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MyGoals for Employment Success: Implementation Findings from the Evaluation of Employment Coaching

Correne Saunders and Karen Gardiner, Abt Global; Kristen Joyce and Sheena McConnell, Mathematica


January 4, 2023

This report summarizes the design and implementation of MyGoals for Employment Success, a demonstration of a coaching intervention operating in two cities to help participants identify and attain self-sufficiency goals. Over three years, coaches work with participants on short- and long-term goals for employment.

The study found that MyGoals implemented its intervention as designed. Key findings from the implementation study are:

  • The MyGoals coaching model is complex. Substantive training and technical assistance helped coaches understand the model and its flexibility.
  • In accordance with the MyGoals design, coaches discussed directly with participants their self-regulation skills such as organization, planning, task initiation, and persistence. This is a unique approach among coaching interventions.
  • Coaches focused on developing strong and trusting relationships with participants; many participants reported positive relationships with their coaches.
  • While coaches generally used a collaborative approach to support participants’ goal-setting rather than a top-down approach that imposed goals, some coaches struggled with this aspect of coaching.
  • In alignment with the design, participants and coaches had monthly contact; by month nine, about two-thirds of participants were still participating in MyGoals.
  • Coaches and participants had mixed perceptions regarding the value of incentives. Coaches said that incentives encouraged participant engagement by covering costs of attending sessions but that incentives were not the reason participants engaged. Some participants said incentives motivated program engagement while others said incentives did not motivate them to engage.

MyGoals is one of four coaching interventions included in the Evaluation of Employment Coaching for TANF and Related Populations. Mathematica is leading the evaluation, with Abt Global and MDRC, for the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation in the Administration for Children and Families.