The World of Work Project

The ACHIEVE Coaching Model: A Simple Summary

The ACHIEVE® coaching model is a solution focused model with seven steps: Assess current situation, Creative brainstorm alternatives to current situation, Hone goals, Initiate option generation, Evaluation options, Valid action plan design and Encourage Momentum.

Summary by The World of Work Project

Coaching

Coaching is a hugely helpful skill for leaders and managers in the world of work. It’s a great way to help team members develop or for behavior change. It’s particularly when combined with feedback and reinforcement. You can learn more about how to coach and the benefits of coaching in this podcast.

The Achieve Coaching Model

There are many different solution focused, mnemonic coaching models designed to help coach identify and achieve a goal. While the most famous of these models is perhaps the GROW model, another useful model is the ACHIEVE Coaching Model, which is basically a slightly expanded and re-ordered GROW model.

The ACHIEVE model has seven steps: Assess current situation, Creative brainstorm alternatives to current situation, Hone goals, Initiate options, Evaluation options, Valid action plan design and Encourage Momentum. It’s a useful model in the world of work.

Someone on a hill demonstrating "achieve" as in the Achieve Coaching Model
Some coaches sell lifestyles and say anything is achievable is you believe enough. We’re not so sure…

Of course, while this is a useful model for a coach, manager or leader to use in conversation with an individual, it’s also a thought process that anyone can simply follow on their own.

Assess Current Situation

The first stage of the ACHIEVE Coaching Model is focused on developing an understanding of the current state. The logic is that you can’t understand where you want to get to, if you don’t know where you are right now.

Some questions you might ask as a coach at this stage include: What’s happening in your work at the moment? What’s the current situation? How does it feel? What’s working well for you at the moment? What challenges do you face? What would you like to be different? What needs to change for you to be happy?

Creatively Brainstorm Alternatives

Having established what the current state is, the second stage of this model is designed to help a coachee start to think about potential alternatives. This is a gentle way to help people explore the idea that things could be different, and start to decide how they would like things to be different.

It’s not always easy to imagine alternative futures on your own.

Some questions you might ask as a coach at this stage include: How could the situation be different? What could you change? How might you change yourself to modify the situation? How might others change to modify the situation? What alternative outcomes are there?

Hone Goals

Once the coachee starts to develop an understanding of how things could be different, the third stage of the ACHIEVE Coaching Model helps them start to refine how they would like things to be different and to define the goals that they would like to work towards.

Some questions you might ask as a coach at this stage include: What would you like to achieve? What are your goals in relation to the situation? What specifically would you like to work towards? What are your objectives? When would you like to achieve them? What will success look like? What building blocks for success do you need? Can you break your goals down? How will you measure progress?

Initiate option generation

A chessboard with many options, demonstrating the I from the Achieve Coaching Model
What moves can you make?

The third stage of Achieve Coaching Model is to initiate option generation.

Now that the coachee know both where they are at the moment, and where they would like to get to, the next stage of the model helps them start to explore how to bridge the gap. This stage is about with coming up with potential things they could do, options that may help them achieve their goals. Options should not be assessed at this stage, simply collated.

Some questions you might ask as a coach at this stage include: What are your options to achieve those goals? How could you achieve you goals? What other ways you could achieve your goals? What else could you do to achieve your goals? How could other people help you achieve your goals? If you had more time how would you achieve your goals?

Evaluation Options

Once the coachee has identified several options that may help them achieve their goal, they should evaluate them and determine which ones, or one, they wish to pursue.

Some questions you might ask as a coach at this stage include: What are the benefits of each of your options? What are the risks? Which option is the easiest to implement? Of your options, which has the highest benefits? Which one just feels right to you? How do you feel about each of your options? Which option would you most like to have looked back on having completed?

Valid Action Plan Design

By this stage the coachee should have a fairly clear view of which options they plan to pursue to help them achieve their goal. The next thing they need to do is to add depth to the option, bring it to live and plan the sub-steps and actions they’ll need to complete to help them achieve their goal.

Some questions you might ask as a coach at this stage include: Given your option choice, what steps do you need to take to achieve it? What else can you do to make it come true? What’s the first step you need to take? What’s the second? When will you start this process? Will anyone help you do this? Who do you need to speak to about this? How will you track your progress?

A plan representing a valid plan from the Achieve Coaching Model
To reach a destination you need a plan as well as a vision.

Encourage Momentum

The last stage of the Achieve Coaching Model is to encourage momentum.

While having a clear understanding of your current state, a vision of where you want to get to and a clear plan of how to get there is great, it might not always be enough. People are emotional beings, and sometimes a little encouragement and momentum is needed to help us achieve our goals. Coaches have a role to play in this, as to do leaders and managers.

Following the coaching session it may be worth staying in touch with the coachee and encouraging them gently with questions including: How are you progressing with your actions? What progress have you been making? What’s the next thing on your action plan? What’s been your biggest achievement so far? What’s next on your action plan? How does it feel to be making progress?

Learning More About Coaching

In other posts we have written briefly about the ABCDE, CLEAR, GROW, OSKAR and POSITIVE coaching models. In addition, we’ve written about coaching wheels that can be helpful in personal and executive coaching.

If you’d like to learn what it’s like being or becoming a coach, you might enjoy this podcast:

The World of Work Project View

The The ACHIEVE Coaching Model is a perfectly helpful coaching model for use in the workplace, even if it’s been rather forced into its mnemonic. It covers all the key points that a coaching conversation should cover, it helps a coachee find their own path and own their actions and it’s fairly action focused.

It’s very similar to the GROW model, just with a bit more structure and detail. One of the benefits of the ACHIEVE model over the GROW model is the last stage which focuses on encouraging momentum.

Despite this, we would recommend that those new to coaching start with the GROW model before progressing onto the ACHIEVE model.

Sources and further reading

Where possible we always recommend that people read up on the original sources of information and ideas.

This post about the ACHIEVE® coaching model is based on work by Sabine Dembkowski and Fiona Eldridge.

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