Coaching models

I am often asked for book recommendations on my coaching and mentoring courses so I thought I’d take a look at this one on coaching models. It’s stuffed full of useful models so I’d recommend it to experienced coaching practitioners. But as coaching (and counselling) skills are important in establishing a relationship I’ve included some other book references below to address those areas. Book review – Key Coaching Models by Stephen Gribben (and other coaching books).

Book review – Key coaching models

As a reference source, this is an excellent book. Organised around six areas – management core, leadership core, results-driven coaching, coaching for greater influence, leadership and high-performance coaching. It’s packed with tools and techniques to provide a source of inspiration and structure to experienced coaches. Naturally, being about coaching it is focused on what questions to ask to help raise awareness and assist people in developing their own options, solutions and actions.

It describes each technique (most of which are unattributed), talks about when it is appropriate to use and provides a short step-by-step guide on application. As you would expect, there’s a strong emphasis on emotional intelligence (EQ) – particularly the control of emotions. There are strong psychological underpinnings of most of the material and sometimes it strays into counselling territory. I detected a lot of material from NLP too. There’s really good content for use in both management and leadership development and team coaching. I particularly liked the material on confidence and adaptability.

Other topics that are covered include: awareness, change, collaboration, conflict, diversity, goal-setting, influence, motivation, resilience and succession.

In some respects, there’s too much information in the book – so don’t try to read it from cover to cover as it is overwhelming in the number of models – over 70 (although there is a little repetition in some of them). Sometimes there is insufficient explanation about models or lists that are provided which may be off-putting for novices. At 275 pages it is a hefty book – and no doubt the reason that examples were omitted which would have helped a lot in some cases. I also wondered whether it was a bit too steeped in British culture.

Whilst there are lots of techniques, the book lacks insight into how to agree and establish a strong coaching relationship at the outset and also how to structure different sessions during the coaching relationship lifecycle. Apart from one accelerated learning model, there’s little on learning and reflection (see and which are fundamental to coaching. So I suspect you will need additional books and resources for these areas (see below).

Despite being an experienced coach I was reminded about a number of useful techniques that I haven’t used since my long-ago training. I appreciated the simplicity with which many models were presented and found a fair few more new ones that I could put into immediate use. There are some real nuggets buried in this book.

There are some interesting statistics from a PricewaterhouseCoopers study (2013) that showed the impact of professional coaching could be shown to directly impact:

  • Improvement in work performance (70%)
  • Business management (61%)
  • Time management (57%)
  • Team effectiveness (51%)


Part One – Developing the management core

Part Two – Developing the leadership core

Part Three – Results-driven coaching

Part Four – Coaching for greater influence

Part Five – Leadership coaching

Part Six – High-performance coaching

Other coaching books

Some of the other books that I found useful when learning coaching skills were as follows:

The manager as coach and mentor – Eric Parsloe

This is a really quick (90 pages) and simple read in the excellent CIPD Management Shapers series. It introduces coaching and mentoring in the workplace and the essential skills. There’s a nice simple process that is easy to follow and some simple techniques such as the practice spiral and the 3D problem solving approach. There are also simple coaching and mentoring competence assessments.

Coaching and mentoring: practical methods to improve learning – Eric Parsloe and Monika Wray

This book reviews the journey and different branches of coaching and then goes on to the main task of helping people learn how to learn. It introduces a range of coaching theories and practical approaches – including the famous GROW model. It explains the difference with mentoring and then looks in detail at feedback to build confidence and success, observant listening, asking the right questions and managing the relationship.

Coaching for performance – John Whitmore

This is probably the best known of the coaching guides. John Whitmore’s GROW model is well-established and has stood the test of time. I particularly like the extracts of real coaching conversations in this book. As well as the coaching process it covers effective questions, goal setting, developing options, choosing a path, performance, learning, motivation, feedback and team coaching.

Coaching and mentoring are quite different – Typically coaching is about process whereas mentoring can be more directive and involve more sharing of experience and knowledge. However, sometimes people confuse the two so I have included some good books on mentoring as well.

Mentoring in action – David Megginson and David Clutterbuck

I’ve worked with David and am a great fan of his work. He has been hugely influential in shaping the European mentoring scene too. This is a practical guide for managers. After a brief introduction to mentoring in action (establishing rapport, direction setting, progress making, moving on) it looks at organisation and individual case studies on topics as diverse as young offenders, students, travel counsellors, local authorities, older managers, minorities, graduate trainees and those with disabilities.

Mentoring executives and directors – David Clutterbuck and David Megginson

The first 20 pages or so introduce some key mentoring models but the bulk of the book is case studies from a variety of leading international figures and businesses.

Counselling books

Yes, I know that counselling is different to coaching but I am qualified in both. I believe that basic counselling skills – particularly those focused on developing a trusted relationship between the coach and person being coached – can be invaluable. The Humanistic principals can be deployed in all coaching relationships:

  1. Empathy
  2. Authenticity/Congruence
  3. Unconditional Positive Regard (UPR)

Psychological change – John Mayhew

Recently I reviewed a change management manual  which covers the basic models of psychology (humanistic, psychoanalysis, behaviourism and cognitive) but this is an earlier and easier read. It’s good for those with little experience of counselling and psychology.

Integrative Counselling Skills in Action – Sue Culley and Tim Bond

I like this book because it introduces the foundation skills of counselling and takes you through the life cycle of a therapeutic relationship – beginning (exploration, contracting and assessment), middle (reassessment and challenging) and ending (action and closure).

Person-Centred Counselling in action – Dave Mearns and Brian Thorne

This is a deeper dive in the Humanistic approach with lots of guidance on empathy, unconditional positive regard (UPR) and congruence. Like the Culley and Bond book it also takes you through the life cycle of the therapeutic relationship but from a purely Humanistic/person-centred approach rather than an integrated approach (i.e. there’s no psychotherapy or cognitive content).

Coaching courses and consultancy

And for those who are interested in coaching qualifications – I did my post-graduate diploma at OCM and was fortunate to have the late Eric Parsloe as my supervisor. I have also heard good things about the coaching and behavioural Masters degree at Henley

The next public introductory short coaching course – through the Professional Marketing Forum  – is scheduled for December 2017. But I have half and one day sessions that I produce for in-house delivery and can produce tailored sessions.

Details of my coaching services can be found here but please email me at for fact sheets on performance, management development, business development and career coaching services for senior and junior professionals and support staff.

For client use, I have developed a model which integrates the following: Client, Counselling, Coaching, Consulting, Changing ™. Let me know if you’d like further details.