Now that we have had some discussion about all of the things that make a quit
coach great, let’s move to their training. As Stephen mentioned in his blog
post, there is a laundry list of things that must be addressed and emphasized
in the training of quit coaches. To give us her thoughts on the most critical aspects of training for quit coaches, NAQC
checked in with Donna Czukar, Senior Director
of Support Programs at the Ontario Division of the Canadian Cancer Society.
Here is what Donna had to say:
This could be
called one of those "it depends” answers.
Because, really, successful training addresses many elements and much
depends on the individuals, the environment, and the trainers. Let’s look at
some key points:
- Recruitment and selection of coaches:
hiring individuals who have the required skills and experience is
significant. However, those who also
demonstrate commitment and passion for helping others will inspire the team and
maintain a vitality that will be great for the services being offered.
- Content: theory, information, client type, protocols,
database and other system elements form a knowledge base required by all to do
the job. They need to be taught,
studied, reviewed and importantly, combined to offer an evidence-based
accountable service where people will feel welcome and motivated to pursue
their cessation goals.
- Individualism: while all coaches need to achieve the
competencies required of the position, they will come with different strengths
and will have a variety of learning styles.
Recognizing this early on will help the trainer identify how best to
adapt their material and modes of delivery to maximize both efficiency and
effectiveness of training.
- Environment and "osmosis”: learning from other team members is valuable
particularly when the environment is positive and collaborative. Mentoring can be consciously built into the
training process so that help is both offered and available on request. However, coaches will hear the tone and
tactics used by others in counseling and can be encouraged to incorporate
helpful elements of these into their conversations. This "osmosis” can have a significant impact
on development and performance.
- Practice, practice, practice: nothing compares with actually doing the job. Multitasking takes time to perfect. Role-playing provides opportunities to work
through and prepare for possible scenarios.
Call shadowing is a great way to hear how callers present and how coaches
respond. Taping calls and reviewing with a colleague or supervisor allows for
listening to a complete interaction while also stopping and repeating sections
to zero in on specific items to discuss.
Composing online comments and having them read by someone else before
posting will identify concerns before going "live.” These strategies will help
someone feel very prepared for the actual experience of providing cessation
- CQI: being a quit coach needs ongoing attention to
skills and delivery. During and beyond
training, self-reflection and debriefing with supervisors and colleagues should
be encouraged. Having a strong team
where coaches and trainers are motivated toward individual performance and
service goals takes continuous dedication and effort – and produces excellent
Now back to the
original question, "what is the ‘most’ critical aspect of training?” The answer
may still be "it depends.” It is truly
all important, but involves many elements, the criticality of which is
situational and reliant on having comprehensive approaches and strategies to
pull it all together to achieve the best outcomes for all involved.
What are the critical elements of your
training to coaches? Have you found that the approach to training in your
organization has changed over time? If so, why?