Coach Credential

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What Is an Early Childhood Coach?

Coaching is an adult learning strategy that relies on co-construction of knowledge and reflective capacity to transform both participants' practices. Coaching draws on observations for collaborative analysis and decision-making with the coaching partner that informs planning to build upon the positive, equitable experiences children and families have daily. An early childhood coach is a professional who works directly with early childhood educators—including teachers, infant and toddler early care and learning providers, supervisors and directors—to build capacity for continuous quality improvement. 

Coaching is nondirective, goal-oriented, and solution-focused (Rush and Sheldon, 2020). Studies have shown coaching to be one of the most effective ways to support adult educators in learning new knowledge and skills (Joyce & Showers, 2002). Coaching interactions include aspects of more directive approaches to working with adults like consultation, assessment services or other problem solving approaches; however, relationships that consist mostly of these approaches are not considered coaching according to the requirements of the Colorado Coaching Credential. A coaches' work with their coaching partner might include: Joint planning, observation, modeling, reflective dialogue, feedback, shared analysis of program data (e.g. ERS-3, CLASS, LENA) as well as collaborative progress monitoring based on individualized goals. 

How to Earn a Colorado Coach Credential

Aligned to the Colorado Competencies for Early Childhood Coaches, the Colorado Early Childhood Coach Credential provides statewide recognition to early childhood professionals who have the foundational skills and dispositions necessary for effective coaching in the early childhood field. Credentialed coaches participate in department approved, coaching-specific training and engage in ongoing professional development with a trained reflective supervisor to maintain their coach credential. 

The Office of Early Childhood provides Relationship-Based Professional Development (RBPD) virtually to communities across the state at no cost to participants. This coaching-specific training meets the training requirement for the Colorado Coach Credential. Topics covered include: characteristics of coaching in early childhood settings, working with adult learners, coaching skills, reflective practice and tools to support the coach and coaching partner in continuous quality improvement. To receive a certificate of completion for RBPD, participants must complete the 35 hour hybrid training including attending the live instructor-led sessions and engaging in self-paced, online assignments. If you must miss more than one hour of any scheduled instructor-led session, please register for a different training that better meets your scheduling needs.

Register for Coaching Training

Relationship-Based Professional Development (RBPD) training, offered by the Department of Early Childhood is scheduled throughout the year.  To be registered for this training, you must have an account in the Colorado Shines Professional Development Information System (PDIS).  Registration is limited to 26 participants. Interest in this free, high quality course always exceeds seats available, but there are other for-cost Department Approved Trainings listed below*. If a training reaches capacity, coaches who will be providing Colorado Shines quality improvement coaching, Expanding Quality for Infants and Toddlers RELATE Coaching, and coaches who provide services within target regions will be prioritized for enrollment. Please join the Relationship Based Professional Development training waiting list if you are interested in building coaching into your early childhood work.

Apply for and Renew the Colorado Coach Credential

  1. Complete Relationship-Based Professional Development training and Recognition and Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect, offered at not cost to participants by the Department of Early Childhood throughout the year, or other department approved, coaching-specific training* 
  2. Complete your educator and coach self-assessments and your individualized professional development plan in the PDIS
  3. Apply for the Colorado Early Childhood Professional Credential 3.0 in the PDIS and earn a level 3 or higher
  4. Apply for or renew the Colorado Early Childhood Coach Credential in the PDIS
    • Professionals must have at least two years of experience in early care settings to become credential coaches in CO. Learn more about experience
  5. Renew the Colorado Early Childhood Coach Credential in the PDIS.
    • To maintain their credential, every three years coaches must provide documentation of:
*Other Department Approved Training:
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Accordian1-HeadWhat is Reflective Supervision?

Reflective supervision and consultation (RSC) is a relationship that supports professional development and growth through regular, collaborative reflection between two consistent partners or a group of consistent partners. This partnership builds reflective capacity and program quality as the individuals discuss strengths, vulnerabilities and attend to the interconnected relationships surrounding the child. The primary objectives of RSC include the following:

  • Form a trusting relationship between supervisor and practitioner
  • Establish consistent and predictable meetings and times
  • Ask questions that encourage details about the infant, parent and emerging relationship
  • Remain emotionally present
  • Teach/guide
  • Nurture/support
  • Apply the integration of emotion and reason
  • Foster the reflective process to be internalized by the supervisee
  • Explore the parallel process and to allow time for personal reflection
  • Attend to how reactions to the content affect the process

To become a trained facilitator of reflective supervision and consultation (RS/C) a professional must receive12 or more hours of training specific to facilitating RS/C. Currently, both the Department of Early Childhood and the CO Association for Infant Mental Health provide a Department Approved Training. Please join the CDEC Facilitating Reflective Supervision and Consultation in Early Childhood training waiting list if you are interested in providing this service to credentialed early childhood coaches in your community. 

Across Colorado, 34 Early Childhood Councils (ECCs) serve as hubs in their local communities to improve access to high quality services, including coaching and RS/C. Connect with your local ECC to find a trained facilitator of RS/C.

Facilitation Guidelines

Facilitating reflective supervision and consultation (RS/C) is an important part of the system of coaching in Colorado. Every three years credentialed coaches engage in at least 24 hours of reflective supervision or reflective /consultation with a trained facilitator as part of the requirements to maintain their Colorado Coach Credential.  The guidelines below describe the facilitation of RS/C as required for the purposes of renewing a Colorado Coaching Credential. 

  • The practice is regular, collaborative and reflective
  • The members remain consistent and committed to confidentiality
  • One to two times per month there is a protected meeting time and space
  • Group RS/C includes four to six participants total, who meet for 60-90 minutes
  • Individual RS/C the pair meet for 30-60 minutes
  • The facilitator has been trained to provide RS/C and care provide evidence of training completion to CDEC. See the list of trained RS/C facilitators.

Documentation Requirements

To document RS/C hours, the facilitator will need to write a letter describing the details below. This letter will be evidence of the hours of RS/C you engaged in with the participant(s) for the purpose of renewing their Colorado Coaching Credential.
  • Participant's name
  • Date range RS/C was received
  • Number of RS/C hours provided by the trained facilitator of RS/C
  • First/Last name and signature of the facilitator
    • Facilitator’s who have completed training with an organization other than CDE, OEC or CDEC will need to provide a training certificate or other evidence of qualifications to provide RS/C. Follow this guide to submit external training in the PDIS. 
Early care and learning professionals benefit the most from professional development that is job-embedded and takes place with a trusted person. Reflective supervision and consultation is a system intervention that improves individual practice for coaches, directors, teachers and other caregivers, increasing program quality for Colorado’s children and families. RS/C provides the support that is needed to retain an effective early childhood coaching workforce.

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