Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their own performance. It is helping them learn rather than teaching them.Sir John Whitmore
The ACHIEVE coaching model was developed by Dembkowski, S., and Eldridge, F. in 2003. It was presented in the article Beyond GROW: A new coaching model. The model is a seven-step process built off the GROW coaching and development performance management model.
The ACHIEVE model is designed to create a more flexible coaching experience. It incorporates additional feedback loops with open-ended questions. The coach engages the coachee in the process. You may ask yourself, what is coaching, and why do we need coaching models?
What is a Coaching Model?
Simply put, coaching is a process to improve performance. Coaching is not a skill with which we are born. So, coaching models have been designed as a framework or strategy to help guide the coach and coachee to the result. There are several diverse coaching models. It can be confusing to decide which model fits your coaching situation.
Let’s review the ACHIEVE model and identify when to use this coaching and development model of performance management.
ACHIEVE Coaching Model: Beyond GROW
The GROW model is the most used and trained coaching model. The ACHIEVE Coaching model builds on the GROW model. The ACHIEVE model adds more collaboration and conversation during the coaching process.
According to a 2002 study conducted by the School of Coaching, 34% of participants used the GROW model for coaching. Another 33% used another coaching model. The last 33% did not know the coach’s model or did not use any coaching model.
Some studies indicate effective coaching will drive sustained behavior changes at a rate of 85% to 91%.
From the first step in the process, the coach using the ACHIEVE model is helping the coachee better understand their situation. They are challenging the coachee to dig deeper and uncover motivations and emotions around the problem. In the GROW model, you fast forward to goal setting and spend little time on open-ended questions to ascertain the actual situation.
When to Use the ACHIEVE Model
As a coach, if you are looking for more flexibility and feedback than the GROW model, the ACHIEVE model could be a good fit. Due to the nature of the model, the open-ended questions, and coachee participation, this model will increase trust in the partnership.
The coach/coachee team will spend more time in step one, assessing the situation to build rapport and trust. Next, let’s review the seven steps of the ACHIEVE coaching model.
ACHIEVE Coaching Model Steps
The ACHIEVE model has seven defined steps compared to the four in GROW. The additional steps are designed to bridge the gap between coachee participation and collaboration in goal setting. Another objective was taking coaching to the next level. Hence the further steps in the process.
Step 1: Assess Current Situation
The coach will use open-ended questions and active listening skills to build rapport. Additionally, this will better uncover the issue or situation during the first step.
The coach is working to increase the coachee’s self-awareness of their situation and reflect on how they got there.
For example, here are questions that the coach can use to help uncover the situation and issue:
- Tell me what is happening in your work now.
- What’s the current situation?
- Can you tell me what is working well for you currently?
- What challenges do you face?
- What would you like to be different?
Step 2: Creative Brainstorming of Alternatives to the Current Situation
The coachee may feel stuck or trapped in an endless loop without assistance. It can be challenging to see the forest for the trees when you are under stress. The coach will ask questions to help the coachee see the situation more broadly.
Here are example questions to help generate additional perspective and thoughts during the brainstorming session:
- How could you have handled the situation differently?
- Can you identify behaviors you can change to improve the situation?
- What are potential alternate outcomes?
- How will you handle this differently in the future?
Step 3: Hone Goals
Once the coach and coachee have thoroughly examined the situation (issue) and discovered what drove the coachee to this point, discuss potential goals.
What does a good job look like? How will it look, sound, and feel if the changes are made? What are the emotions surrounding these goal options? Once options have been drafted and aligned with the situation and feelings, begin crafting goals.
Go ahead and set clear goals from alternative solutions which evolved from this review. Begin thinking in terms of SMART goals.
Consider using a form of the following questions to help guide the coachee to these goals:
- What are your goals about the situation, and what would you like to accomplish?
- Specifically, what goal would you like to work toward?
- Can you define your objectives?
- Do you have a timeline in mind?
- Can you define success?
- Are you able to break the goals down into milestones?
- How will you measure progress?
Step 4: Initiate options
Focus on helping the coachee brainstorm multiple options. Coachee may focus on one option that is most comfortable for them.
Don’t let them become singularly focused. If this happens, they may miss an opportunity with better long-term potential.
More is better during this step. You will focus the coachee on the achievable and realistic next step.
Questions to be used during this step will look like the following:
- What options have you produced to achieve those goals?
- If you looked at the solution another way, what additional options could you use?
- How could other people help you accomplish your goals?
- Given more time, how would you attain your goals?
Step 5: Evaluate options
Don’t rush this step.
It would be easy for the coach to become impatient and lead the coachee during this evaluation.
Instead, assist the coachee by recommending they make a list of options. The coach will be able to help them synthesize and prioritize the list.
After they create the list, have them sit back and review it. Give them time to deliberate.
Questions the coach will use to help the coachee process the options
- Can you define the benefits of each option?
- Do you know the risks associated with each option?
- Which option has the highest intrinsic reward?
- Can you determine the option with the highest premium within your company?
Step 6: Valid Action Program Design
Using the SMART goal approach, the coach and coachee will draft goal(s) that are measurable and have timebound milestones. These milestones are essential for ongoing assessment and motivation.
The coach will assist the coachee in formulating the plan. This plan should incorporate a timetable and resources aligned to action items.
The coach can use this subset on questions to assist the coachee in writing the action plan:
- Can you define specific steps to achieve the goal?
- What are the first, second, and third steps?
- When are the start and end dates?
- What resources will each step require?
- How will you track progress to milestones and goals?
Step 7: Encourage Momentum
The final step of the ACHIEVE coaching model is to encourage momentum. This questioning and encouragement will begin at the start date and continue for each milestone.
The best practice is for the coach and coachee to use a calendar and task list to track the start, milestone, and end dates. It will be easier for each to know if the goal is on track.
Encouragement and acknowledgment at each step are central to maintaining motivation. It is too easy for a coachee to get discouraged during the process.
Check-ins, feedback, and encouragement will drive engagement and motivation.
Questions and feedback in the scenario when the milestones are on track, will look like this:
- How does it make you feel to be on target?
- What is going well, and how can you leverage this going forward?
- Can you tell me the barriers you are encountering?
- What progress have you made on the steps?
- Where are you on your action plan?
- What can I do to help move you forward?
If the coachee has not made progress and is not meeting the milestones, the coach should find a path to encourage headway.
The ACHIEVE coaching model provides transparency and flexibility in coaching. It is a coaching model that allows for individualization and collaboration. The coach and coachee tailor the goals to the coachee’s situation.
This is accomplished only after spending time discovering the actual underlying issues. As a result, this allows for a tailored SMART goal approach to problem-solving.
Pros and Cons of the ACHIEVE Coaching Model
Because of the seven-step approach, the ACHIEVE model is a more sustainable coaching model. The model elevates coaching and enhances coachee growth and performance.
The pros and cons of the model are:
|Self-Discovery||It does not explicitly address the sustainability of skillset development.|
|Development of coachee||More time consuming than GROW|
|Increased Commitment to goals|
ACHIEVE Performance Results
Concentrate on what will produce the results rather then on the results, focus on the process, not the prize.Bill Walsh
Finally, the ACHIEVE model is most useful when the coach wants the flexibility to lead the coachee through a discovery process for themselves. They will have the coachee assess their situation and explore how they go to this point. The coach will assist the coachee in creating options for a plan of action. The seven-step process allows for a better coaching experience for the coach and coachee.
Where to go from here?