Throughout the nation in the child welfare and juvenile justice sectors, coaching is being utilized in all facets of work situations, at every level of the system, to focus on specific abilities and specific outcomes, enhance performance and develop deeper levels of critical thinking. Coaching helps learners attain new skills faster, more efficiently, and with a greater impact on practice.

We provide learning and practice opportunities to support child welfare and juvenile justice supervisors and managers to build their coaching competency. The integration of coaching strategies into supervision builds confidence, boosts morale, and encourages critical thinking skills among staff members. With the adoption of the coach approach, New York City’s child welfare and juvenile justice system creates a collaborative, strengths-based culture to support staff at all levels.

Building Coaching Competency

Building Coaching Competency, the foundational coaching learning program at the ACS Workforce Institute, is designed to build strong, capable, and well-trained supervisors and managers that can use effective coaching strategies with staff to ensure that children, youth, and families receive the highest quality of care.

Coaching Skills

The Building Coaching Competency program introduces skills and concepts that contribute to the long-term professional development of supervisors and staff and helps to build confidence, boost morale, and encourage critical thinking skills among staff members.

To learn more, hover over each specific skill for more information:


-Focused attention without distraction
-100% there and available
-Calm, centered, no rushing
Soft hold on agenda/flexibility


-Suspending judgment and biases
-Open, giving space, not thinking about response or rebuttal
-Listening for the meaning behind the words, watching body language, listening for nuance


-Suspending judgment and biases
-Open, giving space, not thinking about response or rebuttal
-Listening for the meaning behind the words, watching body language, listening for nuance


Asking real questions that are open-ended and invite reflection
- Asking more questions than giving direction or answers
- Asking questions that come from sincere curiosity and respect
- Asking questions that begin with “What” and “How”


- Giving strengths-based feedback; clear, specific, actionable, constructive
- Watching judgmental language; focus on the Coachee’s behavior and its impact
- Connecting feedback with the issue at hand


Genuine investment in the Coachee’s success
- Asking and understanding what the Coachee is committing to
- Setting clear and specific action items together; taking the time to follow up
- Being accountable; addressing breakdowns; modeling behavior

Foundational Learning Programs

Find out more information about our foundational Building Coaching Competency learning program as well as our adaptations Building Coaching Competency: Family Court Legal Services (FCLS) and Building Coaching Competency for Administrators.

To reinforce a coaching culture and support the transfer of learning from training to on-the-job application, we offer a multi-level coaching program that supports implementation and is easily accessible to supervisory and managerial staff.

Coaching to Support Transfer of Learning

Some researchers conclude that as little as 10-15% of what is learned in training ever finds its way to the job. Skills practice and performance support after training are two key variables that can positively influence transfer of learning to the workplace. Consistent skill practice coupled with strengths-based feedback promotes the transfer of learning to everyday practice.

Coaching is an effective strategy to support staff to integrate knowledge and apply newly learned skills into their everyday practice. As a result of supervisors and managers implementing coaching as part of their supervision, direct service staff has the necessary knowledge and skills to employ strengths-based engagement techniques, develop well-informed safety and risk assessments, make sound casework decisions, and provide high quality services to the children, youth, and families that we serve.

We have implemented several activities to support the transfer of learning of the coaching skills for supervisors and managers after completion of the Building Coaching Competency course. The development and implementation of these follow-up activities are necessary as training alone is insufficient for learners to apply what they learn in the real world.

Coaching Collaboratives

The Coaching Collaboratives are a follow up to the Building Coaching Competency (BCC) learning program designed to support supervisors and managers as they integrate coaching into their supervisory practice. These workshops give participants the opportunity to practice coaching, meet with colleagues to discuss successes in coaching, and gain support on how to continue to implement coaching in the workplace. Find out more information about our Coaching Collaboratives.

Advanced Coaching Phase I – Skill Refreshers

The Skill Refreshers are a series of specialized learning programs that highlight each of the coaching skills. There are a total of Five Skill Refreshers: presence & listening, reflecting/clarifying, questioning, feedback, and accountability. The Skill Refreshers are interactive and give participants an opportunity to practice using the coaching skills in order to gain proficiency and confidence in using the coach approach with their staff. Find out more information about our Skill Refreshers.

Advanced Coaching Phase II

Advanced Coaching Phase II is an interactive experience that allows participants to observe videos that demonstrate best case practice coaching scenarios. Participants can assess their understanding of Coaching Skills and Coaching Process by answering a series of knowledge-based and immersive questions. Phase II is offered as a classroom experience or interactive eLearn. Find out more information about Phase II: The Classroom Experience and Phase II: Interactive eLearning Experience.

Advanced Coaching Phase III

Advanced Coaching Phase III reinforces learners’ knowledge of the Coaching Process and provides opportunities to practice the Coach Approach through virtual instructor-led workshops and gamification engagement. Learners participate in a unique interactive experience that supports them in successfully implementing coaching with their staff. Find out more about Phase III and how to receive a Certificate of Completion for the entire Advanced Coaching Program.

Supporting Knowledge into Practice (SKIP)

Workforce Institute SKIP coaches are based onsite with supervisors and leaders throughout the Division of Child Protection and the Division of Youth and Family Justice. The coaches implement an array of research-based transfer of learning strategies to support supervisors and leaders in their competent and consistent use of the coach approach. As a result, supervisors and leaders create opportunities for direct service staff to practice strengths-based engagement and foundational motivational interviewing skills.