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Partnership for Healthy Aging

 

Coach Recruitment and Retention
by Patti League, RN, A Matter of Balance Lead Trainer

Finding the right people to become coaches for A Matter of Balance Lay Leader Model is essential to the program’s success.  Patti League, A Matter of Balance Lead Trainer, offers suggestions on how to find these unique and desired people:

  • Network with organizations that utilize volunteers, such as Retired Senior Volunteer Programs (RSVPs), hospital volunteer departments, church organizations, community centers or senior centers.

  • Connect with retired teachers or professionals in your community.  You might submit an article seeking volunteer coaches for A Matter of Balance in an organization’s newsletter to its retired members. 

  • Look into senior colleges or community colleges. Placing an article in one of their newsletters may yield a pool of interested people.

Once you have identified people interested in becoming MOB coaches, it is vital to clearly explain the roles and responsibilities.

  • Invite them to observe a Matter of Balance class to see it in action. This can provide answers to numerous questions. 

  • Discuss your plans for ongoing support, guidance and involvement.  Coaches make a significant commitment in teaching an 8-session course. Make sure they understand that you are committed to helping them be successful. Assure them that you will have a backup plan should they be unable to teach a session.

  • If you are working with an organization’s director or program coordinator to identify potential coaches, share the Matter of Balance curriculum and coach job description so they understand the commitment and skills required. This will help to find the right match. Inviting the director/coordinator to observe a session will help provide a deeper understanding of the special volunteer you are seeking to fill this vital role.

After you’ve successfully recruited coaches, it is important to keep them enthused and involved. Retention of coaches is very important, since you have invested time into training and rely on their expertise and commitment to keep the program viable in your community. Some tips for ensuring coach retention include:

  • Respond quickly to coaches concerns, remain optimistic and encouraging, and have fun.

  • Recognize the skills that each coach brings to A Matter of Balance.  This increases the feeling of being valued.

  • If you have a team of Master Trainers within your organization, collaborate and develop a plan for the ongoing support and recognition of coaches’ efforts. 

  • Communicate with volunteers at regular intervals and encourage them to share their ideas and experiences with one another. This can be done through e-mail, coach meetings and phone calls. Coach meetings provide great opportunities to bring in guest speakers to address topics of interest and allow coaches to ask questions.  Meetings are also a great way for coaches to get to know each other and bond as a team.   

These are some of the strategies that we and other Master Trainers have found to work well.  If you have a suggestion that may help others recruit and retain coaches, please share them with us via e-mail PFHA@mainehealth.org.  We are fortunate to have your experience and expertise to draw upon to help make this program a success!

 

 
 
 
 
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