Coaching with the SURE Model

Coaching, as I’m sure you’re aware, is much different than mentoring. When you coach an individual you have a certain level of responsibility for him learning certain definable functions so that he can complete his work tasks effectively and on goal.

The SURE model is one of the most effective coaching models I’ve come across in a while. It provides managers and coaches with a simple checklist of tasks and goals that need to be taken during each step of the coaching process.

So what does the SURE model stand for?

  • S – Set Context – Make sure you clearly define your goals for the coaching session or day and how the things you work on will impact the individual’s daily workflow and job performance.
  • U – Understand Situation – This step involves making sure that both you and your trainee have a complete understanding of the situation surrounding the project you will be working on. Do you have a mere piece of the picture or do you understand the overall goals?
  • R – Resolve Issues – Does the person you are coaching have any concerns about his ability to compete the tasks at hand? He may not have access to all of the resources he needs or he may need some additional training. Resolve these issues before you move forward.
  • E – Establish Actions – Once you’re sure the project is well understood, make a list of actionable tasks and let him get started. Check his progress after each action on the list so that you can resolve any pending issues before moving on to the next.

The SURE model of coaching allows coaches and trainees to work together to establish balance and order while learning at the same time. Follow this model and you’re guaranteed to have a successful outcome every time!

Thanks again,


Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Training   

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Updated on: 16 April, 2009

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