2010 Jordan Institute
15, No. 3
Tools to Strengthen Your Practice
Outline for a Supervisory Conference
- What is my agenda for this conference?
- What are the key safety and high risk-related cases and issues I must review?
- What professional goals do I want to reinforce and support with this worker?
- What are the performance issues I want to address?
- Have I protected the conference time so I won’t be unnecessarily interrupted or distracted?
- What are the worker’s questions or issues from the last conference that I need to be prepared to address in this conference?
- Are there issues or information from administration that I need to share in this conference?
- Have I shared my agenda with the worker so the worker is able to prepare?
- Has the worker had an opportunity for input into the agenda?
- Have I prepared myself to focus and listen objectively and “lead from one step behind” (Tuning-in skills; solution-focused values and questions)?
- Have I considered the worker’s learning/work style in preparing the conference environment and my engagement style?
- Greet the supervisee.
- Small talk, if appropriate for worker’s learning/work style.
- Review and confirm agenda, adding new items based on worker/supervisor input.
- Ask the worker to review a selected case.
- Ask worker about any changes in demographics, household composition, or whereabouts.
Examples of solution-focused questions useful in exploring the area of safety.
- Ask the worker for last safety assessment results and current safety plan.
- Ask the worker if child remains safe.
- Using scaling, ask the worker to assign a number that reflects the worker’s confidence level about the child remaining safe, with 0 being no confidence at all and 10 being very confident.
- Ask the worker for information and observations that led the worker to assign that confidence number, especially exceptions to the problem behaviors and/or evidence of client making more effective use of strengths.
- Ask the worker what the client or others need to do to increase that number by one point.
- Ask what he or she believes the worker needs to do or continue to do to help the client reach that one point improvement.
- Ask what the worker needs in terms of supervisor support, training, etc. to effectively support the client’s progress in meeting service/permanency goals.
NOTE: The above questions can be modified to review current levels of risk and/or service plan objectives and to explore client and worker strengths and opportunities to promote positive change.
Ask worker about client’s goals/”Miracle” (personal goals; family goals; well-being issues).
- What are the strengths that the client possesses that can contribute to accomplishment of the “Miracle”?
- Has the client experienced any small part of the “Miracle”?
- What can the worker do to further support positive movement toward the “Miracle”?
Review worker’s professional goals
(This review can be done periodically on a schedule determined by the supervisor and worker).
- Review goals
- Ask what the worker is presently doing to move toward accomplishing professional goals.
- Ask how well these efforts are working.
- Ask what else the worker can do.
- Ask what the worker needs from the supervisor and/or others to continue positive movement toward accomplishment of professional goals.
- Give/receive feedback about what was useful to the worker and what was less useful.
- Prepare tentative agenda for next supervisory meeting.
- Assign tasks that need to be accomplished in preparation for next conference with timeframes.
- Thank worker for preparation, presentation of information, and feedback.
Excerpted from the course 521 Strength-Based, Solution-Focused Supervision. Reprinted with permission from the Pennsylvania Child Welfare Training Program, 2008 <http://www.pacwcbt.pitt.edu>