5 Tips for Supervision


As a supervisor for trainees in supervision to get board certified, I often get asked for strategies on how to stay organized when completing supervision. These tips are specific to the field of behavior analysis, however; I think you can apply them to most coaching situations! Here are my recommendations:

1) Read the Guidelines

Read the experience documents on the BACB website. Make a list of specific questions from your supervisor about the rules of supervision.Watch the experience tracker youtube video from the BACB website to learn how to use the experience tracker.

2) The Experience Tracker

Fill it out starting from day one, and ask for feedback from your supervisor. At the end of each night, ask yourself "Did I do something behavior analytic today?" If yes, then before you go to bed, log your time in your tracker. (It may help to have it downloaded to your phone in the office excel app).

3) Create an Organization System

Keep a binder (or computer folder) with dividers for each assessment you learn to complete, relevant research you read, or sample data sheets/resources from your supervisor.

4) Help Yourself for Later

Something I have my supervisees do (because I wish I did this when I was in supervision), is from a sample assessment such as the VB-MAPP, PEAK, ABLLS-R, etc, create a generic "goal bank" from the assessment. Generate data sheets that would be tied to these goals. This should be done with feedback from your supervisor, and of course, individualized if you pull from it for future clients, but this is good practice in writing therapy/IEP/treatment goals, and will help you have something to reference when you pass the test and get out there into the field. This can also apply to other activities that you will do often after you become board certified…your supervisor can also give you some more ideas!

5) Practice, Practice, Practice

Ask your supervisor for "homework," if they aren't assigning you any, so that you can practice data analysis, graphing, assessment writing, and training others...because one day you will become the supervisor.

If you’d like to schedule a call to discuss remote supervision or your supervision questions, schedule here!


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 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!


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