How the Coach Approach Helps You Master Telepractice

In this article I discuss how coaching is best practice for early childhood intervention practitioners especially when delivering services via telehealth.

Using the Coach Approach can help you and the families you treat achieve real outcomes in the virtual world.

How confident do you feel in your ability to coach someone all the way to success on the phone or using a video conference platform? (ie Zoom)

A Real World Example

Three months ago, I was set to run my face to face Coach Approach workshop for two Allied Health Private Practices. Then COVID19 happened. Despite a strong preference for live training, we no longer had a choice. It was either go virtual or not at all. We decided to keep the show on the road!

The Practices had a genuine desire to improve the team’s coaching mindset and skills. They also understood the importance of coaching to deliver a successful on-line intervention. This is supported by current research.

The literature is very clear. It spells out that Coaching is a fundamental component to successful on-line intervention. It discusses the need for training and support to providers on the use of coaching strategies in their work with families. It confirms that when providers are confident in their use of coaching, they become more comfortable and impactful in using telehealth.

Needless to say, if you can coach virtually, you can generalise this skill to be more effective in face to face interactions. (Rush & Sheldon, 2011),

Going Virtual

Coaching and short training sessions on Zoom were not new for me, but 2 full days??? It was time to experiment with something new! Here was a great opportunity to walk my own coaching talk, be flexible, be adaptable and be creative…. and the workshop turned out to be a great success.

We spent 2 days engaged in valuable discussions. We saw demonstrations, and practiced. We experimented and reflected. It was a full gamut of coaching competency topics.

The Workshops

Here are a few topics that were covered – all relevant to interactions in the virtual world and just as easily applied in face-to-face interactions.

1. Setting the Scene

We often underestimate the importance of taking enough time at the start to set the coaching scene. Unmet expectations lead to dissatisfied clients, and this is an avoidable experience.

  • How do you set the scene for success? How do you create shared understanding, shared meaning and shared goals & purpose?

The faster you are able to build rapport and focus your client on the value of the work to be done, the more effective you will be in your intervention on-line.

2. The Narratives that Drive Actions

We often focus on the “stories” or perspectives that clients bring to our sessions.

  • How aware are you of the biases and agendas that you bring to your sessions?

Much of this is not at a conscious awareness level, yet it most certainly determines how the session goes! I wonder how aware you are of what you bring and what positive and negative impacts result?

3. Effective Listening

One of the most interesting outcomes from our Foundation Coach Approach workshop related to the participants being open to questioning how well they really listen.

They came to better understand listening from a neuroscientific perspective. This gave them a whole new dimension to the art of listening.

  • Exactly how do you listen not just to understand but rather to “connect”?
  • How do you listen so that you do not judge?
  • How do you suspend your instinct to listen in a way that confirms or rejects what you know?

4. Powerful Questions

  • What are the characteristics of powerful questions, that are able to shift a person from stuck to possibility?

5. The Dance of Asking & Listening

The dance between asking and listening in the context of silence and holding space were the most exciting discoveries of the 2 days together.

One of the most often shared insights about coaching was that what seems a simple skill is actually far more complex and challenging than it can appear on the surface. Embracing a coaching mindset is what elevates your coaching practice to the next level.

Coaching is so much more than just a conversation of asking and listening.

It is how you hold space for possibility. Sometimes in silence. Sometimes in action or inaction.

Coaching can look different for different clients, depending on what they need. Only a solid coaching mindset will guide you beyond what you think is their need.

To my way of thinking, Coaching could simply be described as “advanced communication skills”, something that everyone can always hone! More importantly however, it is the vehicle with which we deliver Best Practice in Early Childhood Intervention. This is relevant whether your services are delivered face to face or virtually. I also describe coaching

Learning to embody a coaching mindset is a journey that has no end. The skills and insights learned are beneficial to the effectiveness of the work we do with clients. It is also a rewarding and personally impactful life changing experience.

No matter your level of competence, there always more we can learn.

Where are you in your Coaching Journey?

Are you a novice, who is focused on “how do I do this coaching thing?” Are you a competent coach who has experience, understands models and is clear on “what I think would be helpful”? Or are you a master coach who is fully focused not on what you think, but on the client, their context, what they need and what will be most useful to this person?

Where would you like to be in your coaching journey? I can help you get there.

Hi there! I’m Jacqui Snider and I’m here to help you and your business grow and flourish.

As an Occupational Therapist and Workplace Culture Coach and Trainer, I am passionate about helping individuals and organisations develop better home and workplace practices that everyone enjoys being part of. With more than 35 years of coaching experience, I have personally coached and trained in excess of 350 leaders, bringing about transformational change in both individuals and teams.

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