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The FUEL Model

The FUEL model is a coaching tool that consists of four components:

Frame the conversation: Set the context for dialogue by agreeing on the purpose, process, and desired outcomes of the discussion.

Understand the current state: Explore the current state from the coachee’s point of view, expanding his or her awareness of the situation to determine the real coaching issue.

Explore the desired state: Articulate the vision of success and explore multiple alternative paths before prioritising methods for achieving this vision.

Layout a success plan: Identify the specific, time-bound action steps to be taken to achieve the desired results, and determine milestones for follow-up and accountability.

Frame the conversation. 

Framing the conversation ensures that the coach and the coachee are involved in the same discussion and makes explicit what that conversation is about.

It is important to remember that the coach owns the process, whereas the coachee holds the content of the conversation.

Identify the behaviour or issue to be discussed:

  • I would like to talk about this issue . . . [Used if the coach initiates the conversation]
  • What is the most important thing for us to focus on? [Used if the coachee starts the conversation]

Determine the purpose or outcomes of the discussion:

  • By the end of the conversation, I would like to accomplish . . .
  • What else would you like to make sure that we address?

Agree on the process for the conversation:

  • Here’s how I thought we could proceed . . .
  • How does that sound?

Understand the current state. 

As the coach begins to understand the current state, he/she needs to maintain a mindset that embraces curiosity.

As a coach, you play two critical roles during this stage of the conversation: acting as a mirror, and being an excellent guide to your client as he or she explores. Asking open-ended, non-leading questions allows both the coach and coachee greater insight and clarity. It is essential to understand that people will not change until they feel a need to change; the coach should offer his or her perspective only when it adds to the conversation and creates greater awareness for the coachee.

Understand the coachee’s point of view.

Gain a solid understanding of the coachee’s perspective:

  • How do you see this situation?
  • What is happening?
  • What is working well?
  • What makes this challenging?
  • How might you have contributed to this situation?
  • How might others see this situation?

Determine the consequences of continuing on the current path:

  • What impact is this having on you? On others?
  • What are the consequences if the situation does not change?
  • How does this influence your goals and what you are trying to accomplish?
  • What are the long-term implications of continuing on this path?

Offer your perspective:

  • May I share some observations I have made?
  • May I point out some other consequences to consider?

Explore the desired state. 

It is of utmost importance that the coach not rush the coachee into problem-solving―the process needs to be slow and deliberate to create the ideal vision and generate viable alternatives for achieving the vision.

The coach must negotiate and influence the things that will form part of the minimum measures of success. If the coachee gets stuck, the coach should step up to his or her side and become a brainstorming partner.

Understand the vision for success.

  • What would you like to see happen here?
  • What would your ideal state look like?

Set goals and performance expectations.

  • What are your goals? What would you like to accomplish?
  • Here’s how I see it . . .

Explore alternative paths of action.

  • What might be some approaches you can take?
  • What else might work?
  • Could I offer a couple of thoughts? You might want to consider . . .

Explore possible barriers.

  • What are the significant barriers preventing this change from happening?
  • Where would the most significant resistance to this change come from?

Lay out a success plan. 

In the last stage, the coachee needs to articulate specific action steps to gain clarity regarding what needs to happen next.

This will provide the coachee with a clear vision of the goal to be achieved. The coach assigns timelines to the action points for follow-up and to ensure accountability. The coach needs to find creative ways to support the coachee in attaining his or her goals.

Develop and agree on an action plan and timeliness.

  • What specific actions will help you achieve your goal?
  • What will your first step be?
  • Who can help hold you accountable?
  • How long will you stay focused on your goals and plans?

Enlist support from others.

  • Who can support you in moving ahead?
  • How can I support you?

Set milestones for follow-up and accountability.

  • Let’s review the plan.
  • When should we touch base on this again?

The FUEL model can help you, and your client lay out a clear path to success.