Coaching is a competency driver for the implementation of a defined evidence-based practice.  A competency driver is defined as “a mechanism to develop, improve and sustain one’s ability to implement an intervention as intended in order to benefit children, families and communities.” (Implementation Drivers: Assessing Best Practices, 2015) Coaching within Family Services is therefore, a way to develop, improve and sustain Supervisor and Social Worker competence in areas of practice such as utilizing Structured Decision Making and other assessment tools to inform decision-making; development of critical thinking skills that enhance ability to address the safety and well being needs of children and families; and self-examination of skill areas that increase family engagement, among others.

Coaching is the development of an ongoing relationship between a coach (FSD Supervisor and/or CWTP Training Coordinator) and an individual learner (FSD Social Worker or FSD team), which follows a process of inquiry and personal discovery.  This structure is used to build an individual’s level of awareness and responsibility for his/her work performance by providing support and feedback so the individual can take action toward the realization of his/her professional goals.  By meeting individual goals, the goals of the Division- specifically, outcomes generated by way of the Practice Model, are met. (Vermont FSD Coaching program, 2015)

Coaching Model: CLEAR Steps


Creating learning contracts sets the stage for the coaching process by discussing the goal of coaching, setting ground rules, discussing boundaries, accountability, expectations and evaluation.

  • How will we use our time?
  • What do you need to achieve in this session?
  • How could I be most valuable to you?
  • What would make this session a success for you and the organization?
  • What do you want to have achieved or shifted before leaving here?


Facilitation learners’ personal insight into the identified subject of coaching.

  • Let us see if I can summarize the issue
  • What I am hearing from what you said is…
  • What I am sensing from listening to you is…
  • The connections I am making between what you have been sharing are…


Helping learners to understand personal impact of current situation and challenging learners to create new possibilities for future action in resolving the situation.

  • Who might be of help to you that you have not yet consulted?
  • Who has the information you need?
  • Who has the skills you need?
  • Who has the power to effect change in this situation?
  • Can you think of four different ways of tackling this situation?
  • How would someone you admire deal with this situation?


Coaches support learners in committing to moving forward and creating action steps. Change is learner-led. (observation & demonstration may be needed here!)

  • What are the pros and cons of each strategy?
  • What is your long-term objective?
  • What is the first step you need to take?
  • When precisely are you going to do that?
  • Who needs to be involved, consulted or informed?
  • Is your plan realistic?  What is the chance of your plan succeeding?


Review the process and how it could be improved.  Reinforce progress, improvements and commitments made.

  • What have you learned from this session?
  • In what ways have you increased your own ability to handle similar situations?
  • What would you like to improve or do differently in the next coaching session?