The OhioKAN Coaching Framework is a strengths-based, structured learning process that supports the implementation, delivery, and continuous improvement of the OhioKAN program. The OhioKAN Coaching Framework incorporates several key best practice coaching models, which include five core components: collaborative goal setting, observation, action and practice, reflection, and feedback. Through this framework, Coaches build and reinforce core practice skills with OhioKAN Navigators to support fidelity to the OhioKAN model to ensure children and families are equitably served and supported. Coaches serve as a resource and partner to Navigators as they develop and refine their skills to engage and serve kinship and adoptive families.
The Coaching Framework embodies a reflective and structured learning approach that supports Navigators to better understand their role and relate practice to the key family and community-level outcomes of the OhioKAN Theory of Change. This includes a dedicated safe space to discuss and reflect on how to best incorporate the inclusion, diversity, equity, and access (IDEA) principles in everyday practice as a Navigator. Such discussions could include debrief sessions about how to best advocate for families that are facing expressed oppression, how to ensure equitable service referrals, and reflection on one's own identity and implicit bias.
Core Components of OhioKAN Coaching
1. Collaborative Goal Setting
The coaching environment is designed to be encouraging and supportive for the Navigator to learn, ask questions, and build trust with the Coach. The Coach should strive to make each coaching session a space for the Navigator to reflect and think on their practice, performance, and goals. By setting goals collaboratively, the Coach and Navigator clarify the focus of their coaching relationship. Goals are focused on developing and refining the core practice skills for the Navigator, ensuring understanding of documentation and data integrity needs, practicing in an equity-oriented and inclusive manner, and achieving OhioKAN family and community-level outcomes. When creating and setting goals, Coaches apply the S.M.A.R.T. goal method with their Navigators. S.M.A.R.T. goals are specific, measurable, achievable, result-focused, and time-limited. The Coach is responsible for helping the Navigator monitor progress towards their goals, identifying next steps to achieve those goals through joint action planning, developing strategies to address opportunities for growth in individual practice, and guiding the Navigator’s learning, skill adoption, and competency in role responsibilities.
2. Action and Practice
Navigators intentionally apply the new skills they have learned through their OhioKAN training and coaching sessions when engaging directly with OhioKAN families and while completing required service episode documentation. Throughout the coaching relationship, to further reinforce Navigators’ skills development and ensure program fidelity, Coaches will continuously demonstrate the Navigators’ key program behaviors and activities, which include opening an OhioKAN service episode, assessing a family’s needs, providing referrals, and supporting the family through ongoing advocacy. Coaches also model the Navigator’s Core Practice Skills of engagement, inclusion, assessment, intervention, collaboration, active learner, and reflection to facilitate the Navigators’ understanding and implementation of the OhioKAN program.
Coaches observe their Navigators to support performance, fidelity to the OhioKAN program, alignment with the IDEA principles, and identify areas to provide additional support. This is critical for the Coach to deliver targeted feedback to the Navigator about strengths and growth areas for developing core practice skills and effectively partnering with OhioKAN families. Coaches may observe Navigators’ everyday practice both during scheduled engagements with OhioKAN families as well as through case consultation and documentation review. An observation rubric guides the Coach’s assessment of the Navigator’s core practice skill level and contributions towards OhioKAN family and community-level outcomes. Observation is an important part of our sustained commitment as it allows us to reflect on how our work impacts children, youth, and families - providing us with the opportunity to grow and improve.
A reflective practice within the structured coaching process facilitates meaningful learning and builds trust between the Coach and Navigator. Coaches foster a learning environment that encourages and affirms vulnerability for Navigators to feel comfortable discussing areas where they may be struggling and need coaching support. Rather than overthink past decisions and actions, reflection with Coaches encourages Navigators to learn from their practice, consider how it relates to their goals and the OhioKAN theory of change, and identify strengths and growth areas. To promote self-reflection and individual analysis, Navigators are encouraged to keep a journal or log to reflect on their practice in between coaching sessions. Coaches can provide a series of questions to help prompt reflections, which can then be explored during coaching sessions. Reflection questions could include topics such as the use of Navigator’s core practice skills, OhioKAN family and community-level outcomes, reflection of implicit bias and the use of the six inclusion, diversity, equity, and access (IDEA) principles, and data integrity. Coaches encourage learning and monitor progress towards achieving goals by asking questions when debriefing with Navigators and actively listening to their responses and individual reflections. Coaches are also encouraged to keep a journal following each coaching session to reflect on their own coaching practice.
Following observation and reflection, structured, timely, and clear feedback between Coaches and their Navigators is the final core component of the OhioKAN Coaching Framework. Coaches share feedback through collaborative, strengths-based discussions to support Navigators in their practice and service delivery. It is especially effective when Coaches apply motivational interviewing techniques and principles: open-ended questions, affirmations, reflective listening, and summary statements (OARS) when delivering feedback. This informed approach builds Navigators’ confidence and empowers them to draw from their experiences collaborating with OhioKAN families and the larger community to solve problems as they arise. In this way, Navigators drive their own improvement and performance achievement. Coaches regularly provide feedback to Navigators; Navigators are also encouraged to share feedback to Coaches about strengths and growth areas for the coaching relationship. The Navigator’s perspective is valuable to strengthening the coaching dynamic, fostering a trusting environment, and ensuring that the coaching relationship effectively supports the Navigator in their practice and service delivery.
Feedback is an opportunity for Coaches to transfer knowledge in a constructive way that not only equips the Navigators with the necessary skill set to perform their role, but also builds trust with the Navigators. Aspects of the Navigator’s training may be repeated during feedback to facilitate learning and bolster skill adoption and development. The ladder of feedback method is an effective tool that Coaches will follow when preparing and sharing feedback with Navigators:
OhioKAN Coaches maintain regular contact with their Navigators through weekly coaching sessions (at minimum) and may use a facilitation guide and standard agenda template to ensure consistent engagement. Coaching sessions may also include the Navigator’s partnering supervisor to further strengthen the supervisory relationship. Throughout the coaching partnership, the Coach may create additional coaching sessions for transfer of learning activities with other Navigators in the region. The OhioKAN Coaching Framework is flexible to allow the Coaches to meet the Navigators at their individual skill level and facilitate necessary learning. As Navigators become more experienced in their role and better equipped with the knowledge and skill set to implement the OhioKAN model with fidelity, the frequency and nature of coaching sessions may evolve.
Tools to Support OhioKAN Coaching Framework
- Coach Practice Profile
- Observation Checklist
- Coaching Session Facilitation Guide with Standard Agenda Template
- Reflection Questions
- Goal Setting Worksheet
Core Practice Skills for Coaches
- Active Listening
- Goal Setting