Collaborative Coaching Approaches

Specific approaches used to ensure that important adults in the child's life (e.g., child care providers) are confident and competent in using agreed-upon strategies between intervention visits to promote the child's learning and development.

  • The interventionist explains, models, and supports family members as they practice the strategies with their child during routines.
  • Interventionists and family members share feedback on the experience and success of the strategies.
  • Successful collaborative coaching results in:
    • intervention strategies that fit the individual family context, and
    • family members and/or caregivers who feel comfortable using effective developmental strategies between visits.

What is Collaborative Coaching and Who Is Involved?

Collaborative coaching ensures that the important adults in a child's life can and will effectively use developmental approaches between visits.

  • The person(s) the interventionist is coaching are those who are responsible for ensuring the child's learning and participation within the specific routine activity.
  • At home, those individuals might be parents, siblings, extended family members, or live-in caregivers.
  • In child care, they might be the teacher, assistant(s), child care provider, or volunteers.
  • In the community, it might be a family member or caregiver who accompanies the child during that activity, and/or the facilitator of a child-directed, formal activity, such as library story hour. Other community members may participate to varying degrees as appropriate.

Collaborative Coaching: Reflect on your practices….

How close are you to applying collaborative coaching approaches in your work? Consider each practice carefully to see the difference between traditional approaches and collaborative coaching approaches.

Traditional ApproachesCollaborative Coaching Approaches
Focus on professional priorities for child development Focus on family priorities for child development, integrating professional opinion with the family's priorities
Give the family specific strategies to promote child development Develop and test approaches and strategies in collaboration with the family
Create strategies that require the interventionist, or another person not usually a part of the activity, to help the family member successfully apply the strategy Create strategies that the family member can easily use when the interventionist is not present
Give the family a way to apply the strategies when the family already has a way to do so (e.g., suggest a turn-taking game) Ask the family for ideas on how best to apply the strategies (e.g., ask the family for any interactive activities they like to play)
Work directly with the child while the parent either watches or “assists” by engaging the child in the activity Interact with the child for the explicit purpose of demonstrating to the family how to use a strategy, and the child's response (or asking the family to identify the child's response)
Leave without knowing if the family understands, is comfortable with, and can effectively use the approaches Have the family practice the strategies during the visit and share feedback so that both family and professional know the family can and will use them in between visits.