Supervise A Coaching Team

mother and kids with hot air balloons

For coaches to fully implement Family-Centered Coaching, they need the support of their organizations–and perhaps more importantly, the support of their direct supervisor. Family-Centered Coaching requires an expanded skill set and a different approach to working with participants. Usually it also requires deeper relationships and accountability both within organizations and across partners.

To succeed in their jobs, coaches need support from supervisors to:

  • Structure their work toward a family-centered approach
  • Problem-solve and support individual family situations
  • Juggle between coaching families and compliance requirements that some coaches must focus on as part of their jobs
  • Make connections to staff and referral sources related to the Wheel of Life
  • Develop accountability mechanisms across staff and referral partners
  • Receive training in implicit bias, racial equity, motivational interviewing, and goal-setting
  • Gain the support of other staff and the organization as a whole.

Supervisors can mirror the family-coaching approach of line staff with families by utilizing a coaching approach with their staff. This offers the opportunity to demonstrate to staff the benefits of a strength-based coaching approach as well as offer greater understanding to supervisors of the challenges in implementing coaching, which in turn will support the work of line staff. Supervisors can work with staff using inquiry, support, goal-setting, and other tools to support staff in their daily work.

Fortunately, a stellar set of available tools already incorporate this approach. Utah’s Department of Human Services recognized the benefit of training supervisors in how to coach their front-line staff and developed a comprehensive three-session training for supervisors in their Family-Focused Case Management and Coaching Materials ( The supervisory training curriculum includes:

The training includes a number of tools, including a supervisor self-assessment, an assessment of supervisory coaching styles, some clear reference graphics for easy review, and some practice scenarios.

Similarly, the University of California, Davis, has developed a training manual to support front-line staff ( to implement coaching approaches in the child welfare system. Two chapters in particular offer tools for supervisors to support staff. Chapter four focuses on capacity- building for coaches and Chapter nine discusses supervisors as coaches and offers several rating scales for supervisors and coaches to assess their skills.

Both of these tools offer supervisors in-depth information and resources to support a coaching approach to supervision that is reinforcing of the family-centered coaching approach, and that can be part of an organization’s shift toward a strength-based approach in organizational culture and operations.