The REAL Coaching Model


A Coaching Model By Fran Reddan, Executive & Leadership Coach, AUSTRALIA

REAL Model for Executive and Leadership Coaching

Keeping it ‘REAL’ for leaders in mission-driven organizations.

REAL Coaching Model By Fran Reddan

The REAL Coaching Model

The REAL coaching model unlocks the potential of leaders to develop the skills, strategies, and mindset necessary to balance their societal and business responsibilities with their social or environmental missions. It is a simple, process-oriented model that emphasizes authenticity by encouraging leaders to Reflect on their values and guiding principles and on what they really want for their organization. It enables them to Embrace their actual situation, knowledge, and skills and to extend themselves beyond these; to find ways to Advance and deliver on tangible results that matter, and to Lead with Purpose by aligning their leadership with a meaningful mission. Importantly, it helps them to preserve their unique leadership identity so that they lead in ways that are true to who they are. Leaders who ‘keep things real’ are more likely to build trust, foster meaningful connections, and achieve a lasting impact, as their actions align with their true selves and their core principles.

This coaching model is primarily designed for:

  • School Principals and senior staff: Educational leaders responsible for managing schools and ensuring the success and well-being of students, staff, and the school community.
  • ‘For Purpose’ Business Leaders: executives of organizations with a public value, social or environmental mission, focused on achieving a specific purpose while operating within a business framework.

Leading in Mission-Driven Organizations

Mission-driven organizations play vital roles in shaping our society and in making a lasting impact on individuals and communities.‘Mission-driven leaders ingrain the “why” and “how” of an organization’s existence beyond the mere “what” of providing a product.’1. The mission takes priority over ‘profit’ with regard to the mindset of those who work in those organizations; profits or surpluses are typically reinvested in the business to further the mission.

Leaders who work in mission-driven organizations struggle to ‘keep things real’ when their high-pressure, demanding environments limit their capacity to lead effectively. Whether they are working in large or small organizations, the complex systems and the demands of stakeholders can become a source of stress, confusion, and fear. The REAL coaching model provides a circuit breaker for them to re-set and restore their capacity and confidence to lead authentically and reach the results they need.

REAL Coaching Model By Fran Reddan

By understanding your authentic self, you pave the way for impactful leadership, keeping your journey REAL.

By learning to leverage your strengths and tackle challenges with confidence, you keep your growth REAL.

Through measurable milestones that guide your journey to achieve tangible results and lasting impact, you keep progress REAL.

By creating a legacy that reflects your values and inspires others, you keep your leadership REAL.

The Real Model Process – Guidelines for Coaches

The following are suggestions that coaches may consider in creating an optimum coaching environment for the client:

Reflect, Relax & Reveal:  Arrival at the session and exploration of challenges.

  • Support the client to take a moment to ‘arrive’ at the coaching session.  Leaders are busy and in high-pressure environments.  The session is a safe place to relax for a moment, slow down, take breaths, and reflect on what is the current reality and why it matters. What core values come into play?
  • Having had the opportunity to reflect, note how the client reveals what result is a priority for this session (month, year). Elicit how the client will identify what would be a successful outcome for the session and refine the goal if needed.

Embrace, Energise & Extend Acceptance of the situation and extension of thinking.

  • Support the client to embrace the ‘now’ and redirect their energy to practical options for the future, instead of fighting the perceived current reality or the past. Leverage that energy to see the issues from other perspectives. What are the obstacles that may be barriers to the result the client wants? What are the limiting thoughts and beliefs? Support the client to embrace them all.
  • Extend the thinking. Respect the achievements so far. What evidence of success is there, however small? See other ways, many paths. What is within your control? What possibilities exist now? What could be a new vision or possibility? What is energizing you? What becomes exciting as you gain insights and choose pathways?

Advance, Appreciate& Adopt: Formulation of action and measurement of meaningful impact.

  • Looking forward: how do the actions you have chosen advance you towards the results you desire, however small?
  • Appreciate the growth so far; how does that feel?
  • What next steps will you adopt to drive momentum? (Be specific about actions and timeframes).
  • What makes these realistic for you now? (Test for practicality and commitment to action.)
  • What gives you confidence that these leadership practices align with your organization’s mission, values, and metrics?

Lead, Learn& Live: Reinforcement of leadership commitment and confidence in making an impact.

  • What did you learn about yourself and the situation?
  • How can this keep you advancing towards the results you want?
  • How will you keep learning about actions that serve you best?
  • How does your plan align with your personal mission and goals?
  • How does your plan align with your business mission and goals?
  • What would be your ‘Plan B’?
  • What impact will this have on how you live your life now?
  • What impact will it have on those you serve?

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


Craig, W.The Importance of Having a Mission-driven Company. Forbes (2018)
Nübold, A., Van Quaquebeke, N. &Hülsheger, R. Be(com)ing Real: a Multi-source and an Intervention Study on Mindfulness and Authentic Leadership. J Bus Psychol 35, 469–488 (2020). 
Hollow, A. From Impossible to Possible: Two Simple Rules to Assure Exceptional Public Value. Grammar Factory, Pty. Ltd (2019)
Ashkenas, Ron& Manville, Brook.Harvard Business Review Leader’s Handbook: Make an Impact, Inspire Your Organization, and Get to the Next Level. Boston, Massachusetts: Harvard Business Review Press (2019).
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