Coaching Model – 5M


A Coaching Power Tool By Paul Crabtree, Positive Attitude Coach, UNITED KINGDOM


…..They concentrate their attention on a limited stimulus field, forget personal problems, lose their sense of time and of themselves, feel competent and in control, and have a sense of harmony and union with their surroundings… they cease to worry about whether the activity will be productive or whether it will be rewarded…  they gave entered a state of flow (they enter the flow mental state) –  Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

The 5 M Coaching Model

  1. Motivate
  2. Model
  3. Measure
  4. (Modify)
  5. Momentum

The 5 M coaching model is based on human behavioral change and motivation, particularly the concept of flow as outlined by the Hungarian psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Additionally, this model adds a robust recording/journaling methodology that keeps the process tight, and the client accountable. It also has a base in positive psychology and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, particularly as it seeks to counter the negative self-talk of cognitive distortions. Like all coaching models, it supports the client in the way they want to change by building awareness and empowering choice.


The first step is founded on the principle of intrinsic motivation and has a great deal in common with the practice of positive psychology. Unlike children, adults may tire of working towards extrinsic motivational factors such as pleasing others or earning money. Acting out of fear or for certain types of rewards are examples of intrinsic motivation. These are the “carrots and sticks” we often talk about as ways of driving outcomes.

Coaching the “who” should lead coaches to uncover intrinsic motivations, those which make the best use of an individual’s natural gifts and talents. In his book Drive, Daniel H. Pink outlines some key principles of intrinsic motivation:

Autonomy. Self-direction and a desire to direct our own lives, do interesting things, and impact the lives of others.

Mastery. This is the urge to become better and is based on setting goals with an appropriate level of challenge, leading to what some term “flow”.

Purpose. Connecting to a cause larger than ourselves.

Evoking these concepts through the coaching conversion can be assisted by nurturing a reflective practice, encouraging meditation and mindfulness. The chances of success in the next stage, the Model, are dependent on the establishment of goals that are aligned with intrinsic motivation and have a manageable level of difficulty (flow).


Model is the conscious application of the agreed outcomes of the coaching session. There are two key elements here:

  • Flow: Is the client in a mental state of flow? This means being focused on the task at hand, recognizing the hard work and happiness that can be achieved when in that Goldilocks zone. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s flow model shows a total of eight emotional states. Coaches and clients can pay attention to the client’s reports of mental state and consider possible actions for the Modify step (below). Those other mental states are apathy, boredom, relaxation, worry, control, anxiety, and arousal.
  • Recording: Is the client in a reflective practice throughout? Ideally, they are journaling and recording what they are doing, and also how they are feeling. When they are in flow, they may not have a lot to say, as they are unconsciously “humming along”. They may have more to say about the other mental states, and, as a result, may have completed only some, or none, of the self-assigned tasks. This is all data and therefore valuable.


The measure is an essential element of the 5M coaching model. It features both during the client’s application of coaching objectives and within the coaching session.

During the client’s daily progress through tasks and goals, it is essential that they measure their progress immediately and consciously, reflecting not only on the outcomes as compared to goals set but also on the challenge level of the tasks undertaken and the mental state associated with them. If a stakeholder-centered approach is used, this may imply asking for feedback. How do you feel? Coaches should look for “powerful”, “awake”, “in control”, “satisfied”.

Measure is also a collaborative assessment with the coach of the client’s application of their coaching sessions’ goals, In subsequent coaching conversations, Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose could be used as quantitative and/or qualitative indices for possible enhancement (Modify).


Modify is aligned with the Autonomy dimension and to the need for alignment with intrinsic motivational factors. Following on from discussions in the Measure step, clients may modify their goals and/or abandon them entirely. Coaches should lead clients through the Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose framework to ensure that modifications are robustly justified. At the same time, coaches should probe and explore for any incremental gains that the client might like to build upon. Negativity should not be allowed to set in. Per Csikszentmihalyi, “Entropy is “the normal state of consciousness – a condition that is neither useful nor enjoyable”. Coaches should recognize this and build on positive, transformational experiences.


Momentum is a natural result of flow in action. With manageable goals and measurement of progress (of the goal and mental state), clients will have a sense of real, authentic satisfaction. Momentum is a virtuous circle, the best moment when a client is voluntarily achieving something difficult and worthwhile. Coaching discussions on momentum can attempt to identify and eliminate other mental states or blockers, such as anxiety or boredom, or indeed any negative self-talk or cognitive distortions.

Momentum is the outcome where the coach and client are able to create goals, outcomes, and conscious self-awareness where the client can appreciate a state of flow with consistency, not just now and then, and can summon that state of mind readily, as a mindful act.

The 5M Coaching Model

The 5M coaching model is based on a deep dive into the “who” where intrinsic motivations can be harnessed with the Goldilocks zone of an appropriate challenge to achieve goals and self-satisfaction. It can overlay most existing process coaching models. It is defined by a strong element of conscious application, recording, to feed into a discussion of Measures with the coach. It is a powerful enabler of client transformation, using clients’ motivations as the main driver of success.

Learn How to Create Your Own Coaching Model

Your Coaching Model reflects your values,
philosophies, and beliefs and must communicate who you will coach
and the problems you will solve.
Read more about creating your coaching model

8 Traits of Flow According to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (

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