Coaching Program

Coaching is a research-based and critical component of successfully implementing the Leadership Academy.

The Leadership Academy Coaching Program integrates best-practice coaching competencies approved by the International Coach Federation (ICF) to help Leadership Academy participants engage in transfer of learning activities and ongoing leadership skill development and provide participants guidance to support the successful integration of their change projects.

The Leadership Academy Coaching Program is designed to coach the “whole” person so participants can get the most out of the Leadership Academy and become more effective leaders. The coaches will encourage, support, and guide Leadership Academy participants to exercise leadership skills in a safe and nurturing environment. The leadership coach will assist the learner with the integration and application of the necessary skills required to advance positive systems change.

Throughout their training experience, Leadership Academy participants receive developmental coaching support from a leadership coach. The coaching program consists of three coaching phases: pre-training Readiness Coaching, Leadership Academy Coaching, and Post-Academy Coaching. Coaches provide one monthly, 45-60-minute leadership development coaching session in all three Leadership Academy phases:

  1. 2 to 3 pre-training Readiness Coaching sessions
  2. Five sessions during Academy delivery (one session for each module)
  3. 4 to 6 sessions at the completion of the synchronous and modularized training delivery 

Key considerations to developing the coaching component of the Academy include recruiting, training, matching, and supporting as outlined in the Coaching Planning and Delivery Timeline

Careful consideration must be given to who you recruit as coaches and where your recruitment efforts are focused: within your agency or department or from an external source. If the certified/lead coach(es) are identified early in the planning process, they may be able to inform and support the recruitment, selection, and matching of coaches. Be sure to prepare information for recruitment and selection that includes coach description (a coach description is beneficial to communicate the expectations for and responsibilities of a coach), coaching essentials, time commitment, an overview of the training and support that will be provided, and a Leadership Academy overview. As you consider your agency’s in-house capacity for coaches or available resources for external coach options, take a moment to review the Leadership Academy Coaching Guide, section 2, which provides criteria for important coaching essentials. Other things to consider for coach recruitment, selection, and matching include:

      • Preparing to be a Leadership Academy coach requires an initial investment of time. Leadership coach participation spans over approximately 9-12 months per coaching cohort, along with the additional initial investment of 3 months of foundational coaching training. 
      • With the agency investment in training and supporting coaches, as well as the investment the coaches themselves make, we suggest that during the recruitment and selection process, you consider the opportunity for the coach to potentially serve two Leadership Academy cohorts as an important component of your capacity building and sustainability discussions.
      • Some organizations that have implemented the Leadership Academy focused heavily on internal resources, and others utilized external resources through partnerships with universities and other supporting departments like human resources, office of diversity, etc.
      • You may find it works better to have a committee nominate and select a cadre of coaches, or your agency may decide to have potential coaches participate in an application process (sample application).
      • It is ideal to have one coach per participant to help ensure the coach’s availability and capacity through all three phases of coaching, since this responsibility is typically in addition to their regular workload.
      • Once all participants and coaches are identified, consider decisions around matching the coach with the participant. Some things to consider include position within the agency, potential current or prior working relationship, individual characteristics and styles, etc. The aim here is to minimize barriers to establishing rapport and building the coaching relationship.

Once your agency has selected coaches, conduct a Leadership Academy Coaching Overview and Orientation to provide context and overview information about the Academy and their role as a coach. It is important to communicate that initially, there will be a heavy lift for the coaches to complete training and become familiar with the curriculum concepts and materials. The Leadership Academy Coaching Guide is a valuable resource for coaches. The coaching guide:

  • Provides information on the purpose, definition, and rationale of coaching
  • Includes coaching essentials, coaching tools, and coaching resources for all three phases of coaching (readiness, academy, and post-coaching)
  • Has an appendix with case scenarios illustrating real coaching experiences


Familiarity with the coaching guide, as well as communication and ongoing support from the lead trainer providing the monthly support throughout all three phases, is critical in helping to make this significant component of the Leadership Academy a success.

Following the overview and orientation, coaches will participate in the Virtual Coaching Learning Program (VCLP) to learn the foundations of coaching. Ideally, the VCLP is co-facilitated by certified/lead coaches, and they are identified early in the planning process. This provides an opportunity for the certified/lead coach to help inform the recruitment, selection, and matching process; participate in an overview/orientation of the Leadership Academy with the coaches; and potentially co-facilitate the ongoing coaching support with the lead trainer/facilitator.

To provide effective coaching and support the transfer of learning from the Leadership Academy, coaches need curriculum content knowledge, including on the:

      • NCWWI Leadership Model
      • NCWWI Implementation Phases
      • Racial Equity, Inclusivity, and Biases
      • Adaptive Leadership
      • Strengths-Based Leadership
      • Daring Leadership
      • Transformational Leadership


Coaches are expected to view all curriculum materials including foundational modules and Leadership Academy modules along with participant and trainer synchronous materials. In addition to the Academy overview in the orientation and their own independent review of the material, coaches should participate in the training of trainers curriculum walk-through with Leadership Academy trainers to further their exposure to and understanding of the concepts. Additional opportunities to expand the coaches’ familiarity and understanding will be available in the monthly coach support sessions.

Just as coaches support participants through all three phases of coaching−pre-training Readiness Coaching, Leadership Academy Coaching, and Post-Academy Coaching−the lead trainer supports coaches throughout this same time. As the participant progresses, the intent of the coaching shifts from preparing for the best use of Leadership Academy training to the application of Leadership Academy training in the workplace, and likewise, monthly support for coaches will progress through different phases as well.

Monthly support sessions with coaches should begin at the conclusion of the Virtual Coaching Learning Program and before coaches’ pre-training Readiness Coaching sessions with participants begin. In this first monthly support session, coaches may need assistance with timelines and logistics. For example, coaches will need to send an Introductory and Welcome Email to their assigned participants two weeks prior to scheduling their first pre-training Readiness Coaching session. Coaches may have some concerns about participant resistance to coaching. Coaching: Working with Resistance is a 16-minute eLearning module coaches can share during the session and complement with a group discussion.

The level and type of support each coach needs may vary based on their skill level and/or any potential dynamics in working with their assigned participant. While support can be provided individually, opportunities for group learning through the monthly support sessions will minimize time demands on the person providing the support. With group support sessions, holding participant confidentiality is primary. If monthly sessions are virtual, consider having coaches submit questions or issues through a private message so the facilitator can bring the issue to the discussion without identifying the coach or participant who asked it. If sessions are in person, then consider having participants submit issues to the facilitator in advance. It may be that in some circumstances coaches will need one-on-one support to better address any specific concern(s).

As you plan for sustainability and replication of the coaching component of the Leadership Academy, getting feedback from coaches via evaluations of the training and support they received can be very useful. Virtual Coaching Learning Program SurveyCoaches Orientation and Curriculum Walk Through Survey, and Coaches Monthly Support Survey are helpful tools to collect this information. This feedback allows you to better tailor training and support to your agency’s needs, improving preparation and implementation of the coaching component that is critical to the effectiveness of the Leadership Academy.