Coaching is a constructive, empathic, respectful, and positive interaction between a home visitor and an experienced and skilled coach.  This interaction supports the skill building and competencies of the home visitor to work more effectively with families.  It consists of discussions around strengths and challenges, reviews of home visitor interactions with caregivers, and performance-based feedback on defined skills and competencies.

The goals of coaching are to build performance self-efficacy, offer learning and practice of skills using successive approximations, create an action plan, and review future performance at subsequent visits.  Coaches will use and demonstrate the same motivational communication skills in the coaching that home visitors are to use with caregivers and families (a parallel process).


Benefits of Coaching

  • Better than training for motivational communication skills alone
  • Increases goal attainment and reduces stress 
  • Enhances psychological wellbeing
  • Improves life satisfaction
  • Increases resilience
  • Practice increases home visiting skills
  • Practice predicts stronger family outcomes 


Who Can Do Coaching?

  • Someone who can or knows how to perform the skill and can demonstrate
  • Someone who can teach the skill
  • Someone who has the patience to work with beginners and shape behaviors
  • Someone who is encouraging and also able to point out deficiencies gently and offer suggestions to modify behaviors

Key Coaching Skills

  • Building trusting relationships
  • Monitoring how home visitors work with caregivers
  • Offer feedback using Elicit-Provide-Elicit (see Tools: Communications Skills)
  • Identify problematic performance and the skills that need to be developed/refined
  • Practice the skills with the home visitor
  • Apply skills (set goals for using skills with clients)
  • Debrief the outcome and plan next steps


Coaches Will Coach Home Visitors to:

  • Build Core Communication and Negotiation skills
  • Facilitate Caregiver Decisional Considerations
  • Manage Ambivalence
  • Build a decisional balance that supports change
  • Develop…
    • a “good” goal (finding a destination)
    • a reasonable plan
    • support putting the plan into action
    • checking on how it is working
    • revising goal when necessary


  • Program monitoring
  • Management of employees
  • Quality control
  • Capacity building for staff
  • There are different types of supervision depending on:
    • Format (Individual, Group, Telephone, Skype
    • Administrative
    • Curriculum/Problem Solving
    • Reflective


  • Focused on skills development of interactions with caregivers
  • Identifying weaknesses
  • Action Plan
  • Using motivational communication to explore interactions
  • Goals include
    • Enhancing GPS skills
    • Reducing negative interactions
    • Better able to use motivational spirit & strategies
    • Effective information sharing
    • Collaboration with caregiver