PRACTICE Model

PRACTICE Model Of Coaching

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The PRACTICE model, while broadly similar to several other solution oriented models. It  focuses on choices and alternatives rather than making the assumption that your coaching client will always come up with one perfect solution or course of action.

The Study Behind PRACTICE Model

D’Zurilla, Goldfried and Nezu developed a number of problem-solving methods that are well documented and have been applied to a wide range of issues and settings.

(D’Zurilla and Goldfried, 1971; D’Zurilla, 1986; D’Zurilla & Nezu, 1999). Wasik (1984)  described a simple seven-step problem-solving model that has been applied to the fields of counseling, psychotherapy, management, coaching and training. The steps are (Wasik, 1984):

  1. Problem identification
  2. Goal selection
  3. Generation of alternatives
  4. Consideration of consequences
  5. Decision making
  6. Implementation
  7. Evaluation

Palmer (2007) developed the PRACTICE model of coaching which is an adaptation of Wasik’s (1984) seven-step sequence. A key and important difference is that the PRACTICE framework includes solutionseeking and implementation methods based on solution focused practice (Jackson and McKergow, 2007; O’Connell and Palmer, 2007). 

For example, at the start of the first coaching meeting the coachee is given an opportunity to talk about him or herself without immediately focusing on their problem(s), issues or concerns thereby allowing the coach to learn more about them (O’Connell, 2003). During the coaching process the coach will draw attention to the coachee with any relevant examples of their competence, strengths and qualities and also build on ‘exceptions’ when the presenting problem or issue is less of a problem. Throughout the whole process of the coaching meeting, scaling questions are used to monitor where the coachee currently is, if progress is being made and what the coachee would need to do to improve the rating. 

Meaning of PRACTICE Word by Word

This is a model best used by experienced practitioners who are happy to give their clients a fairly free hand in building up the results scenario, and are happy just to offer the odd steering question to keep the conversation moving. 

[The source of the research is : Palmer, Stephen. (2008). The PRACTICE model of coaching: Towards a solution-focused approach. Coaching Psychology International. 1.]

P – Problem Identification 

Simply defining the problem or problems that are holding things up. The clearer the definition of the issue the easier it will be to find resolutions.

R – Realistic and Relevant Goals 

In other words, goals that will be achievable, and will work within the strictures of the business environment; in effect SMART goals.

A – Alternative Solutions Generated 

A free exploration of any and all possible solutions which will take the client to the goal previously identified. Don’t rush this element. The question; “and what else?” will come in very handy here. The more possible solutions found the better! At this step, there is opportunity to identify a range of creative solutions or different approaches previously considered. 

T – Target the Most Achievable Solution 

An examination of all the alternative solutions identified with a view to discarding those that are impractical, impossible or implausible.

I – Implementation of the…C – Chosen Solution

Chunking down the solution into bite size pieces in order to make simple steps forward. Breaking the steps down should be led by the coachee as they will be taking action.

The Chosen Solution is finding and testing the first step to take, defining a timeline, building in accountability…all the things a coach should be doing to ensure that positive action is actually taken; not just talked about.

E – Evaluation 

A review of how the process went and to what extent the goals have been reached or are on the way to being reached. A good time too to review how the client felt the interaction with the coach to have gone. 

Reviewing the success of the solution and process. Scaling used to gain a more quantitative measure form the coachee. An examination of what has been learnt and gained from the process for the coachee. What have they learnt about themselves, the situation and moving forward.

At this step the coach checks in to see if there is anything else the coachee wants to discuss or explore.

The PRACTICE model is logical and straightforward. It balances both examining the problem as well as generating new ways forward. It creates an opportunity for the coachee to test each of their solutions as to its validity for them.

The flip side of the model is that it gets the coachee to focus on solutions. This can create a limited mindset for the coachee, rather than thinking ‘options’ or ‘possibilities’ which might lead to solutions.

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