What is Coaching?

Coaching is an integral part of the work of the Vermont Child Welfare Training Partnership (VT-CWTP).  Coaching is generally described as an ongoing relationship which helps people to learn, grow, and develop their abilities. There are many definitions, and one useful definition is provided here by Jenny Rogers (2016): ‘Coaching is the art of developing another person’s learning, development, well-being and performance. It raises self- awareness and identifies choices. Through coaching, people are able to find their own solutions, develop their own skills, and change their own attitudes and behaviors. The whole aim of coaching is to close the gap between people’s potential and their current state.

Who do we coach?

In one-on-one and group coaching settings, VT-CWTP coaches support kin, foster, and adoptive caregivers, and DCF Family Services leadership and staff to understand their strengths and needs; grapple with challenging issues and situations; increase awareness, knowledge, and skill; and put their learning into practice.

Why do coaching?

Research shows that adults learn best and improve skills more effectively and efficiently when they receive follow-up support and ongoing feedback after they participate in a training. Workshops or trainings that use mostly traditional teaching strategies provide little of the time, activities, or content necessary to promote meaningful change. The problem with traditional approaches to training for personal and professional development is that the participants often do not know how to implement what they learn in these workshops and have no way to receive support or feedback when they do attempt to apply what they have learned in actual life and work situations. 

How do we coach?

VT-CWTP coaching is grounded in positive psychology, appreciative inquiry, solution-focused questions, and adult learning theory to support learners to grow and learn at their own pace and address their own needs.  The focus of coaching in Child Welfare is for the person being coached to feel better able to bring the best of themselves to a given situation in the present and future. 

VT-CWTP coaches use goal setting, open ended questions, reflections, feedback and observation to support self-awareness and movement toward where the person being coached wants to go.  Coaching is voluntary and learner led. VT-CWTP coaches embrace the complexity of diversity and are open to individual differences and perspectives.  

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Our Coaching Model

Coaching within Family Services is a way to develop, improve and sustain Supervisor and Social Worker competence in areas of practice. VT-CWTP uses the CLEAR Steps Coaching Model.