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Implementing the Coach(ref) Model for Change

Following an arrest, individuals must navigate a complicated court system often requiring them to prioritize court hearings and associated court obligations over many of their needs. Not surprisingly, individuals struggle to meet their court obligations, and, in response, they return to jail. Time in jail continues to exaggerate many of the challenges they were experiencing on their day of arrest.

The court then sentences many of these individuals, many of whom have cycled between the community and jail during their time navigating the court process, to community supervision. Once they arrive at probation, they must navigate the rules and obligations of probation often with even fewer resources than they had on the day they experienced their arrest.

The current model of probation fails to meet these individuals where they are in their lives. It fails to understand the initial challenges they were surviving and does not acknowledge how simply navigating the court system may have made their challenges worse. And, on day one of probation, the policies and practices governing probation require complete compliance with all the rules.

The Coaching(referee) Model for Change (CRMC) believes people have the capacity to change and enhance their lives but require more intentional support and time to do so. More importantly, it goes beyond simply enhancing the probation officer-individual relationship and demands probation agencies and their environment, structures, policies, and practices – the way of doing business – must be different, too.

The CRMC demands probation agencies critically interrogate themselves and consider how the physical environment of probation offices, the data systems and metrics, the infrastructure of policies, staff wellness, staff training performance measures, and rules of probation all contribute to individuals not successfully completing probation. The CRMC helps transform organizations from a punitive culture to an learning environment with a growth mindset. In these transformed organizations, staff can more effectively use evidence-based practices and connect more authentically with people under supervision.

To help organizations become coaching organizations, JSP developed the Organizational Coaching Assessment for Evidence-based Practices (OCA-EBP), an assessment evaluating an organization’s growth mindset across several domains. Based upon the findings of the assessment, JSP offers both a full transformative approach to redesigning the organization and smaller, more targeted trainings. Additionally, JSP’s Coaching Network for Change offers a virtual community with curated resources, ongoing training opportunities, moderated discussions, and peer-to-peer learning help staff and organizations become more coach like on their own.

Currently, JSP is collaborating with six jurisdictions to completely redesign their organizations using the Coach(referee) Model for Change. We continue to engage new communities and monitor the success of coaching innovations. Learn more about how to bring the coaching model to your organization!

Related Resources


Probation Officer as a Coach: Building a New Professional Identity

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