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The OSKAR Method of Coaching: Definition, Pros & Cons

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Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

The OSKAR method of coaching is one of several available methods for managerial coaching in the workplace. Explore the defining characteristics of the method, what each letter in the OSKAR acronym stands for, and the pros and cons of the method. Updated: 01/23/2022

Shifting Your Focus

James recently hired a new college graduate, Sarah, to work in the administrative office of his business. Everything went well the first few months, but it's become obvious that Sarah has started bad-mouthing both the company and its management team. Several workers have already complained about Sarah's mouthy style, and a few others seem to be suffering from stress and low employee morale. James could simply fire Sarah from her position or he could introduce her to OSKAR.

But, who - or what - is this OSKAR?

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  • 0:03 Shifting Your Focus
  • 0:36 Defining OSKAR
  • 4:07 Applying OSKAR
  • 4:47 OSKAR Pros and Cons
  • 5:35 Lesson Summary
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Defining OSKAR

Developed in the early 2000s by Mark McKergow and Paul Z. Jackson, OSKAR is a solutions-oriented coaching model for businesses. OSKAR provides a framework for focusing on the solution to the problem rather than the problem itself.

OSKAR is an acronym for a five-points method that starts with setting an objective you hope to achieve to reviewing how well the changes have worked. Let's outline each of the five steps now:

O Is for Outcome

Formally know as outcome, this step could also be called objective because you're setting an objective that you want to achieve during coaching. In our opening example, this objective might be to curtail Sarah's behavior so that all employees are happy and successful. At this stage, appropriate coaching considerations might include what you want to accomplish or what a successful long-term objective would look like.

S Is for Scale

Think about the scale step on a scale of one to ten. Where are you on the scale toward achieving the objective you want? Ratings from both the coach and the individual are helpful in getting an honest assessment of where each thinks they are in successful attainment of the outcome.

For Sarah, she probably thinks she doesn't demonstrate a problem and might rank herself as a nine or ten on the scale in terms of appropriate behavior. For James, that ranking might be closer to a three or four. Scale gives you the opportunity to assess where things are at the current moment.

K Is for Know-How

Now that you know where someone stands on the scale, you are better equipped to figure out how to get from where that person is to where you want them to be. For example, if Sarah is a four but needs to be at least an eight, the know-how step is where you figure out how to make that leap.

What does Sarah need to bridge that gap? Perhaps she needs additional training because she doesn't understand enough about the business or why things are run the way they are. It could be that Sarah needs a few sessions with a life coach to work on adjusting her perceptions or communication style. Know-how addresses the action steps to get from point A to point B.

A Is for Affirm + Action

Good coaching doesn't just focus on where improvement is needed but where an employee is already performing successfully. This is where affirm + action comes into play. You speak positively about the areas in which someone in achieving and define the actions that need to be taken to bring a mediocre area up to par.

James recognizes that Sarah is very good at interacting with customers and also quite successful at up-selling them on additional products. She's also willing to work more than her required time each week to complete her tasks. This is affirmation. Next comes the action of defining what needs to happen to be successful in all areas.

R Is for Review

Being able to review how the steps are working is important to achieving your overall outcome. If you don't step back and review how well your plan is working, you can't make tweaks or modifications to get you to your ultimate goal.

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