OSCAR:

O-Outcome: The first step is to focus on the client and the goal they want to reach.

S-Situation: Next, you need to help the client evaluate and realize their current situation, as well as their skills and abilities. You should also address the client’s current feelings.

C-Choices: Next, see how the client can get closer to their SMART goals. Explore the alternatives, weighing the pros and cons.

A-Action: Create a plan of action. The plan should be challenging enough but not too difficult to stick to.

R-Review: Schedule regular check-ins with the client to review their progress and make sure they stick to the action plan.


OSKAR is another goal-focused model developed by Paul Z Jackson and Mark McKergow.

Let’s meet OSCAR’s (not so) evil twin, OSKAR:

O-Outcome: What does your client want to achieve from the session and in the long run? What is their ideal scenario?

S-Scaling: Next, ask the client where they are in relation to their goal, using a scale from 1 to 10. Remind the client that they don’t always need to reach 10; instead, they should be honest about how far they can go.

K-Know-how: This step is closely related to the previous one. Now the client must think deeply and honestly about their skills, traits, and other factors that will help them achieve their goals. They should also consider people and resources that can assist them in that.

A-Affirm and Action: At this point, you need to reiterate and confirm what the client has come up with. Show the client you trust their abilities and pinpoint the things they’re been doing well so far. Next, help them choose how they will move forward.

R-Review: In this model, the review takes place at the beginning of the following session and it aims to reflect on the steps the client has taken and evaluate the results.


Another coaching model similar to GROW, the CIGAR coaching model stands out as it’s the only coaching model that focuses on reality vs possibility. It was developed in 2003 by Suzy Green and Anthony Grant.

This is what to expect when trying CIGAR:

C-Current reality: In the first step, you clarify the current situation/reality of your client. By doing so, you will also spot the “problem,” something in this reality that is not quite what they wanted.

I-Ideal: Next, you ask your client to imagine themselves living in their ideal reality. This is different from asking them to say what their ideal reality is. What you’re looking for is not “I want to be a successful team leader. ” Instead, you want them to paint a picture. They should say something like “I am a successful team leader. I walk into the office every day feeling proud of my team and eager to take on new challenges.”

G-Gaps: What’s keeping your client from their ideal reality? Why are they not the successful team leader they want to be? Help them identify the gaps they need to overcome to make their ideal reality…a reality.

A-Action: Decide on the best course of action to remove the gaps and bring the client closer to their ideal reality. The client should commit to taking specific steps and reaching small goals.

R- Review: After the client has taken action, get together to evaluate the results. How have their actions contributed to their plan?

Coaching Wheels

A coaching wheel (also known as “wheel of life”) is a versatile and effective self-assessment tool you can use during your first coaching session to measure and document the client’s satisfaction with the most important areas in their lives. These usually include family, emotional well-being, finances, work/life balance, etc.

Using a coaching wheel, you will be able to:

Here’s how it works:

Don’t hesitate to use the wheel of life even if it doesn’t seem relevant to your niche. Getting a round view of your client’s life will help you uncover hidden roadblocks or driving forces, both of which play a pivotal role in personal and professional development.

What you Should Consider When Choosing a Coaching Model

Now, it’s time to ask a few questions to yourself before you choose a coaching model.

The type of coaching you provide plays a significant role in determining the coaching model you’ll follow. In life coaching, for example, which promotes personal development, the client’s feelings and thoughts are a priority. Therefore, you need to choose a model that focuses on emotions, like STEPPPA. This model is also a good match for fitness and health coaching. For career coaching, a model with a hands-on and dynamic approach would be more effective. You can go with GROW, CIGAR, or something more aggressive like OSCAR.

You need to find the coaching style that matches your own personality and beliefs. To inspire trust in your client, you need to believe in what you’re doing and be yourself. For example, if you’re a firm believer of positive reinforcement, working with OSKAR will come naturally to you.

Your client’s personality and needs should also be a factor in your decision. Although you’re the one leading the process, you can’t ignore your client’s preferences either. All the coaching models we’ve seen today suggest scheduling frequent meetings for review, which includes asking whether the whole way the coaching program has been structured is working for the client. If at any point the client expresses dissatisfaction with the results, don’t hesitate to revisit your approach and focus on what the client needs most.

At the end of the day, it’s not necessary to follow a coaching model. Experienced coaches often have developed their own coaching style and know how to get their clients where they want to be without following a predefined process.

Which Coaching Model Are You Going To Pick?

No matter which coaching model you decide to go with, remember these four key takeaways:

Following these practices will help you successfully guide your clients on their journey to become a better version of themselves and reach their goals.

By building an online course with LearnWorlds to complement your coaching program, you’ll be able to offer integrated coaching packages to your clients that will set you apart.

Create eBooks, host webinars, and share podcasts and videos; schedule online meetings that don’t disrupt your client’s program via Zoom or Webex. You can even build a mobile app where your clients will access all these amazing resources on the go.

Are you ready to offer your clients the best coaching platform experience?

Your professional looking Academy in a few clicks

Start FREE Trial

Further reading you might find interesting:

(Visited 3,553 times, 1 visits today)
Androniki Koumadoraki Content Writer LearnWorlds
Androniki Koumadoraki

Androniki is a Content Writer at LearnWorlds sharing Instructional Design and marketing tips. With solid experience in B2B writing and technical translation, she is passionate about learning and spreading knowledge. She is also an aspiring yogi, a book nerd, and a talented transponster.