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PRACTICE Coaching Model by Stephen Palmer

Today, we’ll focus on a particular coaching model known as the PRACTICE Coaching Model, a simple yet powerful framework created by Stephen Palmer.

This model is designed to help people identify their problems and find the best solutions.

But before we delve into the details of the PRACTICE model, let’s take a step back and explore its historical roots. Understanding the origins of this model will provide us with valuable context and insight into its development.

So, let’s begin by uncovering the historical context of the PRACTICE Coaching Model and how it came to be.



The Origins of PRACTICE: Barbara Wasik’s Influence

Back in 1984, Barbara Wasik, a respected figure in the coaching realm, introduced a pioneering coaching approach. This approach featured seven critical steps, forming a structured path to help individuals tackle challenges and make informed decisions.

  1. Identify the Problem: The first step was all about recognizing the issue at hand. It’s like diagnosing a problem in your car before you can fix it. You can’t solve what you don’t understand.
  2. Set Clear Goals: Barbara emphasized the importance of having specific, achievable objectives. It’s like planning a trip – you need a destination to know where you’re headed.
  3. Generate Solutions: Once the problem was identified and goals set, the next phase involved brainstorming potential solutions. Think of it as having a variety of tools in your toolbox for different tasks.
  4. Consider Consequences: This step encouraged individuals to weigh the pros and cons of each solution. Just like in life, every choice comes with consequences, and it’s crucial to be aware of them.
  5. Select the Best Solution: After careful consideration, the most suitable solution was chosen. It’s akin to picking the right tool for a specific job.
  6. Implement the Chosen Solution: Action was the key. Once a solution was selected, it needed to be put into practice – similar to using the chosen tool to fix something.
  7. Evaluate the Outcomes: Finally, Barbara stressed the importance of reviewing the results. Did the solution work as intended? If not, adjustments might be needed.

Evolution from Wasik’s Model to PRACTICE

Stephen Palmer, a psychologist with a passion for coaching, took Barbara Wasik’s seven-step coaching approach as his starting point. He recognized the value of this structured approach but saw an opportunity to refine and expand upon it.

Palmer’s evolution of the model added depth and nuance. While he maintained the essence of Wasik’s approach, he incorporated additional elements to make it even more effective. It’s like taking a tried-and-true recipe and enhancing it with new ingredients to make it even tastier.

Significance of Building upon Existing Frameworks

The decision to build upon Barbara Wasik’s framework was a strategic one.

Palmer understood that learning from the past and building on existing knowledge is a hallmark of progress. It’s akin to standing on the shoulders of giants – you can see further because you leverage what others have already achieved.

By acknowledging the value of Wasik’s coaching approach and evolving it into the PRACTICE Coaching Model, Stephen Palmer ensured that his model was firmly rooted in well-established principles.

This evolution allowed for a richer and more effective coaching experience, benefiting both coaches and their clients.


Also read: CLEAR Coaching Model by Peter Hawkins

Unpacking the PRACTICE Coaching Model

Let’s break down the acronym PRACTICE to understand each step better. Imagine it as opening a treasure chest, with each step revealing a valuable gem of wisdom.

Understanding the Acronym: PRACTICE

The PRACTICE Coaching Model is like a roadmap that guides us through seven essential steps. These steps are represented by the letters in the acronym PRACTICE:

  1. Step 1: P – Identify the Problem

    The journey begins by identifying the issue or challenge at hand. This involves digging deep to understand the root cause of the problem. It’s like being a detective, searching for clues to solve a mystery. Once you know what you’re dealing with, you’re better equipped to find a solution.

    Step 2: R – Develop Realistic and Relevant Goals

    With the problem in focus, the next step is to set clear, achievable goals. These goals should align with the problem and be within reach. It’s like plotting a course on a map – you need to know where you’re headed before you can start your journey.

    Step 3: A – Generate Alternative Solutions

    Now comes the creative part. Brainstorming! In this step, you explore various ways to address the problem. It’s akin to having a toolbox full of different tools for different tasks. The more options you have, the better your chances of finding the right solution.


    Step 4: C – Consider the Consequences

    Before making a decision, it’s wise to weigh the potential outcomes. What happens if you choose one solution over another? This step is about thinking ahead, like planning for different weather conditions on your journey. It helps you make informed choices.

    Step 5: T – Target the Most Feasible Solution

    From the list of alternative solutions, you select the one that seems most practical and doable. It’s like choosing the best tool from your toolbox for a specific task. The goal here is to pick the option that’s most likely to lead to success.

    Step 6: I – Implement Your Chosen Solution

    Action time! You put your chosen solution into practice. This step is like using that selected tool to fix a problem – it’s where the rubber meets the road. You take the steps necessary to make your plan a reality.

    Step 7: E – Evaluate the Outcomes

    Finally, after taking action, it’s crucial to step back and assess the results. Did your chosen solution work? Did you achieve your goals? It’s like reflecting on your journey after reaching your destination. This evaluation informs future decisions and actions.

The Flow of PRACTICE

As you can see, the PRACTICE Coaching Model provides a structured and logical flow for problem-solving and decision-making.

Each step builds upon the previous one, creating a smooth path towards achieving goals and overcoming challenges.

It’s like following a well-marked trail in the woods – you know where you’re going, and you have the tools you need to get there.

Benefits of the PRACTICE Coaching Model

The PRACTICE Coaching Model isn’t just a set of steps; it’s a powerful tool that brings a multitude of benefits to those who embrace it. Let’s explore these advantages in detail, so you can see why this model is so valuable.

Enhanced Problem-Solving Abilities

One of the key benefits of the PRACTICE Coaching Model is its ability to enhance problem-solving skills.

By following the structured steps, individuals gain clarity about the problems they face, making it easier to find solutions.

Think of it as having a treasure map – it guides you through the twists and turns of challenges, helping you discover hidden solutions.

As you practice this problem-solving approach, you become more skilled at identifying issues, setting goals, and generating creative solutions.

It’s like honing a craft or mastering a skill over time. This newfound problem-solving prowess isn’t limited to coaching sessions; it becomes a valuable life skill you can apply in various aspects of your personal and professional life.

Goal Clarity and Achievement

Another significant advantage of the PRACTICE Coaching Model is its ability to bring clarity to your goals and, subsequently, help you achieve them.

Setting realistic and relevant goals is a fundamental part of the model. It’s akin to having a well-defined destination on your life’s journey.

By following the model’s guidance, you’re not only better equipped to set goals but also to break them down into actionable steps.

This approach increases your chances of achieving your objectives. It’s like breaking a big task into smaller, manageable pieces – suddenly, that daunting mountain becomes a series of conquerable hills.

The result?

A sense of accomplishment and progress that boosts your confidence and motivation. You’ll find yourself reaching milestones you once thought were out of reach.

Improved Decision-Making

Decision-making can be a challenging aspect of life. The PRACTICE Coaching Model streamlines this process, making decisions more manageable and informed.

By considering consequences and evaluating outcomes, individuals become more adept at making choices that align with their goals and values.

This improved decision-making extends beyond coaching sessions and impacts your everyday life. It’s like having a compass that always points you in the right direction, helping you navigate through choices big and small.

The ability to make well-thought-out decisions leads to more positive outcomes, reduced stress, and increased confidence in your choices.

Personal and Professional Development

Lastly, the PRACTICE Coaching Model fosters personal and professional growth.

As you apply this model repeatedly, you embark on a journey of self-discovery and development. It’s like taking a course in becoming the best version of yourself.

Through the model’s systematic approach, you gain insights into your strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement.

This self-awareness is a valuable asset that empowers you to make intentional changes and reach your full potential.

In a professional context, the PRACTICE model can accelerate career growth. By setting clear goals, making informed decisions, and continually evaluating your progress, you position yourself for success and advancement.

Application in Personal Coaching

Personal Growth and Well-Being

Personal coaching is where the PRACTICE model often finds its roots. It’s like a personal trainer for your life goals and challenges. Coaches help individuals navigate personal issues, set meaningful goals, and make positive changes.

Common Personal Coaching Scenarios

In personal coaching, you might find individuals seeking guidance in areas such as career transitions, improving relationships, time management, or achieving a healthier lifestyle. The PRACTICE model provides a structured approach to address these challenges effectively.

Empowering Individuals

Personal coaching using the PRACTICE model empowers individuals to take control of their lives and make choices that align with their values and aspirations. It’s like having a trusted navigator alongside you on your personal journey.

Utilization in Organizational and Leadership Coaching

Enhancing Leadership Skills

Organizational and leadership coaching often revolves around helping leaders and teams reach their full potential. It’s like coaching a sports team to perform at their best – the coach guides, motivates, and helps them achieve success.

Leadership Challenges

Leaders face complex challenges like team dynamics, decision-making, and managing change. The PRACTICE model equips them with the tools to address these challenges systematically.

Strengthening Organizational Culture

In organizational coaching, the PRACTICE model can foster a culture of continuous improvement and innovation. It encourages leaders and teams to identify problems, set clear goals, and work collaboratively towards solutions.

Academic and Educational Settings

Student Development

In academic and educational settings, the PRACTICE model can benefit students by helping them overcome academic challenges, set educational goals, and develop effective study habits. It’s like having a tutor who focuses on not just academics but overall personal development.

Faculty and Staff Development

The model is not limited to students; it can also be applied to faculty and staff development. Whether it’s enhancing teaching methods, improving communication among staff, or addressing administrative challenges, the PRACTICE model provides a structured approach to find solutions.

Lifelong Learning

In educational contexts, the PRACTICE model encourages a culture of lifelong learning. It emphasizes critical thinking, problem-solving, and goal setting – skills that are valuable not just in school but throughout life.

A Word from EQ4C

In closing, let’s recap the key elements of the PRACTICE Coaching Model, understand its significance in coaching, and encourage you to explore and apply this valuable approach to problem-solving and decision-making.

Throughout this journey, we’ve unpacked the PRACTICE Coaching Model step by step.

We started with identifying problems, setting realistic goals, generating solutions, considering consequences, targeting feasible solutions, implementing chosen solutions, and evaluating outcomes.

This systematic approach provides a roadmap for effective coaching, making problem-solving and decision-making more manageable and successful.

Emphasizing Its Significance in Coaching

The PRACTICE Coaching Model isn’t just another tool; it’s a game-changer in the world of coaching.

It enhances problem-solving abilities, clarifies goals, improves decision-making, and fosters personal and professional development.

Explore and Apply PRACTICE

As you’ve discovered the power of the PRACTICE Coaching Model, we encourage you to explore it further.

Whether you’re a coach looking to enrich your practice or an individual seeking guidance in your personal or professional life, the PRACTICE model offers a structured and effective approach.

It’s not just a set of steps; it’s a tool for transformation.

Experiment with the PRACTICE model in your coaching sessions, personal challenges, or professional endeavors.

The more you practice, the more proficient you become. Like any skill, coaching improves with dedication and application.

Explore our pages on Management and Management Theories


Palmer, S. (2007) “PRACTICE: A model suitable for coaching, counseling, psychotherapy and stress management,” The Coaching Psychologist, Vol.3, No. 2, August 2007.

Jackson, P.Z & McKergo, M. (2007), The Solutions Focus: Making coaching and change SIMPLE. London. Nicholas Brearley.

Wasik, B. (1984), Teaching parents effective problem solving: A handbook for professionals. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina.



Marty Hoffman

Marty Hoffman, MBA, PhD Management Consultant for Fortune 500 and Corporate Strategist 📍 San Francisco, CA More »

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