The CLEAR Model

The GROW model for how to structure a coaching session is so widely used that its easy to forget that there might be other great models. So I was intrigued to come across the CLEAR model which provides a different perspective on what to focus on in a coaching session. The CLEAR model was developed by Peter Hawkins in the early 1980s and so pre-dates the GROW model. CLEAR is an acronym for:

  • Contracting: Opening the discussion, setting the scope, establishing the desired outcomes, and agreeing the ground rules.
  • Listening: Using active listening and catalytic interventions the coach helps the coachee develop their understanding of the situation and generate personal insight.
  • Exploring 1: Helping the coachee to understand the personal impact the situation is having on themselves. Exploring 2: Challenging the coachee to think through possibilities for future action in resolving the situation.
  • Action: Supporting the coachee in choosing a way ahead and deciding the next step.
  • Review: Closing the intervention, reinforcing ground covered, decisions made and value added. The coach also encourages feedback from the client on what was helpful about the coaching process, what was difficult and what they would like to be different in future coaching sessions

What I particularly like about this model is its top and tail. Firstly, it makes explicit the importance of not just having a goal (as does the GROW model) but also of the wider contracting issues, encouraging questions like "How would you like me to coach you today?", "What helps you learn?" and "What blocks your learning?". Secondly the CLEAR model emphasises the importance of reviewing the session. This is one of the most powerful tools we have for tuning our coaching to the evolving needs of our clients (Thank you Laura!). Its easy when using the GROW model to feel that when we have done the wrap-up (W) we're finished. Making reviewing the coaching effectiveness one of the basic steps, as the CLEAR model does, reinforces the value and importance of this stage. More on the CLEAR model in Coaching, Mentoring and Organisational Consultancy.