Family-Centered Coaching FAQ

mother and kids with hot air balloons

Welcome to our FAQ! These are the frequently asked questions we often receive about Family-Centered Coaching. If you don’t see your question answered here, please reach out at You can also start by exploring the toolkit with this overview.

How is coaching different from case management?

Coaching is built on the premise that participants are capable, resourceful, and creative. Coaches build relationships and create space for people to build awareness, try on new perspectives, and rediscover their strengths and support networks. Coaches use a variety of tools, skills, and conversation techniques to learn about each person’s needs, goals, and desires.

  • Case management addresses specific issues, service need, or response that can be opened or closed over a period of time. It may take the form of crisis intervention. 
  • Coaching engages participants in a learning conversation to identify the way the participant wants to move forward through strengths-based action plan.

Coaches can be anyone who provides one-on-one services, such as case managers, family-support workers, counselors, and many others. 

How is Family-Centered Coaching different from other coaching approaches in human services?
Family-Centered Coaching was developed to bring the best of coaching practice into a comprehensive, living toolkit that:

  • Centers on Family: Whether coaches work in workforce development, early learning, housing or some other program, they use Family-Centered Coaching to bring the strength, motivation, and support of family into the coaching conversation.
  • Integrates Case Management: The approach integrates case management into a fluid practice of service that centers on a coaching mindset. Identifying when to use each approach is one of the central skills of Family-Centered Coaching.
  • Bakes in Racial Equity: Family-Centered Coaching recognizes that equity is integral to the process of coaching as well as a necessary outcome to work towards. When coaches understand the barriers, stress, and trauma that racism and poverty have on families’ lives, they can more fully understand the context of each participant’s life and how they can provide support. 

How can I use and share the toolkit in my organization?
Family-Centered Coaching is a set of free tools and resources open to anyone to apply in their work with families. Two tools you can use and share to get started any time are the Ready to Coach Checklist and Everyday Strategies for Working with Families.

Get in touch to learn more or for a free orientation to the online toolkit and training resources.

Is Family-Centered Coaching trauma-informed?

Family-Centered Coaching is designed with a trauma-informed care lens to support families who have experienced or are experiencing trauma, including trauma experienced due to institutional racism and poverty.  Its principles mirror and support those of Family-Centered Coaching, helping participants feel safe, valued, and in control at each stage of the relationship. 

Who is a parent and a family in Family-Centered Coaching?
Family-Centered Coaching purposefully defines a parent broadly. It may include grandparents, relatives, foster parents, and other caregivers who are responsible for keeping a family moving forward together.

Similarly, an expansive view of families, includes intentional and created families in their many varieties. A family could include parents and their children, stepparents, grandparents, foster parents, and guardians. Families may also include cousins, aunts, uncles, close friends, and any other people the participant considers part of the family. Family-centered coaching recognizes that families change over time and offers flexibility for families to determine their own definitions.

The Prosperity Agenda provides these resources as the designated national administrator of Family-Centered Coaching.