Early Intervention Strategies for Success

Sharing What Works in Supporting Infants & Toddlers and the Families in Early Intervention

Early Intervention Strategies for Success, Tips, Insight and Support for EI Practitioners


  • Join Us
  • All
  • VA’s Coaching Facilitation Guide – A New Tool for Local Coaching Leaders(current)

In Virginia, we’ve spent the past few years working hard to learn about and adopt coaching practices. Six regions in our state have completed two Cover of Virginia's Coaching Facilitation Guidelevels of coaching training for master coaches and coaching teams. In total, 84 Master Coaches and 278 coaching team members participated in training and follow-up technical assistance with the coaching gurus, Dr. Dathan Rush and Dr. M’Lisa Shelden. We’ve seen impressive regional efforts blossom, led by master coaches and team members who are dedicated to using coaching when interacting with families. Now, we are in a phase of trying to figure out how to sustain this effort, to continue the learning and growth that began, for us, back in 2012.

You Asked For It…

Over the past few years, we’ve repeatedly heard from master coaches and supervisors that they just weren’t sure how to support their colleagues and staff to continuing their coaching work. Folks were concerned that service providers were sliding back into their old ways – playing with the child for the whole visit, giving the parent homework, etc. They asked for more support, PowerPoints or something that they could use in their local programs or regions to keep coaching fresh and continue the learning process. From those discussions, we decided to put together a guide to help these local leaders do just that.

We convened a small workgroup of master coaches who met monthly to brainstorm professional development activities that could be easily implemented as a book study to extend the learning from The Early Childhood Coaching Handbook (Rush & Shelden, 2011). This work culminated in our newest resource, Virginia’s Coaching Facilitation Guide (PDF, New Window). The guide is now posted on the Coaching in Early Intervention topic page on the Virginia Early Intervention Professional Development Center site. Soon, a PowerPoint will also be posted that can be used to provide an orientation to coaching practices for new service providers.

And Here It Is…Virginia’s Coaching Facilitation Guide

The Coaching Facilitation Guide is intended to be used by master coaches and program leaders to facilitate discussion at regular meetings about the use of coaching during EI visits. These could be staff meetings, regional provider meetings, or even at a local community of practice. If your program doesn’t have one of these meetings currently scheduled, you could use the guide to get a regular coaching group meeting off the ground. Or, you could plan to do one activity at a meeting that is already on the books. How you use the guide is up to you!

Here’s a quick peek at the Coaching Facilitation Guide’s contents:

  • Introduction and Facilitation Tips
  • Section 1 – What is Coaching in Early Intervention?
  • Section 2 – Characteristics & Beliefs of EI Practitioners Who Use Coaching
  • Section 3 – Interacting with Parents & Caregivers
  • Section 4 – Implementing the Components of Coaching during EI Visits
  • Section 5 – Coaching Families & Caregivers in Special Situations
  • Conclusion

Each section has from 3-9 activities, each of which include specific instructions (including the purpose of the activity, materials needed, length of time, and steps to facilitate the activity), links, handouts, and answer keys. Guidance for what to do before, during, and at the end of each meeting during which you use the activities is also provided. Most of these activities have been piloted at regional coaching groups and edited based on user feedback.

The Coaching Facilitation Guide is free to use, and we would love to hear how you’re using it. We want to know about successes and challenges; any feedback is always welcome. We hope the Guide will help you and your staff avoid the backslide into old practices and extend the coaching work in your program and across the state!

Implementation Project – Get Involved!

We are just beginning an implementation project to support the use of the Coaching Facilitation Guide in Virginia. The project will include 6 months of online implementation support for local leaders who are using the guide in their localities. Local coaching leaders will be meet online 1x/month to discuss related topics for each section of the Guide, process their experiences with using it, and plan for how to use each section with their staff/colleagues. We are currently recruiting Virginia leaders by October 16th who are able to commit to the 6 month support. If you’re interested, please either comment below or email me at dcchildress@vcu.edu.

Questions? Ideas? Thoughts about how you can use the guide in your program?

Let me know in the comments below!

For more detailed information about Virginia’s Coaching Facilitation Guide (PDF, New Window) and the implementation project, check out the archived webinar, 3…2…1…Blast Off! – Launching Virginia’s Coaching Facilitation Guide.

2 comments on “VA’s Coaching Facilitation Guide – A New Tool for Local Coaching Leaders

  • Jeff M says:

    This is awesome! What an incredible resource for all of us! Thank you so much, all of you, for creating this tool. I hope that we can use it here as a way to facilitate the learning of our staff as we transition to a coaching model. What great timing!

    • Hi Jeff! I’m so glad you like the Guide…we’re pretty excited about it. 🙂 Please keep me posted if your team does use it and let me know if they have any feedback. I’d love to hear if it helps with the teaming work you’ve been trying to do with your program.


Leave Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

VCUE Logo, ITC Log, Infant Toddler Connection of Virginia Logo and Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services