TCI Global Toolkit: Coaching EssentialsTCI’s Coaching Model
This lesson describes TCI’s coaching model and its 9-step process, along with how it has been operationalized and lessons learned from its first four years of use.
Introduction to TCI’s Coaching Model
TCI’s approach to coaching adds an innovation that is unique to TCI: a locally owned and implemented model of coaching with a systematic yet flexible process to bring about long-term, sustainable transformation. TCI hubs—based in East Africa, Francophone West Africa, India, Nigeria and Philippines—embed coaching systems within local structures to facilitate and produce the rapid, cost-efficient expansion of accessible, quality urban family planning and adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health (AYSRH) information and services, led and sustained by stakeholders in TCI geographies.
TCI uses a blended learning approach to meet the needs of city managers, implementers and other community members in partner geographies. Coaching is highly tailored and takes into account several factors including the:
- Needs of the individual coachee(s) and/or teams being coached
- Coachees’ existing knowledge, skills, and confidence in identifying, adapting, and applying solutions
- Specific complexities of the challenge, task(s), or problems at hand
At times, TCI’s coaching support may include different learning and development methods, such as teaching, training and mentorship in addition to coaching. The specific support provided is tailored to the coachees’ existing knowledge, capacity and needs, which evolve over time.
TCI’s definition of coaching: A structured yet flexible process by which coachees are empowered to make positive changes in their internal motivation, knowledge, skills and ability to address needs; solve problems; take on new challenges; improve individual performance; achieve individual, team and organizational objectives; and coach others in their geographies.
TCI’s “Lead, Assist, Observe” Coaching Model
Coaching typically starts out at high intensity, but city managers and implementers expect this to gradually taper off as implementation progresses and city teams gain confidence—what we refer to as the “Lead, Assist, Observe” Coaching Model. TCI has found that demonstration of the feasibility, acceptability and impact of the proven high-impact interventions has strengthened local governments’ commitments, often resulting in additional financial expenditure and further scale up and institutionalization of the proven interventions and graduation from TCI’s direct support.
Experienced TCI cities transition from receiving coaching support to providing support to newer cities, allowing TCI to support a growing number of geographies. In addition, city implementers, as well as coaches, receive support from TCI University (TCI-U). This web-based platform serves as an open “university without walls,” providing a continuous learning environment for an unlimited number of city teams as demand for the model increases over time. TCI-U ensures consistency in implementation of proven interventions across diverse geographies through its library of curated toolkits, with ready-to-use but easy-to-adapt templates, guidelines, job aids and training materials and its online community of practice.
TCI’s coaching approach is founded on the conceit that individuals and teams are capable of generating their own solutions, with the coach supplying supportive, experience-based and discovery-based approaches and frameworks. TCI’s coaching approach centers on helping others expand their view: to shift from seeing only problems that need to be ‘solved,’ to recognizing that opportunity is often disguised as obstacles.
TCI introduced a nine-step process to structure coaching interactions to ensure consistent, high quality implementation. The process is organized into four main sections for an effective coaching conversation: Agenda (steps 1-4), Awareness (step 5), Action (step 6) and Accountability (steps 7-9).
However, there may be cases when a particular coachee is farther along in the process and may not need to go through each of the nine steps. Coaches must be carefully attuned to the needs of coachees and make adjustments to the process as they see fit. It is collaborative and not didactic. It can be structured but also spontaneous as TCI hub staff and trained coaches develop strong relationships with their coachees. As a result, coaching remains more of an art than a science.
How is TCI Coaching Operationalized?
TCI’s coaching approach has been adapted by its four hubs to ensure that it is right-sized for the contexts in which they work. However, the coaching interactions typically fall into two types: Planned and On-Demand. The type of coaching is determined by who catalyzes it and why.
Coaching Initiated By
- Periodic, planned, one-to-one or group coaching that supports:
- Dissemination and use of TCI tools for expression of interest and gap analysis and program design processes
- Identification, adaptation and implementation of TCI-U proven approaches and tools
- Monitoring, improving data systems and use of data for decision-making
- Institutionalizing TCI approaches into health systems, budgets and work plans
- Scale-up and diffusion of TCI approaches beyond TCI-supported geographies
- Step-down coaching for supervision, management and on-the-job training
- Frequency, content and style fluctuates over time
- Stakeholder/coachee reaches out to request one-to-one or group coaching through TCI-U or by contacting a TCI hub coach
- TCI hub assesses available resources for request based on both need and opportunity and responds by matching a qualified TCI coach to address the expressed need/coaching request
- Coachee and coach work together to articulate the need/problem, improvement objective and solutions, including use of TCI-U approaches and tools
In addition, TCI provides ad-hoc coaching to political and health leadership. However, delivery of this type of coaching is not tracked as coaching sessions given that they take place during advocacy visits and general stakeholder engagement.
Frequency of Coaching Interactions: Coaching may take the form of more frequent coaching interactions that may last 3-6 months versus a one-time coaching session. For example, the planned coaching session on the program design template may begin with a face-to-face coaching session but then require coaching follow-up over a period of time, while on-demand coaching may result in communication via WhatsApp, phone calls, or even the TCI-U website and may be completed with a response to the coaching question.
Read the Coaching Technical Brief to learn more about how TCI has operationalized its coaching model.
TCI’s coaching approach is generally similar across hubs, leveraging existing local structures and processes, but with different touch points for each program area—service delivery and supplies, demand generation, advocacy, data systems and use and AYSRH. For example, for service delivery interventions, each hub has found success in establishing and/or strengthening quality improvement teams and aligning on-the-job coaching with the existing supportive supervision workflows and meetings at the facility. In addition, coaching can lead to different types of advocacy and diffusion of the proven interventions. For example, when the hub sees that an intervention is having impact, the data are shared with TCI stakeholders and TCI can better advocate to scale-up the approach through other geographies’ work plans.
TCI has found the following elements to be critical to the success of its coaching model:
Knowledgeable about local health system, political and socio-cultural environment
- TCI hub staff master coaches should have an in-depth knowledge of the local health system and decision-making apparatus
- TCI hub staff in partnership with local government stakeholders should proactively identify key decision-makers to champion and be involved in the coaching model
- TCI hub staff master coaches should actively participate in existing planning bodies, working groups, and partner coordination for a with local government stakeholders
- TCI hub staff master coaches should work with local government stakeholders to identify and strengthen an institutional home or establish one to oversee implementation of TCI proven interventions
- TCI hub staff master coaches should work with local government stakeholders to align the proven interventions with existing geography processes, such as quality improvement teams, supportive supervision processes and data review meetings, among others
Good relationships established between coaches and coachees
- Establish geographic proximity between the coaches and coachees, if not sharing office space in the same location then at least ensuring that the presence of TCI coaches is regularly felt by the local stakeholders
- Identify and train a pool of implementers to serve as coaches related to specific interventions
- Be respectful of the coachee’s level of authority when engaging and providing coaching; be mindful of the language that is used to describe coaching and speak to the coachee’s goals
- Lead by listening and empowering coachees; invest time in building a rapport with stakeholders and potential coachees
- Ensure coaches are viewed as equal partners, not outsiders
- Set the tone of coaching for self-reliance and ownership from the outset, as embedded TCI coaches may sometimes be called upon as an extra set of hands in resource-limited settings with few staff in the Family Planning Unit of government systems
Comfortable with coaching process and confident and skilled in coaching content
- Be flexible given that the coaching process should be led by the coachees’ needs and requests
- Demonstrate success with the proven interventions to build confidence and capacity of local stakeholders and showcase results as the results achieved by the city team, not TCI
- Provide coaching on management processes and skills; this is equally, if not more important than purely technical coaching on the execution of TCI proven approaches
Apart from the technical aspects of coaching, as a coach there are some emotional attributes, we should ensure that the coach has at least 70% of these attributes and skills. Emotional intelligence is key. … You need to be able to reach your coachee. It goes beyond the TA [technical assistance] that you are providing. You need to reach beyond. So, you should be able to put yourself in the position of the coachee and know what is happening any time.” — State Program Coordinator, Ogun state, Nigeria
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Which of the following does TCI’s coaching model NOT take into account?CorrectIncorrect
TCI’s coaching model can be described as:CorrectIncorrect
True or false: Proactive, or planned, coaching is usually initiated by a TCI coach, while on-demand coaching is usually requested by a stakeholder in a TCI geography.CorrectIncorrect
True or false: TCI Coaches maintain a high level of contact with their coachees and take the lead throughout the entire process.CorrectIncorrect
TCI’s 9-step process is organized into 4 main sections. “Objective Setting” falls under which of the 4 main sections?CorrectIncorrect