The OOODA loop Model


The GROW model is a bit hackneyed and a victim of its own success, in the same way as everyone rolls their eyes when you mention SWOT analysis.  This is a shame as it is simple and effective.

But, I also feel that it is slightly back to front in the structure and flow.  Starting off with the Goal before any other discussion has taken place can result in the real goal not being the one being addressed, or, necessitate going back to the start when the realisation is made part way through the process that another goal needs to be chosen.

OODA loop

Developed by fighter pilot for use in combat.  Aim is to get inside the opponent’s loop and act more quickly than he can, thus effectively paralysing him.  But I think there is an opportunity to extend the model into a coaching arena – just add another O.



In this section the client is asked to step out of the issue they want to discuss and describe the immediate issue from a third viewpoint (similar to a three chairs exercise).  By doing this, the client is able to reduce emotion and look on the scenario with a more detached perspective, referring to themselves in the third person as part of the process. 

During this part of the investigation the focus should be solely on the immediate issue, eg a conflict between the client and another person, or preparations for the delivery of a project or public talk, for example.


In this section, the investigation is opened out to wider areas of life/business that might impact – or could be impacted upon – by the core issue.  For example, how is the conflict between the two individuals impacting on the efficiency and effectiveness of the department as a whole?  Or, what would be the impact on the 3-day company conference if the presentation isn’t ready or to the required standard?


At this stage the client then makes the decision as to what outcome they want, having reviewed the micro and macro situation.  The benefit (over the GROW model) of doing this at this point is that the client is now fully immersed in the issue and has taken time to think through/discuss all the relent elements of the issue.

The required outcome can be held broad or it can be brought down to a specific/SMART goal depending upon the situation.  Ideally it will be a bounded outcome.


During this stage the client talks through as many different courses of action (COAs) as they can think of that apply to the situation.  If the initial number of COAs is large (more than 6) then, ideally, they should be refined down (simply to create a manageable number to review).  Ideally, at least three COAs should be considered.

Each COA can then be considered by the client to determine the pros and cons of each, any external resources required to complete, along with their willingness/ability to achieve them.


Once a COA has been chosen the client should then be encouraged to identify timescales and actions to undertake in order to complete the chosen COA.

Other things to consider

This could be used in a 1:1 or group/team situation for problem solving.

While the time dimension does not feature as a core part of this model adjustment it could be introduced.

In a team or individual role the model could also be used for competitive analysis with the users looking at competitor behaviour against own company behaviour in the first two sections.

Criticisms – too similar to GROW?


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