Level Up Your Coaching: How the CLEAR Coaching Model Works

clear coaching model

Do you find it challenging to navigate the complexities of coaching models for your practice? 

You’re not alone.

Even experienced coaches often grapple with finding an approach that is both effective and comprehensive.

But here’s some good news: the CLEAR coaching model might just be the solution you’ve been looking for! 

This transformative framework aims to simplify the coaching process while maintaining a strong emotional connection with your clients.

Stay tuned as we explore the ins and outs of the CLEAR model and how it can revolutionize your coaching practice. Keep reading to learn more about:

  • What the CLEAR coaching model is
  • The benefits of using the CLEAR coaching model
  • When to use the CLEAR model of coaching

What Is the CLEAR Coaching Model?

clear coaching model

Based on research, life coaching significantly improves the well-being of most clients who take part in it, particularly in areas such as reduced anxiety and depression. For example, life coaching can help decrease anxiety levels by 57.1% and depression levels by 44.3%!

Coaching can be a tough job, yet by having the right tools, you have the potential to make a big difference in your clients’ lives. 

One tool that can make a difference is the CLEAR coaching model. 

Developed by Professor Peter Hawkins in the 1980s, it helps structure coaching sessions to get better results.

So, what does CLEAR stand for?

It’s an acronym for Contracting, Listening, Exploring, Action, and Review.

Each step plays a crucial role in the coaching process.

  • Contracting: Establish what the client wants to achieve.
  • Listening: Actively listen to the client’s perspective.
  • Exploring: Delve deeper into potential options and solutions.
  • Action: Formulate a plan based on insights gained.
  • Review: Periodically review progress towards goals.

Using this methodical approach can help create clarity around each stage of the process, ensuring that nothing gets lost in the translation between coach and client.

A real-world example: Using CLEAR in your sessions

Let’s say, Jane, a budding entrepreneur, seeks help from her life coach Mike using the CLEAR methodology.

  1. Jane shares her goal with Mike. She wants to become a public speaker at live events. (Contracting)
  2. Mike attentively listens as Jane talks about the challenges she faces. She’s shy in front of audiences and doesn’t have a strong network to get speaking opportunities. (Listening)
  3. Together, they brainstorm possible strategies to overcome these hurdles. (Exploring)
  4. They decide on action steps, including attending networking events and improving public speaking skills. (Action)
  5. After a few weeks, they review the progress made so far and make necessary adjustments if required. For example, Jane may struggle to break the ice in networking events, so Mike could give her specific strategies to do so. (Review)

Instead of going with the flow, coaches that use the CLEAR model can proactively review their clients’ progress and take action as needed!

Benefits of Using the CLEAR Coaching Model

The CLEAR coaching model is an innovative approach to life coaching that can bring significant benefits for both the coach and the client. 

Here are some key advantages:

Increased clarity and focus

Using a CLEAR coaching model promotes clarity and focus to achieve a client’s desired outcomes. 

It provides a structured framework for coaching sessions, ensuring that each stage of the process is clearly defined.

Clients can gain more insight into their objectives and strategies to reach them by:

  • Defining aims
  • Overcoming hindrances
  • Surveying alternatives 
  • Formulating action plans

Improved goal-setting and achievement

The CLEAR model facilitates effective goal setting by helping clients articulate their aspirations explicitly, letting them have a clear vision of what they want to accomplish.

As the name implies, it encourages your clients to get “clear” on what they want. And when they know where the goal post is, it’ll be much easier for you to support them to get there!

Better communication between coach and client

This method fosters improved communication as it emphasizes open dialogue throughout each stage of the coaching process. 

Coaches using the CLEAR model ask probing questions that encourage clients to reflect deeply on their thoughts, feelings, and aspirations. 

For instance, you can ask:

  • How would you make your goal more measurable so that it’s clear when you’ve achieved it?
  • What have you tried that worked/didn’t work?
  • If you had unlimited time and money wasn’t an issue, what would you do?

By creating a safe and non-judgmental space, you let your clients become more comfortable expressing themselves.

When to Use the CLEAR Model of Coaching

The CLEAR model is a versatile tool that is not limited to specific situations or problems, making it an excellent choice for life coaches who work with clients facing diverse challenges. 

Let’s delve into some instances where using the CLEAR coaching model could prove beneficial.

1. When clients lack clarity

If your client is struggling with confusion about their goals or path forward, the CLEAR coaching model can help bring clarity and focus to their journey. 

For instance, I once had a client who didn’t understand where email marketing fit into her business ecosystem. And we couldn’t figure that out until we knew exactly what goals she was aiming for.

After figuring out specific numbers and figures she wanted to achieve (contracting, listening, and exploring), we were able to work backwards from there and build out specific Actions to take with her emails. 

And once the email launch was over, we were able to Review the results and see what needed improvement for her next launch.

By working through each step – Contracting, Listening, Exploring, Action, and Review – you’ll guide them towards identifying what they truly want and devising a plan to achieve it.

2. During goal-setting sessions

The CLEAR approach shines during goal-setting sessions as well. 

It provides a structured framework that encourages detailed exploration of goals from different angles: 

  • What does success look like? 
  • How can one recognize the attainment of an objective? 
  • What steps are needed to get there?

Success is such a vague concept, which is why it’s important to clarify what it looks like for each client you work with.

3. In times of transition

Clients going through significant transitions – like career changes or personal transformations – can greatly benefit from this method too. 

Let’s say you have a client who’s moving across the country. What would a successful move look like? And what would failure feel like? 

The CLEAR coaching model offers a systematic way for them to navigate these shifts by establishing new objectives aligned with their changing needs and goals.

A real-world example:

Let’s say you’re working with Alex, a mid-level manager feeling stuck in his current role but unsure about his next move. 

Using the CLEAR method would look something like this:

  • Contracting: You’d start by discussing Alex’s expectations for your partnership and agreeing on how both parties will contribute towards achieving his desired outcomes.
  • Listening: Next comes active listening, where you pay close attention to what Alex says and non-verbal cues revealing deeper feelings or concerns he might not articulate directly.
  • Exploring: This stage involves probing further into Alex’s thoughts about potential career paths – asking open-ended questions that encourage him to consider possibilities he hadn’t previously contemplated.
  • Action: Once Alex has gained more clarity around his future direction, you’ll create an action plan detailing specific steps he needs to take toward realizing those ambitions.
  • Review: In subsequent sessions (or at agreed intervals), you’ll review progress against the action plan, adjusting as necessary based on evolving insights/conditions.

Remember though – the effectiveness of any coaching technique depends largely on its application rather than merely understanding its theory.

This means you may not be perfect at the CLEAR coaching model right away. 

Consider practicing with your family and friends before you incorporate this model into your own coaching business!


Why is the CLEAR model important?

The CLEAR coaching model provides structure to coaching conversations, ensuring all relevant areas are covered and facilitating goal-oriented discussions.

Who developed the CLEAR coaching model?

The CLEAR coaching model was developed by Peter Hawkins and has contributed significantly to systemic team-coaching models.

What makes a good coaching model?

A good coaching model offers clarity, structure, and direction while promoting self-discovery, accountability, and action planning in clients.

We’ve gathered five of the best coaching models in this post if you want to explore more examples!

Level Up Your Coaching Business Using the CLEAR Coaching Model

A CLEAR coaching model can help clients succeed, and credible sources back up its effectiveness.

Now that you’ve read about how the CLEAR coaching model can greatly impact your clients’ lives, why not apply it in your coaching practice?

This structured approach benefits both you and the client, providing accountability, goal setting, and improved communication while building a positive relationship based on trust and respect.

As a coach who’s always on the go helping your clients achieve their goals, you may need help running your coaching business and escaping the admin overwhelm. 

If that’s the case, why not try Paperbell for free? We developed Paperbell specifically for coaches who want to simplify the way they run their business. Claim your free account today!

clear coaching model
By Charlene Boutin
Charlene is an email marketing and content strategy coach for small business owners and freelancers. Over the past 5 years, she has helped and coached 50+ small business owners to increase their traffic with blog content and grow their email subscribers.
July 24, 2023

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