The STAR coaching model is a unique tool intended for business leaders, but it’s particularly useful for those new to the leadership role that are looking to improve their problem solving and stress management skills. The tool is rooted in cognitive behavioural therapy and can be a highly effective way to help someone get rid of damaging or limiting thoughts and behaviours.

Finding the right coaching method can be difficult, but once discovered, it serves as a powerful device that allows for essential insight. Ultimately, this will enable a group or individual to reflect upon where they currently are and then improve upon this to reach a specific end goal, enhancing their capabilities. So, today, we’ll be discussing the STAR model to understand how this could assist your business and leaders to work more successfully.

What is the STAR coaching model?

The STAR is an acronym for situation, task, action, result. A leader may utilise this model to go above just lead, delegate and motivate – they’ll also guide employees, identifying goals and creating an actionable plan collaboratively. This coaching tool provides the foundation for a structured, positive conversation. So, what is it exactly:

Situation: What is the specific situation which created difficulty for you?

Task (or Thoughts): What thoughts go through your mind and what do you think you should do?

Action: How do you typically act in the situation in response to it and in response to your thoughts and feelings?

Results: What are usually the results for you of your actions in practical terms and in terms of how you feel afterwards?

This method focuses on the employee rather than the coach – you’ll be forced to take a step back and instead, the feedback will be led by the employee. This will provide the basis for a valuable conversation; together, you’ll work through and discuss any issues in a more relaxed atmosphere. As a result, this informal structure tends to provide more successful constructive feedback that the employee will confidently recognise and trust to follow.

Situation or Task

The first step of the STAR coaching model is to describe a particular situation or task that was appointed to the employee, it’s important you are specific to ensure the feedback session provides results. For example, you may say “we were down on our monthly sales figures” or “we received a customer complaint about bad service”.

Ask what the employee knows about this situation, how it makes them feel to hear of this.


You’ll then discuss what the employee did – the action they took, whether this was positive or negative. Again, it’s important to be as specific as possible, avoiding phrases such as “sorted it out” or “messed up” and instead use terms such as “calmed the customer down by listening and offering compensation” or “didn’t manage to make the extra sales”.

This clearly highlights what actions were taken and can therefore assist employees in the future as they can understand how to correct a mistake, or if a positive action was taken, they will be aware of how they did the right thing.


The final stage of the STAR coaching model is the result, where you describe in detail the direct result of the action. As above, avoid generic statements such as “resolved the problem” and instead use “having calmed the customer down, he still made the sale”.

Together, these create the STAR model, ideal for creating positive feedback to manage and overcome any difficulties but also a useful tool to shine a light on successes too; you’ll be able to identify strengths and weaknesses in a simple, cost-effective way.

STAR coaching model

What other coaching methods are there?

Of course, there are several other coaching methods too that you can utilise to improve performance and offer constructive feedback. There are another three main acronyms a business may call upon, but these focus more on setting goals and personal development before a situation arises, these are: GROW, CLEAR and OSCAR.


  • Goal – Where do you want to be?
  • Reality – Where are you now?
  • Options – What could you do to get there?
  • Will – What will you do?


  • Contract – Establish the desired outcomes, the session’s scope, and agree on the coaching process.
  • Listen – The coach is encouraged to listen and only engage to ‘nudge’ and steer the conversation toward the topics under review.
  • Explore – Examine in more detail how the individual is affected by the situation.
  • Action – Get the individual to commit to changes and internalize their new outlook.
  • Review – Perform follow-ups with the individual to assess how things are progressing and identify what worked well in the coaching sessions.


  • Outcome – Understand the desired outcome and the individual’s long-term goals.
  • Situation – Help the client become aware of their skills, abilities, level of knowledge, and how they feel.
  • Choices – What are the options for reaching the desired outcome?
  • Actions – Identify the improvements and how best to make them.
  • Reviews – Hold regular reviews to ensure the client is on track.

How to give effective feedback alongside the STAR coaching model and how it can help your business

Using the STAR model when giving an evaluation is the first step to providing constructive, positive feedback the will serve your employees, paving the way for your business’s success. Its specific, structured approach sees you bring the attention of a feedback session to the forefront. However, let’s take a look at some of the additional methods you should be utilising to ensure you are offering an effective evaluation.

#1 Focus on performance, not personality

It’s crucial you focus on an employee’s behaviours (what they do) rather than on their personality traits (what they’re like). You don’t want to offend or bully any member of staff, and by directly criticising their personality you will be causing an additional issue that could easily be avoided. If you were to receive the comment “your arrogance is causing a problem” you would be likely to take personal offence – it’s important you don’t damage your relationship with your employees.

#2 Don’t wait, but do it privately

Employee feedback has the greatest impact on performance immediately following an event. If issues are left unresolved, they can escalate and cause a domino effect so it’s important you don’t wait until a quarterly review comes around as further issues could have been avoided. Providing daily or weekly feedback ensures the information provided remain valuable and can be acted upon.

However, when you give feedback, remember that it should always be given privately. Even if it’s positive, some employees may not wish to be the centre of attention. If you save feedback for a private session, you’ll be offering the staff member the opportunity to reflect and process the conversation. Ultimately, it will make both of you more comfortable.

#3 Make the conversation a two-way street

You don’t want to lecture someone about how you think they need to improve! Opening up a discussion shows you respect and value your employee, especially as feedback can be a vulnerable topic.

Let the receiver respond to your feedback and allow them to ask follow up questions. Once the issue is clear, the two of you can work together to create a solution or course of action that both of you feel happy with.

#4 Be sure to follow up

Feedback and evaluation is tough; it requires a lot of thought and energy to be done correctly. Instead of thinking of a feedback session as a one-time thing, schedule it time to also speak about and most importantly – notice and celebrate improvement that is made. This will show your employee you care about their development, and in turn, may motivate them which could also boost your business’s productivity levels.

The conclusion: constructive feedback using the STAR model

Employee feedback is a necessary part of growth and development. But, it can be difficult particularly for those new to a leadership role. It can, therefore, be wise to employ the use of a proven coaching model such as STAR to effectively deliver constructive, valuable feedback. As a result, this will lead to a more collaborative, communicative, and higher-performing company culture. STAR is especially useful to focus on specific actions or challenges that have been faced by an employee; highlighting the important aspects of the experience.

It’s clear to see how important coaching models can be, but they can be difficult to implement if you don’t have the right resources or structures in place. If you need more advice on how to develop your business get in touch today at or complete this contact form, and I’ll be happy to discuss how I can work with you to transform your organisation.