Recovery coaching is gaining momentum.  Coaches are being hired in a variety of locations. In a recent webinar I hosted, attendees indicates the following places now employ recovery coaches – recovery community organizations, addiction treatment providers, behavioral health providers, hospitals, courts and others. For the last several years, I’ve heard the cry for a curriculum for supervising recovery coaches.

“How do I (we) supervise these recovery coaches?”

A stigmatizing belief often bubbled to the surface in conversations with people requesting supervision training.  Many current administrators think we recovery coaches are a difficult lot. We are sometimes perceived as undisciplined, unprofessional, uneducated and unmanageable. I hold the exact opposite to be true.

Yet, we’ve purposefully delayed developing a curriculum for a couple reasons. CCAR did not have any practical experience supervising employed recovery coaches until February 2017.  Up until then, we had volunteer recovery coaches serving in our recovery community centers.  Supervising volunteers is not quite the same as supervising employees. In addition, we discovered there are not many recovery community organizations (RCO) employing recovery coaches, so there is not a large body of experience to draw on. We also believe that RCO’s have an opportunity to improvise and enhance typical supervision.

CCAR now employs one manager and 12 recovery coaches who do inspiring work in emergency departments.  We have learned a lot about supervising recovery coaches.  We always believed it was about “coaches coaching coaches”. We trusted our coaches to develop a system that would enhance our delivery of high quality service and attend to their needs. After nearly two years, we have developed a system that works well for us.

I was surprised when the CCAR Emergency Department Recovery Coaches dubbed their supervision process “coachervision”.  At first, I hesitated about the contrived word, it sounded weird. But I have gradually grown to respect it and embrace it.  It’s what we do – a fusion of recovery coaching and supervision – coachervision.

Let’s start with the coaching part.

  1. Coachervisors ask good questions. One of the favorites is “How can I help you with your recovery coaching practice today?” Sound familiar?
  2. They actively listen.
  3. They manage their own stuff.
  4. Coachervisors treat the recovery coaches as the best resource on their work. We trust our coaches until they give us a reason not to. We believe this is a slight shift in perspective. So often, managers believe employees need to earn their trust first.
  5. They are curious about how the coaches are developing professionally.
  6. They look to offer encouragement at opportune moments.

Those of you familiar with CCAR Recovery Coach Academy© will recognize the fundamentals. But what about the supervision role? Yes, there are times when performance falters and needs improvement. A coachervisor coaches through it. They are truth tellers (another role of a recovery coach) and they convey the truth without blame or judgment. That’s not always easy to do.  Yet, it is possible to be firm and kind at the same time.

With these concepts in mind, CCAR/CART is piloting the 2-day, 12-hour Coachervision training in January 2019. We seek to have coachervisors consider some questions.

  • How do we coach the employee to their best performance?
  • How do we ignite an employee’s internal flame?
  • How do uphold  the philosophy of recovery coaching within my organization’s culture?

We want the recovery coaches to develop genuine relationships with recoverees. The same applies to the coachervisor and the recovery coach. It’s OK to care.

CCAR also understands the administrative piece. Yoly Lebron, CCAR Director of Administration/Human Resources Officer has built a rock solid foundation of human resources over the last 17 years that we will be made available for coachervisors and administrators later in 2019.  Some key training topics in development are…

  1. The Hiring Process… it all starts here.
  2. Onboarding… the welcome is key.
  3. Coaching and Employee Discipline… yes, it does happen, now what?
  4. Aligning Job Posting, Job Description, Weekly Reporting with Job Performance.
  5. Personnel Policies and Procedures for an RCO.

One final thought… and another reason I’ve grown fond of the word coachervision…

It could be interpreted as “coach your vision”.

See what I did there?

In 2015, I finished a thruhike of the entire Appalachian Trail, a trek of 2,189.2 miles. It took 189 days and 6 pairs of boots. During all that time alone with my Creator, my purpose in life became more precisely defined. I am, simply, to coach recovery. Recovery saved me from an early demise and brought purpose to my tattered life. I have learned that I’m a coach to my very core. I am blessed to put the two together. I started work at the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR) in 1999. I became the Executive Director of this recovery community organization in 2004. I have trained the CCAR Recovery Coach Academy© dozens of times and have a hand in modifying, improving and adapting various recovery coach curricula. I’m old enough now to start considering my legacy. This is a way for me to share things I have learned in my recovery, in my role as Executive Director and a trainer. I find that when I speak I present the same messages over and over. It’s time to write them down.

Phil “Right Click” Valentine
Recovery established 12.28.87

Phil "Right Click" Valentine

Phil "Right Click" Valentine

In 2015, I finished a thruhike of the entire Appalachian Trail, a trek of 2,189.2 miles. It took 189 days and 6 pairs of boots. During that sacred time, my purpose in life became more precisely defined. I am, simply, to coach recovery. Recovery saved me from an early demise and brought purpose to my tattered life. I have learned that I’m a coach to my very core. I am blessed to put the two together. I started work at the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR) in January 1999. I became the Executive Director of this recovery community organization in 2004. I have trained the CCAR Recovery Coach Academy© dozens of times and have a hand in modifying, improving and adapting various recovery coach curricula. I’m old enough now to start considering my legacy. This is one way for me to share lessons learned in my recovery, in my role as Executive Director and a trainer. When I engage with others, I present the same messages repeatedly. It’s time to write them down.

6 Comments

  • Dave Pruett says:

    I registered for the first class, but due to the short notice I can’t financially make it. But I am hoping to make the March class. #Continue

  • John Schwartz says:

    I love what you said about us being anything BUT difficult to coach. People who genuinely care and desire to be of service are always trying to refine their process in order to bring their best to every relationship. That has certainly been my experience. Thanks to you once again for taking the lead in this area. Who better to develop the means to support coaches than the coach-master himself!

  • KV says:

    Hope I can have more chances to be in your trainings, very interesting and helpful in my professional career as a Licenced Drugs and Alcohol Counselor. Please give me all the details in advance ( financially) for the next supervision training. Many thanks!

  • Durga Leela says:

    this makes very good reading for Jan 2nd, thank you : )

  • M.Farrell RN says:

    How do you interact with the nursing staff in the ER?

  • Pierre Faillettaz says:

    Seeking guidance for new RCO in MN. I hear the strength of wisdom and insight in your words. Perhaps it condenses fully in, “It’s OK to care”. Perhaps you have recommendation for similar quality of direction in MN. Sure there’s plenty, wondering who inspires you. Thank you for the courage of your recovery and service. Namaste

Leave a Reply