Case Management & Coaching

MODULE 3.1: A Client-Centered Approach

The most important role of an FSS program coordinator is to provide case management or coaching to help participants achieve their goals.

In this capacity, program coordinators assess FSS participants’ educational level, vocational certifications, physical and mental health, employment history, budget, credit and financial concerns and stability, personal and family members’ needs, interests, barriers and strengths; identify and make referrals to services and trainings; and monitor progress toward goals in the Individual Training and Services Plan.

In this video clip an FSS practitioner describes how a “fundamental belief in clients” drives their approach to coaching in their FSS programs.

FSS © 2017 | U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

A “client-centered” approach means the FSS program coordinator does not force his or her own belief system on the participant, nor does the FSS program adopt “boilerplate” goals (beyond the two required goals discussed in Module 2.5) that apply across the board to all participants. Instead, participants direct the process and make decisions about their individual goals and how to achieve them.

Best practices for a client-centered approach include:

  • Assisting participants in clarifying their key values, challenges, and strengths
  • Allowing participants to drive the process of identifying goals
  • Asking motivating questions to prompt participants to determine the best course of action and to take action when ready
  • Informing participants of resources and opportunities in the community based on the assessment and expressed interests and desires of the participant
  • Helping participants understand the pros and cons of different approaches, and supporting them when they decide how best to meet their goals
  • Making referrals to services in partnership with participants’ motivation and timeline, on the assumption that the participant is the expert

This video clip describes one PHA’s coaching model.

This checklist of questions, developed by the Center for Evidence-Based Practices at Case Western Reserve University, compiles questions that you can ask yourself to determine if you are following a client-directed approach. The checklist is intended to help practitioners tap into and support their client’s internal motivation for change using the techniques and principles of Motivational Interviewing, an evidence-based approach.

 Download This Checklist

Please complete this quiz before you proceed to the next module. To take the quiz, use the arrow keys or click the correct answer choice. If you answer incorrectly, you will be able to try again until you select the correct response.
Scores will not be recorded.

  1. Which of the following describes a client-centered approach?

A - FSS coordinators require all participants to complete a standard employment training regimen.Incorrect.In a client-centered approach, trainings and services are tailored to participants’ needs.B - FSS coordinators make referrals to services based on what they think would be the most productive career path for their participants.Incorrect.In a client-centered approach, participants drive the process. The FSS program coordinator makes recommendations and referrals based on what participants identify as their needs and aspirations.C - FSS coordinators listen to participants describe their interests and aspirations, conduct an assessment to better understand participants’ strengths and challenges, inform participants of resources and opportunities, and make referrals to services based on the needs participants identify.Correct!In a client-centered approach, the role of the program coordinator is to assist participants as they make decisions about how to best achieve their goals.

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