13 Sep Coaches’ Corner: Evaluating the Effects of Supervision
Providing supervision to RBTs, students, apprentices, and others eager to learn in our growing field is a BIG job. While it is certainly a rewarding experience, supervising is also a huge responsibility. For newer BCBAs this can sometimes feel overwhelming. While accruing the extensive experience hours required to become certified as a BCBA, these individuals receive hands-on practice supervising other RBTs, providing feedback, and coaching. A skill that is more difficult to fully develop while working to become a BCBA is evaluating the effects of supervision. To fully evaluate the effects of your supervision, you often need to build rapport and trust with your supervisee, and you may need multiple data points to effectively evaluate the relationship and your skills as a supervisor.
Although the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) requires all BCBAs to continually evaluate the effects of supervision, this is a process that often becomes deprioritized in the shuffle of so many new-found duties for a BCBA just starting in the field. Analyzing the supervisory relationship and your skills as a supervisor is a critical step that must not be sidelined. It’s arguably one of the most important components of a BCBA’s job. Without engaging in the process of evaluating your own supervisory practices, you risk damaging the supervisory relationship, being unable to replicate effective supervision with others, and slowing both the client’s progress and the supervisee’s skill development. Additionally, you may be modeling ineffective supervisory practices for your supervisee who may soon be a BCBA.
There are numerous ways to evaluate the effects of supervision. An indirect route would be for the BCBA to evaluate supervision by looking at objective client outcomes or by interviewing caregivers to determine satisfaction of services. A better option would be to observe your supervisee’s performance and have a discussion with your supervisee about their experience learning from you and their overall satisfaction with your supervisory practices. Other solid options would be for the BCBA to engage in self-monitoring, ask a colleague to engage in peer monitoring, or ask your supervisor to observe you providing supervision.
Collecting data on your supervision, analyzing the data, and making changes to your behavior are paramount in developing effective supervisory practices. The risks of not engaging in these activities have high stakes and can be detrimental to the success of your client and supervisee. I urge you to incorporate diverse methods of evaluating the effects of supervision into your daily practice not only for your own professional growth but for the future of the field of ABA.
Sellers, T.S., LeBlanc, L.A., Valentino, A.L. (2016). Recommendations for detecting and addressing barriers to successful supervision. Behavior Analysis in Practice, doi: 10.1007/s40617-016-0142-z
Behavior Analyst Certification Board (2018). Supervisor training curriculum outline 2.0.