How do you monitor a practice coach’s effectiveness?

A systematic monthly review of practice progress is a great strategy.

Practice coaches and their supervisors need an efficient and effective way of tracking the coach’s progress with each individual practice and across the portfolio of practices. Depending on the coach’s strengths, biases, and personality, it may be easy for a practice-coach relationship to wander off in directions that are not consistent with the overall goals identified in the improvement effort. A systematic monthly review of the progress of each team in the practice coach’s portfolio will allow the leader to assess and provide support.  
 
AHRQ’s Developing and Running a Practice Coaching Facilitation Program: A How-To Guide includes specific areas to monitor when supervising practice coaches:
 
Assisting coaches in developing and maintaining facilitative relationships with their practices;
Assisting coaches in maintaining effective boundaries with their practices;
Providing coaches the content knowledge needed for an intervention;
Assisting coaches in monitoring their panel of practices’ progress through the stages of the intervention model; and
Providing professional development for coaches.
 
Part of the coach’s time should be allocated to tracking the progress of their practices beyond the outcomes identified in the improvement effort. It is recommended that coaches keep regular progress notes on their practices, noting practice team level of function and challenges and opportunities. These progress notes allow supervisors to understand on a deeper level what is going on within the practice and provide feedback and support to coaches. Practice facilitation programs should consider developing a practice “registry” to track key indicators across all practices in the improvement effort. Examples of registries can be found in the AF4Q Practice Coaching Manual and AHRQ’s How-To Guide.
 
Compiled by Jen Powell, an AF4Q technical advisor working with the Improving Performance in Practice (IPIP) Technical Support Team.