National Park Service
US Department of the Interior
National Park Service
Interpretive Development Program

Training & Coaching

Benchmark Competency Description

Interpretive trainers and coaches support interpreters in connecting people to parks. Trainers and coaches amplify their impact and enhance visitor experiences by ensuring that their trainees can offer audiences opportunities to form intellectual and/or emotional connections with the meanings of the resources. Resource meanings specifically refer to the personal relevance and the national/societal significance of a site.

Training and coaching can take a variety of forms: formal training sessions, program audits, coaching sessions, concept modeling, directed self-study, mentoring, and group sharing. To be effective, the interpretive trainer and coach must have a solid grounding in the techniques and theories of interpretation and training. They must also possess a clear understanding of, and responsiveness to, the training, coaching, and developmental needs of their audience.

Competency Standard

The Interpretive Trainer and Coach:

  • Provides training and coaching that effectively identifies, articulates, and conveys the elements of successful interpretation.
  • Provides training and coaching that ultimately results in opportunities for park audiences to make connections to resource meanings.
  • Identifies and addresses specific learning objectives based on the developmental needs of trainees and in support of the park's interpretive needs/goals.
  • Provides effective interpretive training by applying knowledge of both interpretive and training theory and technique.
  • Consistently assesses training and coaching audience's comprehension and interest through verbal/visual cues. Adjusts training, coaching methods, and/or content based on those cues.
  • Identifies and articulates, verbally and in writing, the elements of interpretive success in the work of others.
  • Applies a 'positive assessment' strategy that identifies existing elements of effectiveness in the work of others. Makes coaching suggestions that build on and reinforce those positive elements.
  • Uses evaluative feedback and self-assessment to gauge effectiveness of training and coaching methods. Makes improvements based on this feedback