Keys to Successful Supervision

Keys to Successful Supervision is designed for supervisors. This two-hour module introduces the basic concepts of supervision and moves the learner to advanced, evidence-based methods of supervision that enhance staff's ability to make positive impacts in the lives of children and families.

Before starting the module, complete the pre-module survey.

Features of the Module

The module features:

  • Interactive exercises that provide insight on the benefits of reflective supervision
  • Illustrations of how effective feedback and coaching will lead to better service delivery for families
  • Input from program supervisors incorporated throughout the development/review process

Follow-Up Support

After completing the module, access the ongoing follow-up support  below.

Keys to Successful Supervision was developed in partnership with:

  • Texas Department of Family and Protective Services – Prevention and Early Intervention
  • Central Counties Services
  • Easter Seals Rio Grande Valley, Inc.
  • Heart of Texas Region MHMR Center
  • Katy Independent School District
  • LifePath Systems
  • Lubbock Independent School District
  • MHMR of Tarrant County
  • Region XIX Education Service Center
  • Texoma Community Center
  • First3Years
  • Office of Head Start
  • Representatives from the ECI Advisory Committee
  • Texas Education Agency
  • Texas Health and Human Services Commission
  • Texas Home Visiting

Keys to Successful Supervision: Ongoing Support

Ongoing support helps you in your role as a supervisor as you apply new skills using reflective supervision.

You will be provided with follow-up support at three months, six months, nine months, and one year after completion of the initial training to continually support you as you incorporate the knowledge, skills, and strategies gained from completing the module. At each stage, you will be asked to:

  • evaluate your ongoing professional development using reflective supervision;
  • evaluate how you have applied the skills you learned; and
  • analyze the results of your application.

Tools will be provided to help with your ongoing implementation of new knowledge, skills, and strategies related to supervision. Resource tools may include current literature, checklists, forms specifically developed to assist in implementation, webinars, etc.

3 Month Follow-Up Support

Complete the 3 month follow-up survey. Once you have completed the survey, review the learning objectives below. For each learning objective, there is an associated continuing education opportunity.

After completing the module you will be able to Resources Activity

Understand and explain what supervision is and why it is important

DEC Recommended Practices (PDF): Leadership — The Leadership practices address the responsibilities of those in positions of program authority and leadership related to providing services to young children who have developmental delays/disabilities and their families.

Read the DEC Recommended Practices. Using pages 5-6 write how each practice relates to your role as a supervisor and your understanding of supervision. Recommended responses included.

Incorporate the use of checklists and other tools to monitor staff activities for accountability

The ECI State Office Quality Assurance staff developed a document with recommendations for oversight of program activities. The document is linked in the activity box. Other tools can also be found in the module Resource Binder in the binder labeled Tools.

Use the PDF document as a checklist to determine which reports your program already runs and which you could review more frequently to assist with monitoring staff activities for accountability.

Observe staff and provide reflective feedback

Questions to Ask in Post-Observation Conferences for a Reflective Practice (PDF). Dr. Arda Arikan writes about the different ways to observe and provide feedback. Pages 4-6 provides detailed information on how to use reflective feedback.

Coaching Practices Rating Scale for Assessing Adherence to Evidence-Based Early Childhood Intervention Practices (PDF). Complete an observation of staff using this tool. Provide reflective feedback by using sample reflective phrases from Dr. Arda Arikan's document.

Identify and implement the three elements of reflective supervision (reflection, collaboration, regularity)

A Collection of Tips on Becoming a: Reflective Supervisor (PDF). The Early Head Start National Resource Center describes how to include the three elements of reflective supervision into supervision meetings with practical examples.

Provide staff with the link or a copy to the article, A Collection of Tips on Becoming a: Reflective Supervisee (PDF).  Discuss with staff shared expectations around the three elements of reflective supervision. Take notes of the conversation in your journal.

Demonstrate techniques that enhance open communication and collaboration

News You Can Use: A Circle of Support for Infants and Toddlers – Reflective Practices and Strategies in Early Head Start. This article explains the parallel process and provides scenarios for how to use open communication and collaboration with positive results.

Using the activity from the module (PDF),  select 3 additional phrases you can incorporate into reflective supervision sessions. Keep track of the phrases being used and reflect in your journal on the effectiveness of using the phrase to open communication.

Describe the value of reflective supervision and the impact on quality staff development and services provided to families

The Early Head Start National Resource Center developed a PDF explaining the different components of reflective supervision and why these components are important for staff.

Read the Early Head Start document (PDF). Using the document as a guide, complete the worksheet to identify changes in performance and productivity from providing the various components.

Incorporate strategies to improve efficiency as a supervisor

Review Worksheet 3 (PDF) that you filled out during completion of the module.

Complete the follow-up worksheet (PDF) to reflect on what went well and how you might continue to develop efficiencies.

Practice the skills and abilities of an effective reflective supervisor

Reflective Practice, Supervision & Self-Care (PDF). The Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors developed a report discussing how to evaluate your performance, the importance of self-care and the prevention of burnout.

From the report, read pages 5-9 and 20-23 (PDF). In your journal, answer the reflective questions on page 9.

Develop self-awareness as a reflective supervisor

Children's Hospital Boston developed a short paper titled, Self-Reflection and Shared Reflection as Professional Tools (PDF), through a grant from the Office of Head Start.

Consider using meeting time to have a collaborative discussion with your staff about the importance of self-reflection. At the end of the meeting reflect on the questions listed on this worksheet (PDF).

6 Month Follow-Up Support

Complete the six month follow-up survey. Once you have completed the survey, review the learning objectives below. For each learning objective, there is an associated continuing education opportunity.

After completing the module you will be able to Resources Activity

Understand and explain what supervision is and why it is important

Guidelines for Reflective Supervision. The Alliance for the Advancement of Infant Mental Health developed reflective supervision guidelines. The information includes descriptions of the three types of supervision.

After reading the guidelines, complete the worksheet (PDF) to reflect on the type of supervision you provide most often and how supervision ultimately effects families.

Incorporate the use of checklists and other tools to monitor staff activities for accountability

An Analysis of Needs and Service Planning in the Texas Early Childhood Intervention Program (PDF). In 2009, Texas contracted with SRI International to study and compare service needs of families participating in the ECI program versus the actual types and frequency of services received.

Based on the information you learned from the report, answer the questions in the attached PDF.

Observe staff and provide reflective feedback

Identify and implement the 3 elements of reflective supervision (reflection, collaboration, regularity)

A Framework for Reflective Questioning When Using a Coaching Interaction Style (PDF). National experts Dathan Rush, M'Lisa Shelden and Melinda Raab define and provide an overview of reflection with evidence to support the practice.

Observe a staff member during a visit with a family. Using the Framework for Reflective Questioning (PDF), check off the questions you hear the staff member using during the visit. Are the reflective questions representative of various levels? If not, how will you support staff to be more diverse in asking reflective questions? Review your observations with staff and have staff select a few questions to begin incorporating into visits.

Check off the questions you use during a session. What types of questions do you commonly ask? Select a new phrase from each row under Analysis and Action to begin incorporating into supervision sessions.

Demonstrate techniques that enhance open communication and collaboration

Communication for Teaming and Collaboration Checklist (PDF). The Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center developed a checklist related to the DEC Recommended Practices on Teaming and Collaboration.

After filling out the checklist (PDF), develop a plan of action for the areas indicating the practice characteristic is never or sometimes used.

Describe the value of reflective supervision and the impact on quality staff development and services provided to families

Professional Development Through Reflective Consultation in Early Intervention (PDF). This article explains the importance of reflective consultation for the early intervention provider with supporting data and research.

Complete the survey (PDF) with staff. How can you use this information to provide more effective/quality support for your staff?

Incorporate strategies to improve efficiency as a supervisor

Save Yourself Time With a Time Audit. Frances Booth writes about the importance of a time audit and describes how to audit your time.

Complete this PDF form to audit your time. What have you learned from your audit? What are things you can do to make your schedule more efficient?

Practice the skills and abilities of an effective reflective supervisor.

Develop self-awareness as a reflective supervisor.

Motivation and Guidance in Leadership Checklist (PDF). The Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center developed a checklist related to the DEC Recommended Practices on Leadership.

After filling out the checklist (PDF), develop a plan of action for the areas indicating the practice characteristic is never or sometimes used.

9 Month Follow-Up Support

Complete the nine month follow up survey.  Once you have completed the survey, review the learning objectives below. For each learning objective, there is an associated continuing education opportunity.

After completing the module you will be able to Resources Activity

After completing the module, you will be able to:

Resource:

Activity:

Understand and explain what supervision is and why it is important

What is Reflective Supervision? Multiplying Connections highlights the value of Reflective Supervision in this short article. It focuses on the importance of supervision while being dedicated to supporting those who work with trauma victims. 

After reading this article, what two connections you can make and agree upon as to why Reflective Supervision is important?

 

If you have used other supervisory methods in the past did you achieve the same type of outcomes with your staff?   What were similarities or differences in the processes and outcomes?     

Incorporate the use of checklists and other tools to monitor staff activities for accountability

Head Start and Early Head Start Relationship-Based Competencies for Staff and Supervisors Who Work with Families. This document represents competencies supporting research-based and best practices in the early childhood, human services, and social work fields. It can assist and help build capacity for staff and supervisors who work with families. 

Read through the Relationship Based Competencies (RBC’s) and determine one or two competencies that will support growth in the service provider’s knowledge, skills and actions. Use the RBC’s as a way to monitor staff and guide discussions in supervision.       

Observe staff and provide reflective feedback

Head Start and Early Head Start Relationship-Based Competencies for Staff and Supervisors Who Work with Families. This document represents competencies supporting research-based and best practices in the early childhood, human services, and social work fields. It can assist and help build capacity for staff and supervisors who work with families. 

After observing staff, provide reflective feedback tying in the RBC’s and how the knowledge, skills and actions positively support the families who receive services.  

 

Think about an event when you provided feedback:

  • Did that staff feel supported?
  • What skills did you use to encourage support and opportunities that enhanced the discussion?       

Identify and implement the three elements of reflective supervision (reflection, collaboration, regularity)

From this article and reflecting on the section, Professional Development Strategies, what is one competency you can focus on over the next few months while delivering reflective supervision.

 

Follow-up:  How did it go? What were positive outcomes? Are there areas to work on further?

 

Have you been more comfortable with some of the competencies over others?  Are there certain staff you can use those competencies/tools with vs others?   What is creating this feeling?   

Demonstrate techniques that enhance open communication and collaboration

Leadership Self-Assessment: Is My Supervisory Style Reflective? ZERO TO THREE has published a self-assessment tool which is in the article Being in Charge: Reflective Leadership in Infant/Family Programs; Rebecca Parlakian & Nancy L Seibel.

After rating yourself in the self-assessment, reflect on your responses and continue to work on your goals as a supervisor, including suggestions from the "Understanding Your Reponses." 

Describe the value of reflective supervision and the impact on quality staff development and services provided to families

What is Reflective Functioning? How do we encourage and build reflective capacity? The University of New Mexico Center for Development and Disability CYFD Home Visiting Program Professional Development Team provides various short articles to address specific issues related to home visiting. Here is one on the impact of supervision and building reflective capacity.

Consider the suggestions in “An Idea to Try…” Think about:

  • the parallel process;
  • how you display reflective supervision; and
  • the impact on the supervisee. 

How does modeling in reflective supervision give the supervisee skills and tools so their families benefit in a similar way?

Incorporate strategies to improve efficiency as a supervisor

Reflective Supervision and Leadership in Infant and Early Childhood Programs. In Mary Claire Heffron and Trudi Murch’s book they included a supervisor/manager job description. It covers various aspects of the reflective supervisors’ role. You can learn more and find this book at the HHSC ECI Library which can be checked out online.   

Review the job description on page 204, Appendix 4, and compare it to your own.  Assess and determine if there are any differences.  Could something be considered, added or changed to your improve the efficiency of your day to day duties?

Practice the skills and abilities of an effective reflective supervisor

A Practical Guide to Reflective Supervision. This book edited by Sherryl Scott Heller and Linda Gilkerson, also available at the HHSC ECI Library, focuses on the various aspects of establishing and delivering reflective supervision.

After reading Chapter 4 – What Does a Reflective Supervisory Relationship Look Like? reflect upon your skills and how you have identified the supervisory relationship with supervisee’s. Have the relationships with your supervisee’s progressed to a different level? Do you begin the process differently now with new supervisee’s than when you first started? If so, what is different and how has your delivery of supervision changed?  

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12 Month Follow-Up Support

Complete the twelve month follow up survey. Once you have completed the survey, review the learning objectives below. For each learning objective, there is an associated continuing education opportunity.

After completing the module you will be able to Resources Activity

After completing the module, you will be able to:

Resource:

Activity:

Understand and explain what supervision is and why it is important

Best Practice Guidelines For Reflective Supervision/Consultation The Michigan Association of Infant Mental Health emphasizes the importance of reflective supervision and consultation in this document.

In this document, review the differences between administrative, clinical, and reflective supervision. With two supervisees, discuss why reflective supervision aligns with best practices using some of the examples listed. Discuss how this impacts the supervisory relationship and families. Also, include a specific example of when and where administrative and clinical supervision may be needed.

After a few months reflect on the discussions with your supervisees and then continue to do this with the others. By doing so, you are providing an opportunity to re-evaluate the reflective relationship.

Incorporate the use of checklists and other tools to monitor staff activities for accountability

Improving employee accountability for goals in your organization This article talks about the importance of remembering the development of goals from an annual performance review. 

From this article, review "SMART" goals and identify how you monitor staff progress to support his/her work and professional development. If this isn't built into your supervision, could it be added quarterly, similar to the article? How would you build it in? 

Observe staff and provide reflective feedback

Example of Reflective Supervision Collaborative Family Healthcare Association began implementing reflective supervision with staff. This document explores the three elements of reflective supervision.

 

Read through the supervisor and supervisee dialogue. Identify the questions the supervisor uses for reflection. After having a chance to observe a staff member providing services, listen to what is shared in supervision and focus on questions you can ask to explore reflection from the example.  Attend to the parallel process and the steps taken in collaboration with your supervisee's.  

 

 

Identify and implement the three elements of reflective supervision (reflection, collaboration, regularity)

 

Demonstrate techniques that enhance open communication and collaboration

Reflective Strategies: Sustaining Effective Practice Office of Head Start The National Center on Parent, Family and Community Engagement has a section within their website focused on Building Partnerships: Guide to Developing Relationships with Families.  

In this link, read through the following sections:

  • Reflective Practice,
  • Self-Reflection,
  • Reflective Supervision, and
  • Reflective Strategies Summary.

Reflect upon the Strength-based Attitudes section within “Reflective Supervision” and identify how you make time for your own reflection as a supervisor.

Describe the value of reflective supervision and the impact on quality staff development and services provided to families

Reflective Strategies: Sustaining Effective Practice Office of Head Start: The National Center on Parent, Family and Community Engagement has a section on website focused on Building Partnerships: Guide to Developing Relationships with Families.  

From this four section article, share the Reflective Strategies Summary (PDF) with your supervisees. Have staff think of one family where change occurred due to the relation-based or coaching services delivered. Discuss the change that occurred in supervision, compare the initial and current relationship with the family.. 

Incorporate strategies to improve efficiency as a supervisor

What is Reflective Supervision? Tips on Becoming a Reflective Supervisor and a Reflective Supervisee. This collection of tips on becoming a reflective supervisor or supervisee supports the process and planning of implementing reflective supervision.

Review the tip sheet and identify one suggestion from the supervisor's plan you could incorporate into reflective supervision. Add this strategy to at least two of your supervisee sessions.  

 

Follow-up: Describe any changes or progress.

Practice the skills and abilities of an effective reflective supervisor

What is Reflective Supervision? Tips on Becoming a Reflective Supervisor and a Reflective Supervisee. This collection of tips on becoming a reflective supervisor or supervisee supports the process and planning of implementing reflective supervision.

Select one supervisee and share the Tips on Becoming a Supervisee with him/her. Ask him/her to read over the tips and identify one he/she can implement during the time spent in supervision. Share with him/her the supervisor tip sheet and your implementation plan.  This will be a way for both to practice newly identified skills or areas of growth in the reflective supervision process.   

 

Follow-up: Discuss any changes that have been felt or occurred.