Case Management: Keeping YouthBuild Participants and Staff Focused on Teaching, Learning, and Positive individual and Community Empowerment

All too often, in our eagerness “to help young people get better lives,” we treat them as problems that need to be fixed, when instead we need to be in a daily pro-active teaching and learning relationship with them where we move back and forth between the role of teacher and learner ourselves. If YouthBuild staff interact with our young people as teachers who learn and learners who teach, we move out of what philosopher Martin Buber called the “I-It” relationship and into the “I-You” relationship. This interpersonal, interactive guidance approach is key to our young people understanding and embracing how to move from crisis to essential stability and future growth.  They can gain the insight and tools to make positive choices for themselves and they understand that moment to moment, day to day, there can be setbacks, but they can be dealt with and that young person can get back on track.

 Capital Workforce Partners’ YouthBuild program, YouthBuild New Britain, in Hartford, Connecticut sees coaching and questioning to be an integral part to establishing a successful relationship between staff and young people and for establishing a strong personal core of positive, confident decision making and future building. Case Manager Crystal Fernandez builds two key approaches into how she has developed strong case management at her YouthBuild program: 1. Powerful Questions and 2. Core Coaching Competencies.

 Powerful Questions:, the website of the Coach Training Institute (CTI),* states that powerful questions are “provocative queries that put a halt to evasion and confusion. By asking the powerful question, the coach invites the client to clarity, action, and discovery at a whole new level…these generally are open-ended questions that create greater possibility for expanded learning and fresh perspective.” (Kimsey House, Kimsey-House, and Sandahl, Co-Active Coaching (3rd ed.), 2011). They include questions from the following categories:

1.     Anticipation

2.     Assessment

3.     Clarification

4.     Elaboration

5.     Evaluation

6.     Example

7.     Exploration

8.     For Instance

9.     Fun As Perspective

10.   History

Core Coaching Competencies: The International Coach Federation (ICF) defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.” Crystal and her staff apply these important core competencies to their relationships building and work with their young people. These ICF Core Competencies include the following:

1.     Meeting Ethical Guidelines and Professional Standards

2.     Establishing the Coaching Agreement

3.     Establishing Trust and Intimacy with the Client

4.     Being a Conscious, Flexible Coaching Presence

5.     Active Listening

6.     Powerful Questioning

7.     Direct Communication

8.     Creating Awareness

9.     Designing Actions

10.   Planning and Goal Setting

11.   Managing Progress and Accountability

For more insight into this case management approach, be sure to watch the recording of the webinar presented on May 2nd: StructuringYour Case Management Component Througha Comprehensive, Pro-Active Supportive Services Model.  In this webinar, staff from the Department of Labor’s Technical Assistance Contractor, YouthBuild USA, and guest presenters from Capital Workforce Partners highlight effective strategies to structure and implement comprehensive, pro-active supportive services across the phases of the YouthBuild program cycle. *CTI is the largest in-person coach training school in the world, and the only program to teach the Co-Active Coaching model.

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