Square image, in the background is a picture of a woman's hands resting on a notebook. In the foreground is some text on a faded white background which reads "an evidence-based approach to effectively coaching caregivers".

An Evidence-Based Approach for Parent-Coaching- Parent-Coaching Mini-Series Part 4

This is Part 4 of the Parent-Coaching Mini-Series. In Part 3, I wrote about 6 characteristics of adult learning that we should incorporate in our parent-coaching sessions. Although it may sound complicated, there are various approaches/models you can use in your sessions that incorporate adult learning methods. In this post, I’m sharing an easy-to-understand evidence-based approach we can follow in our parent-coaching sessions.

An evidence-based approach for parent-coaching

There are a variety of ways you can structure your parent-coaching sessions. They may be based on particular intervention models, or it may be a structure you’ve developed over the years. As therapsits we are always learning and changing our practice. So if you’re wanting to amend how you deliver your sessions, or if you want to adopt a new format for your sessions, that is easy-to-follow and evidence-based, then keep reading!

The Teach-Model-Coach-Review (TMCR) approach (see research by Roberts and Kaiser, et al., 2014. Access the research papers from EI Northwestern here) incorporates characteristics of effective adult learning methods at each stage, and gives a clear format that you can follow in your coaching sessions.

Title reads "four steps to effective coaching caregivers" with the four steps from the Teach Model Coach Review approach. More details are in the blog post about an evidence-based approach in parent-coaching in early intervention.

Understanding the TMCR approach for parent-coaching

  • Teach- Introduce the strategy.
    This is where you describe and explain how and when to use the strategy with the child.
  • Model- Explain & Demonstrate the strategy.
    Demonstrate using that strategy with the child. While you are modeling the strategy explain when and why you used it. Relate the strategy back to the child’s behavior and language (e.g., “when I did X, your child did Y”).
  • Coach- Opportunities for practice.
    Provide an opportunity for the caregiver to practise the strategy and coach the by giving relevant feedback.
    Coach the caregiver to use this effectively by giving relevant feedback. Feedback should involve praise and constructive feedback about what they could do differently, and why.
  • Review- Discuss, Reflect and Plan.
    Discuss with the caregiver how they feel about the session and target strategy. Ask if they have any questions.
    Reflect on the session with them. Reinforce how the caregiver used the target strategy and relate this to the child’s behavior/communication skills.
    Make a plan for when caregiver will use the strategy at home.

If you want an easy-to-understand handout about this approach, which has more information and ideas, enter your details below.

The TMCR approach is one of many evidence-based approaches/models you can use in your parent-coaching sessions in Early Intervention. The important thing is to remember, as discussed in the previous parts of this Parent-Coaching Mini-Series is to provide opportunities for practice, reflection, and feedback.

If you want more ideas for delivering effective, evidence-based Early Intervention sessions. Check out the Early Intervention Handbook.

A picture of the contents pages from the Early Intervention Handbook with a finger pointing at a section on the contents page.



Roberts, M., Kaiser, A., Wolfe, C., Bryant, J., & Spidalieri, A. (2014). The effects of the teach-model-coach-review instructional approach on caregiver use of language support strategies and children’s expressive language skills. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 57, 1851-1869. Access the research papers from EI Northwestern here