Coaches Across Continents has developed its own unique WISER model for monitoring and evaluating its programs around the world. We invest not just in our programs but also in what takes place after our coaches leave the country, spanning the process from SMART objectives to WISER outcomes.
In a known and predictable world rational solutions can be planned, for training as for anything else. A training program based on the concept of the transferability of skills can be organized and implemented so that coaches acquire the skills they are thought to need in order to achieve pre-determined, often narrow, SMART objectives (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely). However, such a training approach takes little account of idiosyncratic local needs, perspectives, and opportunities and can’t cope with a world of uncertainty or a high degree of complexity. It is a “one size fits all” approach, which, paradoxically, may be a misfit everywhere.
Coaches Across Continents works in complex, challenging, and constantly changing environments which demand a significant degree of knowledge, analysis, judgment, and flexibility in order to meet the context-specific requirements of every unique situation. Accordingly Coaches Across Continents goes beyond training and “educates” coaches to make appropriate choices in their use of our curriculum in their work in significantly varying situations. Using a cascade model of development in order to optimize program sustainability, these coaches then educate locally based coaches to similarly utilize this unique and effective curriculum.
Wisdom is the power of judging rightly. Without wisdom success is impossible in situations which are complex and ever-changing. Therefore the evaluation model of Coaches Across Continents has of necessity evolved beyond the simplistic and potentially ineffective concept of SMART objectives to evaluation based on WISER outcomes.
Coaches, both international and local, are required to evaluate their programs based on the following WISER criteria:
Was the program workable? How did it take account of and respond to the specific reality and needs of the unique context?
- What was unique about the context?
- What particular needs were identified?
- What were chosen as local priorities and why?
- How were these priorities met?
Did the program have impact and achieve behavior change?
- What aspects of the curriculum, activities and games had the greatest impact?
- Why did you think that was? What contributed to that success?
- How did that impact show?
- Were there any aspects of the curriculum that did not have impact?
- Why did you think that was? What contributed to the lack of impact?
- How could you use the curriculum, activities and games to create greater impact?
Was the program and curriculum situated within the network of local relationships within the community?
- How did the curriculum align with local partners and build on existing programmes?
- How did the programme build relationships and gain credibility within the community?
- How did the programme add value to the community?
Was the program educational?
- Did the participants demonstrate that they had developed life skills through experiential learning?
- Did the participants learn the factual information related to each of the curriculum themes?
- Did the participants learn soccer skills?
- What other evidence was there of learning new behaviours?
What results were achieved, both quantitative and qualitative?
- What criteria were used to measure or judge success?
- How many people attended the program? Did the attendance increase or drop off throughout the program?
- What was the evidence of community interest in the program?
- What was the evidence of learning by participants and within the community as a result of the program?
- What was the evidence of sustainability of the program?
By seeing the limitation of the SMART objectives way of understanding things, Coaches Across Continents is moving beyond simplistic training methods and superficial numerical evaluation. In grasping the nettle of WISER outcomes, Coaches Across Continents is at the forefront of evaluation that honors complexity, speaks to the uniqueness of local contexts, builds on emerging strengths, enhances sustainability, and empowers coaches to move from chance to informed choices in their work within communities.