5 Simple Steps to Implementing the CLEAR Coaching Model

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

The CLEAR coaching model is a structured approach emphasizing Contracting, Listening, Exploring, Action, and Review to facilitate practical coaching sessions.

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.

This systematic approach can help clarify 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 solid 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. (Review)

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

3 Benefits of Using the CLEAR Coaching Model

The CLEAR coaching model is an innovative approach to life coaching that can benefit both the coach and the client. 

Here are some advantages of the CLEAR coaching model that you might appreciate.

1. Increased Clarity and Focus

The CLEAR coaching model promotes clarity and focus to achieve the client’s desired outcomes. 

It provides a structured framework for coaching sessions, ensuring that each process stage 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

2. Improved Goal-Setting and Achievement

The CLEAR model facilitates effective goal setting by helping clients articulate their aspirations explicitly. Doing this allows them to clearly envision what they want to accomplish.

As the name implies, it encourages clients to get “clear” on what they want. When they know where the goalpost is, it’ll be much easier for you to support them in reaching it.

3. Better Communication Between Coach and Client

This method fosters improved communication by emphasizing open dialogue throughout each stage of the coaching process. 

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

For instance, you can ask:

  • How would you make your goal more measurable so 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?

Creating a safe and non-judgmental space lets your clients become more comfortable expressing themselves.

When to Use the CLEAR Coaching Model

The CLEAR model is a versatile tool 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 clients are struggling with defining their goals and how they should move forward, the CLEAR coaching model can help bring understanding and focus to them. 

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

After defining specific numbers and figures she wanted to achieve (Contracting, Listening, and Exploring), we could work backward from there and build out specific Actions to take with her emails. 

After the email launch, we could review the results and see what needs improvement for her next launch.

By working through each step in the CLEAR model, you’ll help your clients identify what they truly want and devise a plan to achieve it.

2. During Goal-Setting Sessions

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

It provides a step-by-step 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 a vague concept, so it’s essential to clarify what it means for each client.

3. In Times of Transition

This method can also greatly benefit clients going through significant transitions, such as career changes or personal transformations. 

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.

Let’s look at another example: You’re working with Alex, a mid-level manager who feels stuck in his current role but is unsure about his next move. 

Using the CLEAR method in this case 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 his 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 and conditions.

Remember, the effectiveness of any coaching technique depends mainly on its application rather than merely understanding its theory.

This means you may not be perfect at using the CLEAR coaching model immediately.

Consider practicing with your family and friends (with their consent) before you incorporate this model with your clients.


Why is the CLEAR Model Important?

Like many other coaching models, the CLEAR model provides structure to coaching conversations and helps facilitate effective, goal-oriented discussions.

Unlike other similar coaching models, the CLEAR model emphasizes active listening. It encourages coaches to listen attentively and understand the client’s goals, challenges, and opportunities for growth before jumping into finding solutions.

Who Developed the CLEAR Coaching Model?

The CLEAR coaching model was developed in the early 1980s by Peter Hawkins, about a decade before the now well-known GROW model. It 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

Now that we’ve explored some CLEAR coaching model examples, why not try it out in your practice? The next time your client is feeling stuck, or you need a little more structure for your session, try leading them through the five steps of Contracting, Listening, Exploring, Action, and Review.

While you’re busy helping your clients achieve clarity, Paperbell takes care of the admin side of your business.

It’s an all-in-one client management tool that handles bookings, payments, contracts, and more. Try Paperbell now for free with your first client.

clear coaching model

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in July 2023 and has since been updated for accuracy.

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.
June 4, 2024

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