The STEPPA coaching model focuses on the role of emotions in coaching. It is used when difficult emotions need to be overcome. It can be used in one-on-one coaching or mentoring conversations. The STEPPA coaching model has six phases: Subject, Target Identification, Emotion, Perception, Plan/Pace, and Action.
The STEPPA coaching model was developed by Dr. Angus McLeod. The model is documented in the book Performance Coaching.
What is the STEPPA Coaching Model?
The STEPPA coaching model is a framework for coaching that incorporates the coachees emotions into the equation. Emotions are the biggest motivators and de-motivators and will impact performance. If we ignore them, we may be misled about the achievability of the coachee’s goals. Now let’s review each phase of the STEPPA model.
Coachees bring a variety of issues and goals, sometimes planned, others often arising
during the coaching itself. The coachee is encouraged to start the conversation. The coach will ask them about their goal or the subject of concern. This acts as the aim of the conversation. If the conversation strays, the conversation will be redirected back.
The coach can help the coachee open up by asking questions such as:
- What would you like to discuss?
- Is there an area you would like to focus on?
- Are there any concerns?
Often the coachee shares a goal that they’re having difficulty motivating themselves to achieve. The coach can help the coachee set SMART goals.
If the coachee has not established a goal, the coach can use open-ended questions to help them identify the desired goal.
Questions that can be used during this phase are:
- What would you like to be the outcome of this session?
- When do you plan to achieve your current goals?
- What are your long-term goals?
Emotion can be the most important motivator or de-motivator for a coachee. And it is most often ignored by coaches and mentors. Emotions can make a coachee believe they cannot achieve a reasonable goal. As a coach, determine if the emotion is impeding goal progress. Understand if the coachee can get past the emotion. If they can overcome it, set the goal. If they cannot overcome it, set a new goal.
To better understand the coachee motivation and emotion, the coach can use the following questions:
- How motivated are you to reach this goal?
- On a scale of 1-10, how much do you want this goal?
- What specifically excites you about this goal?
- When you achieve this goal, how will you feel?
The objective is to make the coachee more aware of their situation and goals. Help broaden their view so they see their surroundings and how achievement of the goal will impact the grand scheme of things.
Once the coachee is thinking more comprehensively, it will be easier to brainstorm various options to achieve the goal.
Questions to help the coachee think through options are:
- How do you feel about the current situation?
- What have you already tried?
- Are you leveraging your strengths?
- How can you leverage your strengths?
- Is your goal what you need now?
- What other choices can be make?
The coach will help the coachee plan achievement of the goal using SMART goals.
During this phase, the coach’s objective is to help guide the coachee through creating their own plan. The coach should ensure the goal is measurable and achievable. Check that the coachee understands and documents all steps necessary in the process.
Additionally, the coach will review the milestones and timeline with the coachee. Look to see that milestones are close enough and often enough to be realistic and celebrated. The more often the coachee can celebrate success, the better the motivation.
To help the coachee craft SMART goals, the coach can use the following questions:
- Can you tell me about the next step in the process?
- How will the options you have chosen to move you closer to the goal?
- What are the most logical next steps?
- Timeline for progress?
- How will you measure progress?
During this phase, the coach will review the plan. If it looks thorough, the coach works with the coachee to gain their commitment to achieving the goal and completing the plan. Check the emotional commitment to ensure the right level of motivation to goal achievement.
Questions to use during this phase are:
- What have you learned so far?
- Do you see anything that needs to be adjusted?
- What barriers are still ahead of you?
The STEPPA coaching model is a coaching framework like others. The difference is that it highlights the role of emotions during the coaching session. In contrast, the GROW coaching model focuses on the process.
When to Use the STEPPA Coaching Model
How do coaches know when to use the STEPPA coaching model? It is commonly used when it is necessary to overcome a difficult moment in which there are many emotions. Remember, the STEPPA coaching model is a problem-solving framework. It is used when emotions and tensions are high, and a goal needs to be met.
Types of Coaching Situations
STEPPA, like the GROW model, is a map to goal setting. STEPPA is the right coaching model to use when there are emotions that are holding the coachee back from realizing or achieving their goal.
The STEPPA coaching model can be used in a business setting by managers/leaders in one-on-one coaching sessions. It can also be used by mentors, business coaches, or life coaches. This model can be used in goal-setting sessions when there is a motivator or emotion that is in the way and needs to be explored.
Because STEPPA focuses so heavily on emotions and perceptions, this model is best used by advanced coaches. Advanced coaches have experienced a wide range of coaching situations and are able to see the big picture. They can uncover and interpret underlying emotions and adjust questioning to that situation. These coaches have advanced open-ended questioning skills that are useful when using STEPPA.
Newer Coaches have limited experience delving into the quagmire that is emotions. Newer coaches should become proficient in using coaching models such as GROW model, IGROW, and SMART Goal setting. Additionally, practicing active listening skills and the use of open-ended questioning versus leading questions will start to prepare the newer coach for advanced coaching sessions.
Understand Emotion and Achieve the Goal
Use the STEPPA coaching model in goal setting when you need to account for the coachees emotions and motivations. Help them set SMART goals with achievable milestones to retain their motivation.
Explore more of the best coaching models in our ultimate guide including: