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Employment Coaching Evaluation for TANF


  • Coaches generally provided collaborative coaching, developing trusting relationships with participants.
  • Interventions varied in coaching model, program length, incentives, and participants.
  • Coaching models aimed to help participants develop self-regulation skills.
The Challenge

Coaching-based interventions have shown promise in a range of settings to help people identify and develop self-regulation skills needed to set and make progress toward goals. Building on a growing body of evidence, the Administration for Children and Families funded an evaluation to learn how one-on-one coaching might help low-income adults overcome barriers to employment and self-sufficiency. The study includes four employment coaching interventions (FaDSS, Goal4 It!, LIFT, and MyGoals) for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families populations and other low-income individuals. Abt led the implementation study component in partnership with Mathematica. We produced four project-specific reports and one cross-site report.

The Approach

The implementation study draws on a variety of data sources:

  • A baseline survey of study participants administered before study enrollment
  • A survey of program managers and staff
  • In-person discussions with program management and staff
  • Observations of coaching sessions
  • Video recordings of coaching sessions
  • In-depth, in-person interviews with coaching participants
  • Service receipt data as reported by program staff
  • Reviews of documents, such as policy and procedure manuals, training manuals, curricula, participant enrollment forms, and assessment forms.
The Results

Four implementation reports are available:

LIFT: Implementation Findings from the Evaluation of Employment Coaching. This report found that:

  1. Using unpaid graduate student interns as coaches is cost-effective but undermines continuity of the coaching relationship
  2. Starting coaching right after intake ensures program participants receive at least one coaching session; participation decreases over time.

Family Development and Self-Sufficiency (FaDSS): Implementation Findings from the Evaluation of Employment Coaching: This report found that:

  1. Home visiting is key to fostering relationships but challenging
  2. Family-focused coaching helps families set and achieve goals
  3. Small caseloads enable frequent participant contact

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

Goal4 It!: Implementation Findings from the Evaluation of Employment

Additional reports present short-term and longer-term findings on employment and earnings.

Using Coaching to Address Economic Stability for People with Low Incomes: The Design and Implementation of Four Employment Coaching Programs

Should Human Services Programs Offer Financial Incentives? Lessons Learned from Two Employment Coaching Programs