Evaluation Coaching, Technical Assistance
One-on-one coaching and technical assistance from an evaluation professional, to complete evaluation work, were an integral part of every project listed at the right. This was based on the understanding that teaching evaluation skills only as content to be covered was less valuable than using those skills on actual evaluation projects. This coaching helps trainees make decisions regarding data collection strategies, analysis and reporting. For all of the programs/projects in the clearinghouse, coaching was accomplished through regular meetings with trainees as they completed evaluation projects.
In addition to coaching, evaluation capacity building projects also provide opportunities for participants to access technical assistance (TA) with other evaluation-related needs. Examples of technical assistance include assistance with development of a database, use of specific analytical strategies, or review or development of an evaluation section in an organization’s response to a program RFP. As trainees become involved in evaluation, recognition of TA needs intensifies and access to TA becomes increasingly important.
An evaluation coach can also help staff tailor program evaluations that fit client, staff and other stakeholder needs. Evaluation coaching continues to play a large role in Building Evaluation Capacity (BEC) as program participants and alumni work hard to follow through with data collection, implementation, and dissemination of evaluation results in meaningful ways.
Participants in the Anchoring project received outside coaching tailored to evaluating a specific complex project as well as basic evaluation training for large groups of staff.
The Hartford Summer Programs evaluation support project, though much narrower in scope, also incorporated opportunities for Summer Program providers to get technical assistance regarding evaluation through multiple short-term consultation sessions with an external evaluator. Representatives from participating organizations met with the evaluator to discuss measurement options for the expected outcomes of their programs or to review evaluation designs and/or instruments they developed or wanted to use.