The SPACE Model for Executive Coaches

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Just a few notes on SPACE – the new model for executive coaching at the iNLP Center, developed by iNLP Center trainer Steve McVey.

SPACE is an umbrella model that informs all aspects of executive coaching. Executive coaches use SPACE to assess their clients’ needs and create action plans to achieve lasting success. Every significant element of executive coaching is encompassed by the SPACE executive coaching model.

Here is a break down of the SPACE executive coaching model


  • Are you in the right job for you?
  • Do you know specifically what your entire job entails?
  • Are you aware of your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Can you self-regulate your thoughts and emotions?
  • Do you know how you typically come across to others?

Performance Goals

  • Do you have performance goals?
  • Do those goals align with organizational goals?
  • Are your goals SMART?

Action Plan

  • Do you have a clear, simple-to-execute strategy for achieving your goals?
  • Are key players in the organization supporting you?
  • Is your strategy simple, effective, and ecological?
  • Are you taking consistent action?


  • Do you possess the necessary skills to execute your action plan?
  • Which skills do you need?
  • Which do you need to acquire to be successful?
  • What capabilities do you need others to have?
  • Do you know how to motivate yourself?
  • Do you know how to overcome inevitable obstacles?


  • Does pursuing your performance goals in alignment with corporate objective present a risk to your personal time, values, or other important elements of your life?
  • Do your performance goals or their execution pose any threat to the overall health of the organization?

The SPACE executive coaching model suggests than any executive coach issue can be categorized into one or more elements of SPACE. Discovering how an issue relates to SPACE provides automatic insight into what needs to be done to create a solution.

For any given issue, all letters in the acronym SPACE need to align with each other, or at least not conflict. Here are some examples. Imagine the following:

  • An executive wants to set goals but isn’t clear on what’s actually required of the job. Self-awareness would require a clear understanding of one’s agreed-upon duties before setting goals that may or may not align.
  • A client needs to accomplish an objective for which s/he is not properly trained.
  • An executive is setting work goals that may not align with corporate goals.
  • The client has goals but no plan of action.
  • And so on.

For executives to be successful, all elements of SPACE need to be aligned.

How to Use SPACE in Executive Coaching

First, discover where the client’s goals and issues fall on the SPACE model. Is the issue a client talks about related to self-awareness. goals, action plans, capabilities, or ecology? FYI ecology is pervasive and applicable at all levels of SPACE. Everything needs to be ecological!

Next, starting at the top of the model (self-awareness) assess where the clients issue falls. Which level of SPACE is the highest level that’s relevant? Start at the highest and work your way down, always being aware of ecology.

Then, create a coaching plan to address the specific level of SPACE that will move the client forward.