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What are the most critical aspects of training for quit coaches?

Posted By Natalia A. Gromov, Monday, June 11, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Thanks, Stephen! 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 support.

  • 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 results.

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?

Tags:  Canadian Cancer Socierty  coach  CQI  Donna Czukar  operations  training 

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