What does it take to move toward Family-Centered Coaching?

Now that you have assessed where your organization and coaching mindset practices are related to family-centered coaching, you likely want to identify ways to move from wherever your organization is toward fully family-centered coaching.

Each organization will have a different mix of activities and strategies to move along the continuum; the strategies below are illustrative of the kinds of activities that can help to expand organizational thinking and help organizations make concrete shifts toward a family-centered coaching approach. Here are some steps that can be taken to move to a coaching mindset and then to a family-centered coaching focus:


To move from a more staff-driven mindset focus to a more coaching mindset focus:

Organizational Culture

  • Examine data at leadership and staff levels to identify how coaching might improve outcomes; identify metrics to assess the impact of coaching for families and program outcomes.
  • Support staff in moving toward coaching with leadership commitment to changed practices through commitment of resources and organization-wide messaging, training of supervisors, and active support of coaching staff.

  • Engage a trauma-informed care expert to assess organizational practices.

  • Assess your organization’s racial equity approach, both organizationally and at the staff level. Work with a racial equity organization or consultant to improve organizational practices.

organizational operations

  • Identify a local organization engaged in coaching to learn how it approaches the work, the benefits of coaching, and the difference between coaching and case management in approach and results.
  • Examine ways for staff to incorporate elements of coaching, such as the strength-based approach to families that recognizes families as experts, particularly when funding limits the ability of your organization to fully adopt a coaching approach. Incremental changes often lead to larger changes over time.

CoaChing approaCh

  • Train staff in coaching approaches, as well as motivational interviewing and other goal-setting tools and practices; help staff to balance, when necessary, case management and coaching roles.
  • Provide training for staff in trauma-informed care approaches to families.

  • Provide implicit bias and other kinds of staff training to support staff in understanding their own biases and the context of institutional racism.

CoaChing environment

  • Identify how to reconfigure your space to provide privacy for families when coaching.
  • Assess whether your organization can improve access and safety for families, through transportation supports, changing hours of operation, or other practices.



organizational Culture

  • Identify how moving to a family-centered coaching centered approach could benefit the organization through visiting family-centered programs (many Head Start, Nurse-Family Partnerships, and others have a coaching approach) and undertaking a set of discussions organization-wide to identify the value-add;
  • Expand the definition of family to incorporate a parent-defined family structure.

organizational operations

  • Ask families what services they need and how they would prefer to receive services, including coaching.
  • Identify possible approaches to family-centered coaching, including identifying funding stream constraints, potential partnerships with external organizations, and existing gaps in services for the whole family.

  • Align internal services that could support family-centered coaching by mapping the services provided and how families access them, and then identifying strategies to streamline them (with parent input to ensure validity); convene cross-department teams to identify areas for collaboration.

  • Support supervisors in their hiring and management practices to adopt a family-centered coaching approach.

  • Partner with other organizations offering key family-related services you have identified as essential for families.

family- Centered CoaChing approaCh

  • Examine current coaching and case management practices and put into place strength-based, goal-focused training for coaches and other staff that supports both staff and families.

CoaChing environment

  • Create a safe space equipped with toys and books for children near where coaching will occur.