Why Coaching is Important
In the world of Behavior Analysis, we follow a professional code which guides our performance while working in the field. Part of this performance describes working within the realm of our competency and training, maintaining our competence through professional development, and supervising others in the field as they gain their credential.
While obtaining my BCBA credential, I had to gain 1500 hours of supervision while working in the field, with 75 of those hours being directly supervised by a supervisory BCBA (this description is not approved or endorsed by the BACB. Go to www.bacb.com for more information on the BCBA credential). During this time, I was directly coached by my BCBA mentor as I learned new skills to gain competence in the field. Post-BCBA certification, this coaching is no longer required, except in instances where there is a behavior change procedure needed where a BCBA is not trained in the protocol. This training can be acquired through professional development and consultation.
During the course of my certification, I have looked to models outside of our field to gain coaching experience rather than traditional lecture based models of professional development, and have become involved in a few behavior analytic coaching groups that foster training and professional development within our field. I have found that personally, the models that foster peer interaction, and direct feedback and mentorship from a coach, have developed my skills better than the traditional professional development model of "training." I think that more research needs to be done to evaluate the effectiveness of these models of professional development overall, but as a personal anecdote, this has been very helpful in developing my skills as a leader and behavior analyst. As another benefit, these coaching groups have also provided me with peer support. Sometimes in the field we operate alone, or as executives we find it difficult to connect with individuals that are our direct reports, so these groups have provided social reinforcement as well!
Interested in learning more about Coaching? Shaping Development developed these groups in the form of our BCBA Supervision and Behavioral Leadership Coaching Groups.
Feel free to check it out! We hope we can help you shape your development!