Consider the following ten actions for successful coaching.
To be effective these actions need to be addressed in conjunction with the skills and knowledge already covered in this module.
The first step in any coaching session is to define the activity or more simply, explain what you are going to look at today. The last step will always be closure or giving a short summary about the session activity and how it went.
Not all of the remaining 8 steps will necessarily be used during each session, some may be used more than once and the order may change. Flexibility is the key.
When a topic has been identified for a coaching session come prepared, always with something new to share.
Sometimes, on the day, the older adult might suggest a new subject. If this happens, before proceeding, quickly access if you have the required resources with you to facilitate a worthwhile learning experience.
The purpose of the session is also the coaching objective.
Share your proposed purpose for the session based on the agreed focus activity and check that the intention of the session is in line with the older adults expectations. Does your thinking match?
Remember to emphasise the learners preferred learning style when giving information and instruction.
Through conversation and observation identify preferred strengths and find ways to utilise those strengths whenever possible.
Refer to previous information in this module to review learning styles and strengths.
Learning through Play
Children learn through play from a very young age, however we don’t always value the role that play can have for adult learning. Using well designed game apps on an iPad or tablet can be an excellent way to engage the older adult, build their confidence and increase the required physical skills for using an IT device.
Modelling is a show and tell method. Work through a task and allow the older adult to observe the process. Repeat it several times
Adults like to learn and recall steps in groups of 2 or 3 items at a time. Break up the process steps with this in mind.
Guided practice is leading the older adult through the steps necessary to perform the task.
Show the learner how to successfully work through problems as they attempt to do it by themselves.
Constantly Check Understanding
Be sure the older adult understands the process and the outcome.
Answer questions as they arise and adjust the pace of the session if it is too slow or too quick.
Allow the older adult to practice the task and offer assistance if required. Don’t hurry this step. Prior to this step, look for clues – does the older adult really want to try by himself or herself? Are they looking confident?
Sometimes finding a reason to focus on something else for a few minutes can be useful and gives the older adult some ‘room to move’ and have a go without being observed. You can then re-engage with them to check if they have completed the task or give assistance.
A quick fix is when you take control of the device to solve a technical problem. For example you arrive for the session and the IT device is not connected to the Internet. This needs to be rectified so the session can quickly get back on track as planned.
You don’t need to treat this as an instructional moment; it’s just about addressing a problem quickly so you can focus on what was planned for the session.
Word of warning, quick fixes are only for essential tasks to ensure the device is working properly. It is not about general maintenance or repair tasks. These jobs are best left for a specialist technician.
Being able to positively end a coaching session is very important. Ask the older adult to recap what they have learnt either by telling or showing you.
This is a good opportunity to emphasise the positive aspects of the session to give the older adult encouragement and to briefly discuss what is planned for the next session.