In coaching it’s not always the best approach to focus on issues and root causes. That’s where the OSKAR coaching model comes in. It is a framework designed to get the coachee past the problem and to turn their focus to working out solutions.
Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.Timothy Gallwey
What is a Coaching Model?
Coaching is a process targeted at improving performance, strengthening skills and behaviors. Coaching is helping the coachee learn how to perform through sharing best practices and repetition.
With this in mind, coaching is not a skill we are born with. It is something that’s learned and developed over time. Therefore, coaching models have been designed as a framework or strategy to help guide the coach and coachee through the coaching process to the result.
It can be confusing to decide which model fits your coaching situation. Because not all coaching models are the same, we will take time to review the particulars of a solution focused coaching model, the OSKAR coaching model, and how it works.
The OSKAR Coaching Model Defined
The OSKAR coaching model was developed by Mark McKergow and Paul Z. Jackson. The model was published in the 2002 book The Solutions Focus: Making Coaching and Change Simple and makes a great read if you want to understand more.
The OSCAR coaching model is a solution focused coaching model rather than focusing solely on the problem. This requires the coach to ask open-ended questions. The objective of these questions is to focus the coachees attention away from the problems and towards the desired outcomes.
Instead of discussing issues and their causes, the coaching session explores:
- The desired goals and end state.
- Behaviors that have led to success in the past.
- Potential solutions and the resources available.
How to Use the OSKAR Coaching Model
Since the OSKAR coaching model is a solution focused model, it is ideal for the coachee to focus on an outcome, not the problem. Coachees tend to center their attention on the issue. The OSKAR model will help the coach focus on actionable solutions.
The first step is to concentrate the coachee on the outcome. The outcome is the objective, goal, or solution needed for the situation you are addressing.
However, the result is not simply the responsibility of the coachee. The coach should help the coachee define the desired outcome.
Do they go one step more and understand why the coachee wants this outcome? Yes. You know the why to engage the coachee. Then agree on short and long-term objectives.
Here are some OSKAR coaching model example questions:
In the Scaling phase of the OSKAR model, the coach asks the coachee to assess their proficiency in the behavior or skill. It is a subjective method to uncover where the coachee believes they rate now on the scale of 0-10.
As an example, steps in the scaling process look like this:
- In the first coaching session, have the coachee assess where they are on the scale about the behavior or skill in question.
- Identify what’s going well that has them at that rating. This will allow the coach to leverage that into more outstanding performance.
- At the end of the session, have the coachee gauge where they rate. You want to see an increase in ranking after session one.
- Then identify where they want to scale or rank by the next session.
Here are example questions that can be used to uncover the coachees thoughts on where they rate:
Know-How and Resources
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Once you know what works, do more of it.
If it’s not working, do something different.de Shazer and Berg, 1995
During the Know-How step of the OSKAR coaching technique, tap into the coachees’ resources, existing knowledge, skillset, and successes.
How have they demonstrated this skill in the past? How can their network and the coach leverage their experiences to advise the coachee? The goal is to leverage existing best practices.
Here are example questions that can be used to identify the coachees existing knowledge base and resources:
Affirm and Action
Affirm is where the coach focuses on what behaviors and skills work well for the coachee. Additionally, it centers your attention on the issues to be solved. What skills or behaviors need to change, and how to make that change or enhancement?
Action is about finding the following steps to build on what is working. It is also about focusing on efforts to solve the identified issues.
The coach will use statements and questions to affirm positive behaviors and then questions for actions or next steps.
Example questions are:
During the review step, identify what has improved, and look at what needs to happen next to improve even further. Use scaling to understand how the rating of the skill/behavior has changed since the last coaching session.
This process should emphasize the positives or successful outcomes as these are leveraged skills. The coach wants to see and build on whatever is working.
Questions that can be used during the review phase are:
Benefits and Weaknesses of the OSKAR Coaching Model
The OSKAR coaching model focuses on solutions by way of collaboration and focusing on what is going well. Executed well, the framework garners rewards. Notwithstanding, the model is not without its weaknesses.
|Positive focus leads to increased motivation for the coachee
|Can spend too much time on affirmations and lose sight of the solution
|Best practice encouragement and repetition leads to sustained results
|The outcome can get lost in the dialogue and the continuous rating (scaling, affirmation, and reviews)
|Focus on the know-how of success creates motivation
|Solutions focus empowers the coachee
OSKAR for the Win
As we’ve discussed, the OSKAR coaching model allows the coach to focus on solutions rather than problems. Overall, it is a collaborative, engaging coaching process that can be the right approach in many situations.
Check out some of the other coaching models to find the right one for your situation.