The Control Influence Accept Model


The CIA model was first developed by Neil Thompson and Sue Thompson, an HR specialist and social-work lecturer respectively, in their 2008 book, "The Critically Reflective Practitioner."

It's a time/ stress-management tool that works on three ways you can respond to a challenge:


  1. Control it – identify the elements of the situation that you can control.

  2. Influence it – identify the elements that you can’t control, but that you can influence.

  3. Accept it - identify the elements that you can neither control nor influence, and adapt accordingly.

Once you have identified the three potential responses, it is easier to get a different perspective on potential problems allowing you to get a a better sense of what is achievable.


Take Control - Reduce Overwhelm

Identify the issues or elements of the situation that you can control.

What resources can you use to solve the issue?


There are many situations beyond our control, the latest pandemic the perfect example, however we can still control our emotion and our behaviour.

We can still decide what we can control and act upon.



Use Your Influence - Feel Less Overwhelmed

Sometimes you feel you are not in control of a situation, but perhaps you can still influence the outcome.

Perhaps you one of your main strengths/knowledge can help or perhaps you know who to turn for advice or help.

How can you positively influence a situation?

What behaviour can you adapt?



Acceptance or Adapt


Sometimes things happen that you really can't control or influence.


"I accept it" can be seen as a sign of weakness of laziness. It is however a very important sign of maturity, intelligence and resilience.

Knowing your limitation helps you to prioritise and make the right decisions.


Some clients found it easier to start from the Acceptance (some people prefer the term Adapt) and working their way back to the Control/Influence sphere.



To use this tool effectively, work with your coach to describe the situation in as much detail as possible.

Once you have the details clear in your mind, look at the various ways you can control, influence or that you may have to accept about it.