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How Coaching Moves Families Forward

Four story brick building with adjacent courtyard

At United South End Settlements, we believe that as families stabilize, become more resilient, and connect to a diverse network, they and their children are more likely to develop the skills they need to succeed.

How do we help families stabilize?

This past year, we piloted a new coaching model with the support of three Commonwealth Corps service members. Coaching is a supportive partnership that empowers participants with the tools to find solutions and move their families forward.  It is at the heart of our Vision125 strategic direction for the future of USES, and through it we will ensure that all the families we serve have what they need to achieve economic stability.

Elizabeth Clark Photo

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Clark Photography

For the pilot program, coaches and participants focused on issues around employment and education/training. Going forward, we will focus on the following five areas: career, finances, family, education/training, and community connections. Coaches and participants will work together as partners to help participants identify and pursue goals; develop better self-awareness and resiliency; access resources; and find strategies to increase stability and empowerment. Our participants develop concrete action plans based on their goals and build meaningful relationships and social networks.

Last fall, one of our ESOL participants, Jemal,  began working with a USES coach to help him find employment.  While he was not currently working, he had a strong culinary background from his home country of Eritrea. Jemal and his coach worked together to brainstorm his career choices, set goals and create an action plan to help him achieve those goals, develop a resume and cover letter, and prepare for interviews. He quickly found part-time work at Eataly as a prep cook making $15/hour but to meet his financial needs, he also worked part-time as a Cashier at Sky Walk making $11/hour. His supervisors at Eataly were quick to notice his skills and ability and Jemal’s coach worked with him to address cultural barriers around navigating promotions,  having conversations about salary, and identifying professional growth in the context of a Boston workplace. In January 2017, he was promoted to a full-time position as a sous chef earning an annual salary of $48,000, allowing him to leave his second job at Sky Walk.

One coaching participant shared with us, “I am grateful for my coach because, with so much going on and so many things I want to accomplish, it helped to have her check in with me. I knew she was not going to judge me but rather support me and help me stay on track.” One of our coaches had an 80% success rate – of those she coached, 80% achieved the goal(s) they set out to achieve. For many, this goal was to obtain a job with growth potential. This past year, our pilot was focused on the participants in the Workforce Readiness. In the coming year, we plan to expand our reach to serve families who participate across all of USES’s programs.

Commonwealth Corps

Thank you to Kobe, Francesca, and Louise, our three Commonwealth Corps members who made the pilot of this coaching model possible. You will be missed!

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