Now Available: Free Coaching Guide for OST Professionals

March 9, 2020

Coaching for Quality in Out-of-School Time: A How To GuideNIOST has released a resource for those who coach out-of-school-time (OST) programs. "Coaching for Quality in Out-of-School Time: A How To Guide” is both for internal coaches (program leaders who coach their own staff) and for external coaches (consultants who visit programs to help improve quality).

“Research now confirms that coaching is one of the most effective ways to support staff and improve program quality,” said Kathy Schleyer, director of training and quality improvement at NIOST, who wrote the guide along with Susan O’Connor, national training associate, and Elizabeth Starr, research associate. “We’re excited to offer this resource that will help coaches learn how to tailor their approaches and strategies in order to have the biggest impact.”

For over 40 years NIOST has been consulting with and evaluating out-of-school time programs and promoting skill development with OST professionals. The organization has a deep understanding of what quality is, how to measure it, and why quality improvement needs to be continuous.

Coaching is a highly effective way to achieve that continuous improvement, and is fundamentally about helping program leaders or staff teams see their strengths and identify areas that can benefit from more attention. Coaches then help address growth opportunities through, for example, staff development, activity design and planning, or school connections.

The guide covers the core coaching competencies of relationships, communication, principles of adult learning, professionalism, and continuous quality improvement, as well as effective coaching strategies. It can help both internal and external coaches assess their own strengths and needs, build expertise, create a team approach, and build a learning organization that values everyone’s roles and contributions.

“The guide is a refreshing and very powerful read for anyone even considering coaching on continuous quality improvement or almost any other important change process," said Dale A. Blyth, Ph.D., who served as a Howland Endowed Chair in Youth Leadership Development at the University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development. "What most impressed me is the ease of reading combined with the depth of content. Major ideas are presented clearly and very succinctly so that one can both learn them and use them immediately."

The guide is available for free download. It includes a self-assessment to help coaches gain skills and a readiness survey to determine an organization’s preparedness for continuous quality improvement.


    "NIOST has been an anchor for numerous school age care projects we do, including ASQ (After-School Quality) and Links to Learning. They are a nationally respected organization that Pennsylvania has partnered with for over 20 years."

    – Betsy O. Saatman, TA Specialist/SAC Initiatives, Pennsylvania Key

    "NIOST was a core partner in supporting the development of quality improvement systems across the nine cities that participated in The Wallace Foundation Next Generation Afterschool System-Building Initiative. The NIOST team worked well with other technical assistance partners in the initiative, always willing to pitch in and collaborate with others to make our professional learning community meetings a team effort. I truly hope the Foundation has an opportunity to partner with them in the future."

    – Priscilla M. Little, Initiative Manager, The Wallace Foundation


    "NIOST has been a leader in the out-of-school time field for as long as I can remember, and I have relied on their research, tools, and advice to improve my practice throughout my career. Their staff members are good partners and good listeners, and their influence across the country is palpable."

    – Jane Quinn, Vice President and Director of National Center for Community Schools, Children's Aid Society

    "Georgia Hall, Ellen Gannett, and the NIOST team have been instrumental in driving the healthy afterschool movement. Their dedication to quality practice, informed policy, and collective impact is instrumental in our effort to create healthier communities."

    – Daniel W. Hatcher, Director, Community Partnerships, Alliance for a Healthier Generation

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The National Institute on Out-of-School Time

A program of the Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College

Wellesley Centers for Women
Wellesley College
106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02481-8203 USA
Directions to NIOST

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