COACH Program Overview

The COACH Program is for coalitions and collaboratives who have already participated in HWLI's Community Teams Program. The COACH Program (Collaborating, Organizing and Advocating for Community Health) offers three-years of coaching and technical assistance to continue strengthening skills and implementing policy, systems and environmental changes that will improve health in Wisconsin communities.

 Policy, Systems, and Environmental Change

The COACH Program works with teams to increase their skills and capacity for community health improvement work and to implement policy, systems, and environmental changes in their communities. HWLI program staff work with teams to establish goals and tailor the COACH curriculum and skill building activities to help teams meet their objectives.  The COACH curriculum offers the following skill building activities:

Collaborative Leadership Skills

  • Facilitation principles: what to keep in mind while facilitating different types of meetings and groups
  • Using quality improvement 
  • Understanding your team members and how to work together through Real Colors exercises
  • Coaching around conflict management and working through tough situations
  • Practices for building a learning community

Community Engagement

  • Writing a community engagement plan
  • Using community organizing to build a base and engage communities most impacted by the issues
  • Using collective impact strategies to plan for engagement and sustainability 
  • Using community conversations and appreciative inquiry to learn about what your constituents need
  • Applying health equity and cultural humility to your engagement and work 
  • Practicing 1-1s and how to train your coalition on this practice

Planning for Action

  • Using root cause analysis to assess which social determinants of health are impacting the health issues and strategizing to impact those in communities
  • Using action and evaluation planning templates to create manageable work plans to get things done
  • Creating benchmarks that help teams know they are getting things done toward policy, systems, and environmental changes  
  • Writing sustainability plans that emphasize financial sustainability and sustainability in the community, including skills like grant writing


  • Using storytelling to disseminate activities, events, and findings that will impact the work toward policy, systems, and environmental change work
  • Framing an effective message for community health promotion
  • Working with the media to enhance presence in the community and to disseminate activities, events, and findings 
  • Using social media and social marketing 

Other skills and activities:

  • Coalition best practices and how to strengthen your coalition functioning
  • Health Impact Assessment Tools and process: assessing the impact of potential policies and programs
  • Equity Assessment Tools and process: assessing for health equity and social determinants of health
  • How to facilitate the Community Facilitated Logic Model
  • Looking for and applying for funding (a brief overview)
  • Community Needs Assessment Tools: how to find one that you can implement in your community
  • Community Needs Assessments: How to find data that highlights your work and goals
  • Governance structures and how to negotiate power in coalitions
  • Power mapping: facilitating this tool and using it effectively in your coalition
  • Mobilizing and Advocacy: Getting your coalition and community to respond or promote important issues
  • Talking to legislators and policymakers
  • Values proposition: Talking to stakeholders about what is most important


Program Curriculum Events

The COACH program is delivered over three years employing a mix of site visits, COACH Community Calls, a COACH Summit, and a COACH Program Culmination Ceremony.  

Site visits focus on developing and implementing your action plan for policy, systems, and environmental changes. Since teams may be at different stages in the process, team-specific needs are incorporated into these meetings.

COACH Summit is an interactive and participatory workshop where COACH teams will join the Community Teams Program participants and have an opportunity for peer-to-peer learning and to work across teams in both programs. The summit will include topics such as community organizing, policy advocacy, storytelling, and collective impact, which will enhance individual and collaborative leadership skills.

COACH Connect Calls encourage peer-to-peer learning, dissemination, and in some cases regional or initiative-based collaboration that contribute to greater impact.  COACH Connect Calls will be hosted by HWLI staff twice a year where COACH teams will have the opportunity make announcements, seek feedback  from other teams, work toward statewide and regional collaborations and alignment, and to gain pertinent information on topics that COACH teams are working on.  

COACH Program Culmination Ceremony is a time to celebrate your success with  your fellow COACH team members and with the Community Teams Program participants. HWLI will provide time for peer-to-peer networking and collaboration around topics like sustainability and longevity, as well as  time to view videos and stories from teams across both programs.


A Regional Approach

To increase shared learning across communities and reduce time and distance barriers, the COACH program will be offered regionally. In 2017 the COACH Program will recruit teams in the Northeast region of Wisconsin.

Despite this regional approach, the COACH Program is open to statewide teams and teams who are ready to start implementing policy, systems, and environmental changes in their communities. 

HWLI Regional Map
  • 2014 Southeastern
  • 2015 Northwestern
  • 2016 Southwestern 
  • 2017 Northeastern

For more information or questions, please contact Shor Salkas, COACH Program Lead 608-469-4042 or