Posted Wednesday, May 7, 2014 by Team Northwoods

Cookie Cutter Training Won’t Cut It for Protective Services Part 5: Northwoods Coach Model

We caught up with three Northwoodians with expertise in our mobility solution for protective services to find out why our training approach – Northwoods’ Coach Model – resonates so well with social workers. 

Coach-Model-Headshot-Rich-Bowlen Coach-Model-Headshot-Charles-Barber Coach-Model-Headshot-Matt-Leasure The result is this 7-part blog and video series featuring contributions by Rich Bowlen, Director, Protective Services; Charles Barber, Solution Analyst; and Matt Leasure, Project Manager. 

Northwoods Coach Model

When you were a kid, did you ever have a coach who never really played the sport? The coach probably read a few books or even went to a coaching class, then tried to help you learn how to play. Your team probably missed out on a few extra drills or tips that the team down the street got because that coach used to play the sport and could share that in-depth knowledge from experience.

If so, you were exposed early to the kid equivalent of the typical “train-the-trainer” classes where the trainer is trained, then trains all end users. In this model, the new trainer usually has to pass on the training without the opportunity for much, if any, experience actually using the product. Unfortunately, something is usually lost in translation.

Northwoods knows it is important that professional trainers with experience in human services work directly with every end user at agencies that use our software. That’s where our approach to training in protective services come in.

(A Minnesota supervisor, Rich and Matt give an overview and Northwoods' Coach Model, and what it really means to social workers, in this short video.)

The Coach Model was born out of Northwoods’ mission to ensure agencies are successful after technology is implemented and Northwoods staff is no longer on site. It was designed specifically for protective services social workers to accommodate their complex environment, which is unlike any other profession.

The tenant of the Coach Model is fairly simple: train a small group of power users to become the champions for the project to help build momentum, empower change, and mitigate regression. As the champions, the head coach and assistant coaches, gain knowledge of the software and new processes, they can help encourage workers until the software becomes something that is a seamless part of the agency. These power users not only become champions for the new technology, but also champions for successful agency transformation by supporting their peers. It helps reduce the risk of regression and helps social workers incorporate the software into the agency’s business processes, ultimately ensuring end user adoption.

Learn more about Northwoods’ Coach Model by downloading the business brief, Cookie Cutter Training Won't Cut it for Protective Services.

View the series:

Part 1: The Typical Approach
Part 2: Protective Services is Different, You Have to Train Different
Part 3: We Train on the Job, Not Just in the Classroom
Part 4: It’s Not About the Software, It’s About the Process Change
Part 5: Northwoods Coach Model
Part 6: What does it Mean to be a Coach?
Part 7: What to Expect After Northwoods Leaves