MyGoals for Employment Success: Implementation Findings from the Evaluation of Employment Coaching

MyGoals for Employment Success: Implementation Findings from the Evaluation of Employment Coaching

OPRE Report #2022-250
Published: Oct 31, 2022
Publisher: Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Associated Project

Evaluation of Employment Coaching for TANF and Related Populations

Time frame: 2016-2021

Prepared for:

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation


Correne Saunders

Karen Gardiner

Sheena McConnell

Key Findings
  • The MyGoals coaching model is complex, with a 12-step process, a nested hierarchy of goal levels, and four domains for goal-setting. Coaches initially found it difficult to master all components; additional training and technical assistance helped coaches understand the model and its flexibility.
  • Coaches reported that the MyGoals coaching tools were helpful. In line with the program design, coaches used some tools early in the coaching relationship and others in later sessions.
  • Per the MyGoals design, coaches discussed self-regulation skills explicitly with participants.
  • Coaches focused on developing strong and trusting relationships with participants; many participants reported positive relationships with their coaches.
  • While coaches were generally nondirective, some coaches struggled with this aspect of coaching.
  • MyGoals coaches had four-year degrees and prior experience in social services. Additionally, most had experience in coaching (though not always employment coaching). Their qualifications and the training they received from program designers contributed to their ability to learn and implement the complex model.
  • In alignment with the design, participants and coaches had monthly contact; by month nine, about two-thirds of participants were still participating in MyGoals.
  • Coaches and participants had mixed perceptions regarding the value of incentives; coaches expressed that incentives encouraged participant engagement by covering costs incurred by attending sessions but that incentives were not the reason participants engaged. Some participants said incentives motivated program engagement while others said incentives did not motivate them to engage.
  • Participants reported receipt of referrals and other supports, but some indicated more direct employment assistance, such as concrete job search resources, would also be helpful.

This report summarizes the design and implementation of MyGoals for Employment Success (MyGoals), an experimental employment coaching demonstration program developed by MDRC, a research organization, with assistance from Arnold Ventures and other funders, and launched in early 2017. The program aims to help recipients of housing assistance in Baltimore and Houston who are unemployed or working less than 20 hours a month set and achieve employment and related goals. Coaches follow a systematic process that focuses explicitly on self-regulation skills—the skills needed to finish tasks, stay organized, and control emotions. Financial incentives are offered for attending coaching sessions and achieving employment outcomes. MyGoals is one of four coaching interventions included in the Evaluation of Employment Coaching for TANF and Related Populations. The evaluation assesses the implementation of the four coaching interventions and their impacts on study participants’ self-regulation skills, employment, earnings, self-sufficiency, and other measures of personal and family well-being.

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