Posted Thursday, May 22, 2014 by Team Northwoods

Cookie Cutter Training Won’t Cut It for Protective Services Part 6: What Does it Mean to be a Coach?

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. 

What Does It Mean to be a Coach?

Energy. Patience. Encouragement. Knowledge. Dedication.

If you had a favorite fourth grade teacher or soccer coach, you probably already know those words are at least part of the answer to the question, “What does it mean to be a coach”?

We agree with all those characteristics, plus a few more, for people who are selected to be a coach as part of Northwoods’ Coach Model training for protective services agencies.

(What does it really mean to be a coach? Charles, Rich, and a Minnesota social worker explain in this quick video.)

Our Coach Model was designed to make sure human services agencies have successful technology projects, meaning end users fully understand how to use our software and embrace it into their everyday lives.

The model is built around having a dedicated head coach and assistant coaches inside the agency to ensure the success of the project before implementation, during training, and after Northwoods leaves.

Here are some characteristics of the head coach and assistant coach:

  • Effectively offers guidance to other workers
  • Comfortable with technology
  • Strong lead worker or manager
  • Well-versed in agency processes
  • Project champion

To make sure every social worker is adopting new technology, coaches try to resolve issues on the spot or within a short time frame during ride-alongs with workers to appointments, or during daily 15-minute huddles with the team to talk about lessons learned and answer questions.

The head coach and assistance coaches’ roles should not be taken lightly. Just like a sports team, an effective coach can inspire a team to stretch their abilities, support each other and achieve excellence, but it requires a lot of energy, patience, encouragement, knowledge, and dedication.

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