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An Exploratory Study of the Process of Coaching Early Head Start Home Visitors
AuthorSteffen, Rose Marie
AdvisorWalsh, Bridget A.
Human Development and Family Studies
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The home visiting field has made calls for coaching home visitors. It is not fully understood what processes occur during coaching sessions with home visitors as the coachees (i.e. participants). This study is undergirded by cross-field perspectives of coaching in the early childhood education (ECE) and family life education (FLE) fields to gain a better understanding of what could be occurring during home visiting coaching sessions with home visitors. Using theoretical frameworks of transformative learning theory and liberation pedagogy, this study aimed to better understand what is occurring during coaching of home visitors. Participants (N = 5) are from one Early Head Start-Home-Based Option (EHS-HBO) site at one university. Each participant completed seven (one participant completed eight) individualized coaching sessions each across 4 months for a total of 36 coaching sessions. Of these, 15 were analyzed and coded to capture the beginning, middle, and end sessions for each home visitor. Two analysts independently used the method of initial, focused, and thematic coding (Saldaña, 2016). A consensus procedure was used to discuss agreement and disagreement. This consensus coding was then entered into MAXQDA. A third analyst independently coded at the focused level and Cohen’s kappa was .81 overall. One matrix per participant and coach dyad was created and then a trajectory analysis approach was used. Saldaña’s (2003) 16 questions helped structure the analytic process for the qualitative longitudinal data. The results of the analysis showed an individualized and standardized coaching experience beginning with relationship building, solution and problem identification and goal setting and ending with action steps and results, evaluation, and accountability discussion. Six focused codes emerged from the data: (a) reflective thinking; (b) questions that align with family life coaching (FLC); (c) additional communication to promote talk; (d) supportive talk; (e) supplied information; and (f) short negative or neutral reactions. The longitudinal analysis revealed that relationship building occurred throughout the coaching process and each home visitor moved through the coaching steps at different times.