I don’t remember the last time I ripped open my BJOT with gusto, but last month, I really did! “Mothers experiences of engaging in Occupational Performance Coaching ” Fi Graham, Silvia Rodger and Jenny Zivani, gives a clear voice to what those of us OTs who coach, have known for sometime – coaching has a clear and effective role to play in OT practice. It can be at the heart of our intervention, not just an add on.

Without regurgitating the whole paper, OPC is defined as a “family centred, strengths based intervention for working with parents to achieve occupational performance goals for themselves and their children”. The study aimed to determine if mothers were receptive to being “coached” as a means of addressing their own challenges, establish their experiences of being coached and the impact of the coaching. (BTW clearly I am paraphrasing a little, so we capture the essence!)

The findings from this OT coaching included 1)gaining insights about themselves and their children 2)learning specific strategies to support their children’s occupational performance 3) greater understanding of their children’s perception 4)calmer and happier emotional tone within the family WOWZERS!

Yes, I know I am a little biased, but reading these outcomes was like nectar to my sore throat, which has been talking (often loudly) about the efficacy of coaching within OT for many, many years. Occupational Performance Coaching is consistent with the PEO (Person Environment Occupation) model (Law et al 1996) and the children’s Occupational Performance was determined using the COPM, Canadian Occupational Performance Measure (Law et al 2005). So clear OT specific frameworks and measures, yey! Up to 8 face to face, weekly coaching sessions were provided, with an average of 5 sessions used. Improvements reported were maintained at a 6 week follow up.

To Graham, Occupational Performance Coaching is a specific form of “health” coaching that “integrates coaching with occupational analysis frameworks, to achieve client goals”. So for those of you that often ask me how to integrate coaching and OT, this piece of work and the OPC framework is a clear example. (Big Grin)

What this research also clearly illustrates is the power of transformative learning, facilitated by a coaching approach. Fi Graham notes that transformative learning involves an exploration of the beliefs, assumptions, perceptions of a situation and facilitated discourse (coaching conversation). What coaching doesn’t do is tell, advice and suggest solutions (my addition)

I have just got back from a swim, which is always good for reflection and I can hear, “but Jen, we need to give advice, solutions, information!” I hear you! Over time, especially when our book comes out (!) this will become clearer, but take a look at this piece I wrote a couple of months back https://www.otcoach.com/elicit-provide-elicit-thoughts-on-integrating-coaching-with-our-practice/
So whilst I am uber excited to see a really clear use of coaching in OPC, I do hear those of you who are not in a position to always take a pure coaching approach to OT!

OK, I’m done for now but my excitement will remain, so watch this space… j