A model for coaching staff in Intensive Therapeutic Care: A guide for therapeutic specialists and supervisors – Practice guide

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Mar 2019

Written by Noel MacNamara

This guide has been developed for use by Therapeutic Specialists and Supervisors who have a role in supporting and developing the practice of staff. It covers the critical elements of effective approaches to coaching in the human services field and offers a useful model for coaching practice.

 

Introduction

 

Working with young people who have experienced adverse childhood experiences and trauma is complex, confusing and at times frightening. This work requires that staff are held in a positive web of support and assistance. If this is not provided thinking can become blocked and the context of the work stuck.

 

As a leader in the reforms to residential care in NSW, one of your most important roles is to lead practice and coach staff to enact a therapeutic approach to their care and support of young people. For many this will be a new way of practicing, requiring support, encouragement and opportunities for learning and reflection to assist them to embed these new ways of working into their everyday practice.

 

Embedding new knowledge and skills into practice takes time, persistence and support. Your role as a Therapeutic Specialist or Supervisor is key in walking alongside the staff as they embark on this process. Trying to shift practice is no easy undertaking. Doing so without a model makes this an even more complex task.

 

Covey (2004) suggested the need for influential leaders to embody and model a vision, the discipline to realize the vision, the passion and motivation to strive for it and conscience that guides ethical, respectful processes. To this end Covey talks about an ‘attitude of influence’. It is this ‘attitude of influence’ that is at the heart of the practice leadership role of the Therapeutic Specialist and Supervisor in supporting staff to enact a therapeutic approach to the care and support of young people.

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