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Effective Goal Setting in Supervision
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you feel that setting a "goal" with your supervisee is a way of focusing
his or her energy? In encouraging and assisting supervisees in establishing goals,
you can help your supervisee in focusing him or herself better and elevate their
performance. As you may know, a goal is an event, circumstance, object, or condition
a supervisee strives to attain.
In this section, we will examine the four characteristics
of effective goal setting with your supervisee: setting specific goals; setting realistically difficult goals; mutual supervisee-supervisor goal agreement; and
of Effective Goal Setting
♦ #1 - Setting Specific Goals
of all, as you are aware, it is important to set specific goals with your supervisee.
A goal such as "improving performance" is too general to produce results.
Do you agree?
Four questions to ask yourself that are helpful in setting goals:
-- What does my supervisee
need to work on or improve?
-- In what areas is my supervisee lacking?
Is he or she lacking in the area of client empathy?
-- Does my supervisee understand
our agency and state confidentiality requirements and laws?
-- How can I set goals that will be effective and target the specific areas
that need work?
Consider turning the CD player off and asking yourself,
"What other questions can I think of to ask about my supervisee and help
Also, it goes without saying that it's important to set an
actual time frame for accomplishing these goals. This of course works well with
objective tasks like dictating client progress notes in a timely manner. A set
amount of time in this case adds extra motivation to achieve this goal reasonably
quickly. For less tangible goals like increasing self-awareness of client -therapist
countertransference issues, time frames might be more long-term. Thus, you might
consider setting goals for different time periods.
Different goals of varied difficulty,
as in the case of client-therapist countertransference, will also vary in the
amount of time it will take to accomplish them. Do you agree? You might try setting
daily goals, short-term goals, to be accomplished between your hourly individual
training sessions; medium-term goals, perhaps with a time frame of 30 days; and
long-term goals, perhaps with a time frame of several months. In your manual,
there is a form to facilitate your thought process regarding the establishment
of these goals.
♦ #2 - Setting Realistic Goals
consider formulating realistically difficult goals. This could be tricky, couldn't
it? First, you must consider how to stretch your supervisee's capabilities. If
goals are not challenging enough for him or her, there is no way for the supervisee
to stretch his or her skills, and thus no improvement. On the other hand, goals
that are too difficult or constraining can frustrate your supervisee. This is
where the knowledge of your supervisee comes into play. It is not only vital to
be aware of the potential of him or her, but also to understand and acknowledge
his or her limitations.
Essentially, some supervisors think of it as bringing
their supervisee as close to the edge as possible while not simultaneously pushing
them over into frustration or a major stressor point. Consider turning your CD
player off, and thinking about your supervisee. Do you know where they are at
now and where they need to grow? If they are new, is it in the area of knowledge
of community resources? If they are into resistance of change from a therapy style
not compatible with the philosophy or your agency, are they into discomfort dodging,
feelings of entitlement, or unwillingness to compromise.
♦ #3 -
Cooperation in Goal Setting
Thirdly, in addition to setting specific and
realistically difficult goals, be sure that the supervisee you are trying to challenge
accepts your goals. When a supervisee is on board, so to speak, with your objectives,
he or she can easily motivate themselves to accomplish these goals. Do you agree?
When you merely impose tasks on a supervisee, he or she might begin to feel constrained
and will possibly feel reluctant to work cooperatively.
For instance, scheduling
sessions with your supervisee is an important goal to work out with him or her.
If the supervisee feels that he or she is competent enough to do their work with
only one supervision session a week, you might disagree. Perhaps you feel it is
necessary to meet at the minimum three times a week. This goal of supervision
sessions must also be discussed in reference to just how you as a supervisor feels
most comfortable in observing your supervisee.
One supervisor wanted to observe
his supervisee through videotape, noting the supervisee's emphatic facial expressions.
The supervisee, however, felt uncomfortable with that much observation. Instead
of forcing the therapist to accept the video tape, the supervisor compromised
with audiotape instead of videotape. To avoid an uncooperative supervisee situation,
I feel it is extremely important to discuss these goals with your supervisee prior
to creating them. I also feel that supervisors and supervisees should have a coaching
or mentoring relationship, which will be explained in a later section.
♦ #4 -
In addition to setting specific and realistically difficult
goals, and mutual supervisee-supervisor goal agreement, a fourth characteristic
of successful supervisee goal setting is, of course, giving feedback. This is,
quite obviously, a correcting tool as well as a motivational tool. As you know,
it's beneficial to give your supervisee an update on how their development is
proceeding. This is a good opportunity to set additional daily, short-term, medium,
or long-term goals during your supervision sessions.
Also, to state the obvious,
when a supervisee is steadily progressing, it is a good idea to let him or her
know you are pleased with their growth. Acknowledgment, especially from a supervisor,
will inspire your supervisee to continue their performance. This should go without
saying, but we all get busy and it's easy to overlook the obvious. Encouragement
will be dealt with in the empowerment section of this CD.
this section, we discussed the four characteristics of effective goal setting: setting
specific goals; setting realistically difficult goals; mutual supervisee-supervisor
goal agreement; and giving feedback.
In the next section, we
will propose a new method of resolving conflict: observation; thoughts; feedback;
desires; and next time.
Peer-Reviewed Journal Article References:
Aarts, H. (2019). Goal setting theory and the mystery of setting goals. Motivation Science, 5(2), 106–107.
Keum, B. T., & Wang, L. (2021). Supervision and psychotherapy process and outcome: A meta-analytic review. Translational Issues in Psychological Science, 7(1), 89–108.
Morisano, D., Hirsh, J. B., Peterson, J. B., Pihl, R. O., & Shore, B. M. (2010). Setting, elaborating, and reflecting on personal goals improves academic performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 95(2), 255–264.
Rapp, C. A., Goscha, R. J., & Fukui, S. (2015). Enhanced consumer goal achievement through strengths-based group supervision. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 38(3), 268–272.
Veilleux, J. C., Schwartz-Mette, R. A., & Gregus, S. J. (2021). Development of the standardized supervisee framework as a novel approach to supervision training. Training and Education in Professional Psychology.
What are the four characteristics of effective goal setting with your
supervisee? To select and enter your answer go to .