A Process Guide
The Ohio Coaching Practice Level Target Descriptions offer Ohio Wraparound coaches a toll that can assist in bringing focus and clarity to the coaching process. “Coaching” is a process of interacting with people who are learning and refining their Wraparound practice. One of the goals of the ENGAGE grant process is to work toward aligning wraparound practice across the state of Ohio so that there is greater consistency from county to county and greater clarity over the common, desired aspects of quality Wraparound practice. The Coaching tools offer a resource to coaches as they engage in these interactions with staff and community members across the state.
It is possible for the tools to be used by coaches in the following ways:
- Teaching Tool; in which the documented range of practice serves are used by the coach to illustrate and teach key concepts and issues in Wraparound implementation.
- Review and Feedback Tool: in which the documents are used to provide feedback about the alignment between observed implementation and the “Best”, “Acceptable Variation” and “Unacceptable Variation” level if described practice
- Practice Improvement Targeting Tool: in which the documents are used to define and target next level practice improvement targets with facilitators and supervisors through the coaching process
These three utilizations in fact are parts of an on-going cycle in effective coaching. The processes of helping staff to define high quality Wraparound practice are supported by observation and the provision of feedback, and are improved by targeted skill acquisition based in the ranges of practice described in the Ohio Coaching Practice Level Target Descriptions. The methods of using the tools will not always be linear, as described above, but will likely be inter related through the arc of a coaches involvement with a given community or staff.
In using these tools it is important to remember that these were developed as a resource to help people across the state articulate some of the differences between wraparound and other team based approaches and the differences between “high fidelity” wraparound and that which we call Wraparound but may not align with the practice expectations. These practice descriptions were not documented to be a set of “how to” directions, but rather a set of guideposts that will provide some boundaries around the breadth of implementation that has historically been seen in the state of Ohio and across the country in the name of Wraparound. The implications of this history are clearly that coaches should use these tools to illustrate possibilities, support others to interpret and implement, and broaden tools sets.
Steps in Using the Tools in Coaching Activities
The following are steps that can be useful in utilizing the practice descriptions with people participating in practice or team level coaching. It is assumed that whenever possible a local supervisor will be involved in as many of these steps as possible.
- Provide the practice description document to the facilitation and supervisory staff early in the coaching interaction. This should occur before the first on site visit in most situations providing opportunity for “coached“ staff to review the descriptions prior to face to face interaction with an Ohio Wraparound Coach. They can be emailed to participants with a suggestion that they be reviewed at a minimum. Other actions that can be suggested at this point include
- having the supervisor and facilitator to jointly review the practice descriptions
- having them reflect on recent practice individually, marking examples of when “best”, “acceptable variation”, and “unacceptable variation” have occurred
- asking the facilitator to do a self rating as a way to help the coach understand current practice for that individual and the community system they are a part of
- The coach, still prior to the first visit, can lead a negotiation, based on the first step responses, directed at determining what the first coaching interaction will look like. While first hand observation and support of Wraparound implementation is the optimum coaching entrée there are times when this must be preceded by other “non-live” interactions. These may include one or more of the following:
- A first face to face meeting to get introduced and learn about an individual community’s implementation of wraparound
- A meeting in which coach and staff discuss current practice in the implementation of wraparound, which may lead to some individualized family specific conversation and suggestions based in consultative interaction rather than live observation
- The coach and local staff can review responses to the practice target descriptions in order to further understand the current state of implementation of Wraparound in an individual community setting
The process of negotiating the first content should always encourage the future possibility of hands on live interaction.
- The coach will come on site and provide coaching as negotiated. As noted above “coaching” can include consultative interaction with staff but the goal is to create opportunities for live observation. If it is to be a “live” interaction with a facilitator and a family or team there are several things for a coach to keep in mind.
First, it is important to be sure that local staff have allowed the family to voice their agreement and or concerns over the presence of a visitor in their life or team. Effective coaches will always work to assure that local staff have accurately described their visit as an opportunity to support effective staff not to second guess or predict anything for the family and their plan of care.
Second, it is important to assure that there is adequate time on either side of the observation event to facilitate a quality coaching experience. This includes setting aside time before the event for last minute planning about the coach’s role and focus, assuring that there have been reasonable time expectations put in place for the event to take place, and assuring that there is adequate time for an exchange of preliminary feedback following the event.
The coach’s role during the event should reflect the level of involvement and focus that was negotiated beforehand. Major deviations from this plan should be addressed in an open and above board manner in order to protect the partnership coaches are seeking to establish with staff and model with families.
If the coaching event is to be a consultative process, looking at practice more generally, or discussing wraparound implementation with specific families the coach can re-introduce he practice target document and use it in the meeting in a variety of ways. Options for using the document during a consultative coaching interaction include:
- Asking staff to self rate or rate each other based on what they know of each other’s practice
- Using the tool to challenge facilitators to identify which of the buckets they may need to emphasize or implement more in their next interactions with a family
- Asking staff to identify their strongest or weakest implementation pattern across all the targets and discuss why they see their practice in this way
- The coach will provide immediate initial feedback based on what took place in the coaching event. This feedback can follow a format often used in Wraparound teams that asks participants, including the coach, the facilitator, and the supervisor, if present, to begin with impressions about what went well, what they thought was particularly effective in the way the facilitator ran the event. Establishing a strengths based feedback process can help staff and coach interact more easily and provides a basis to build from as the conversation moves forward. Often there are concerns to be raised, questions to asked, and a specific conversation that focuses on the live process can ensue. It is important for the coach to relate feedback, whenever possible to the practice description tool as a way of helping staff put their own practice into a perspective that will support greater alignment with “best” practice opportunities
In the event that the particular coaching interaction is not a live observation it is still important to leave adequate time at the close of the interaction to exchange some feedback about the coaching process itself. Community staff are typically anxious to get some feedback, otherwise why allow a relative stranger in your midst, and it will always be important for coaches to gather feedback about what was helpful and what was not helpful about this particular set of interactions. This is important because it models the kind of feedback process that it is hoped facilitators will use with teams about the processes they lead.
Each live observation coaching feedback session can be finished by the coach making arrangements for a more detailed review of the practice targets at a later time when more opportunity for reflection has passed. Specifically asking the facilitator and the supervisor to use the tool to identify relevant examples of implementation of “best, “acceptable variation”, and “unacceptable variation” practices for review at the next point of contact.
- The last step of the feedback cycle is for the coach to generate an exchange of more detailed feedback with the facilitator and supervisor. This can be based on a more thorough review of the practice targets than time allows in the aftermath of a live coaching event. The coach will arrange a contact, face to face if possible but more likely over the phone or other media given travel distance and time, in which a more specific exchange about alignment with “best” practice can be undertaken. The timing of this joint review is important. It should happen far enough away from the original event to support reflection and insight, but not so much later than memory and recall of details are stretched too thin. This most often means that an effective follow up should be scheduled within 3 – 10 days of the original observation.
This interaction begins the utilization of the practice targets as a practice improvement tool. The coach will assist the facilitator and supervisor in developing learning targets intended to create greater alignment between community and personal practice and “best” practice targets identified in the tool. The coach can help the participants develop concrete action plans for their work together that are directed at solidifying and enhancing staff understanding and skilled implementation of Wraparound practice. These action plans can include the use of supervision, observation opportunities for the facilitator to see others practice (particularly helpful when the observation can be done with another facilitator who is strong in the areas that the facilitator in coaching is hoping to develop), or other specific learning and practice strategies.
- The final step of any coaching interaction should involve determining whether and how future coaching interactions can be used. This may have occurred earlier in the process but if it has not been determined following the earlier steps in the process each coach will raise the question of future support with the facilitator and the supervisor. Options include a return or multiple return visits from the original coach, visits by other coaches when strategically arranged with specific benefits and resources in mind, or connection to coaching at a system or community level based on the focus of observations and community experience with Wraparound implementation. It is anticipated that the original assigned coach can stay involved in future coaching but it is also important to acknowledge that coaching needs in specific communities may reach to content that coaches hold different expertise and experience in.
Early practice with coaching indicates that staff in many communities have been anxious to see others implement the process, as in many settings staff are working alone or with a limited number of others, which limits the opportunity to formulate new practices based on what you see others do. Ohio Wraparound coaches can work together across the counties they come from to make these observations possible, within the confines of community capacity and availability.
Currently communities can opt into the Targeted Coaching Opportunity, a pilot process for addressing coaching needs at multiple levels for multiple communities, or they can request coaching on a more ad hoc basis by negotiating continued coaching requests through the CIP office.
The Role of Local Supervisors in Practice Level Coaching
Whenever possible it is valuable for local supervisors to be directly included and involved in coaching activities. The reasons for this include:
- Assuring alignment between external coaching input and local reality
- The creation of sustainable local expertise at the supervisory level
- Assuring that external coaching input can be supported over time in the absence of the coach
There are and will be situations where the supervisor may simply not have the capacity to be involved in every step of the coaching interaction. This may indicate a concern about community design and needed management capacity but should not prevent Ohio coaches and local facilitators from interacting with each other. When a supervisor cannot participate maximally in the coaching process it becomes an important coach responsibility to figure out how best to keep the supervisor informed of and responding to the content of the coaching process. This can include a range of actions by the coach that include but are not limited to arranging participation whenever possible, assuring supervisor participation in the feedback connections whenever possible, phone and other message exchanges between the coach and the supervisor for the Wraparound facilitator, or written summaries and reports shared with t eh facilitator and the supervisor for the purpose of assuring that the supervisor is aware of the growth and challenges reflected in the coaching process.