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Change isn't easy. The advent of quality rating systems and other quality initiatives require professionals to engage in continuous improvement. States and other agencies provide itinerant consultants to help support early childhood and school age programs as they navigate the change needed to improve their quality. These consultants work with family child care homes, child care centers, and school-age and youth development programs, offering knowledge and guidance on a variety of aspects in care and education.

A study conducted in 2006 by Debra J. Ackerman, Ph.D., National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University showed the need for consultants to have specialized knowledge in the consulting process. Based on this research, the Francis Institute for Child and Youth Development created Strengths-Based Coaching®: A Journey Into Coaching for Technical Assistance Specialists and Consultants. This training provides a systematic process for guiding adults through quality improvement based on their strengths. Since 2006 we have offered 17 trainings for 269 consultants and Head Start Education Specialists in the state of Missouri and 196 consultants in Kansas, Louisiana and Tennessee.

"Strengths-Based Coaching® has helped our Quality Improvement Coaches to bring focus to each visit with the clients they serve. Our coaches now have the skills and knowledge they need in order to work as a team with their clients to develop and communicate a clear purpose for their quality improvement work together."

-Jennifer Hecker,
Director, Kansas Quality Rating System, KACCRRA

In addition to these two Strengths-Based Coaching® trainings, we have offered 13 trainings on special topics in Strengths-Based CoachingTM in Missouri, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee, training a total of 1,039 participants.

Recognizing the value of Strengths-Based CoachingTM as a training tool for their consultants, Tennessee purchased a licensing agreement to present Strengths-Based CoachingTM in their state. They have completed their first training of 150 consultants.

Perhaps most important for the field of early childhood and school-age consultation, the National Association for Child Care Resource and Referral (NACCRRA) has recognized Strengths-Based Coaching® as best practice for all consultants.

Initial funding for the Strengths-Based Coaching® project was provided by the Metropolitan Council on Early Learning and the Francis Family Foundation.