Start of the supervisory relationship.
At the start of the supervision relationship it is important to conduct the contracting process as the supervisor to find out what it is expected from both parties. This also allows for new learnings for the supervisee this will look at these certain attributes in the supervisor’s personal history, supervision history, expectations for supervision, professional development, learning styles and how to bring these into the supervisory process. Approach to the work, personal and professional styles. One of the most important parts of the contracting is the aspect of self – care and how this can be incorporated in the work we do, as the supervisor and supervisee.
Contracting is a mutual agreement between supervisor and supervisee, this can be quite fluid regarding experience learnt and the change in relationship at the start of the supervision process, as we grow in experience the contract may change and this can also be reflected to the agency that the supervisee works for (Proctor, 1997).
I have just done a new contract just recently with my supervisor for the agency I now work for and this has helped me know what to expect with the sessions, to come prepared with cases that I am currently working on, professional development opportunities and self-care. It also gave me perspective on what supervisors expect as well. When assessing the supervision contract made between both parties it is interesting to see the different styles of practice which helps with the use of different tools and resources, I would start with the learning styles questionnaire.
With the questionnaire again, it would be good to assist when the relationship is beginning so then we can work on goals that are specific to how the supervisee learns. Along with the contract and questionnaire it can be done throughout the relationship to assist with new job opportunities or roles.
Learning styles Questionnaire – Kolib
The first time I ever completed this questionnaire was when I was going on placement as a social work student it was interesting to see I was an Activist – Reflector. This meant that I involved myself fully without bias in new experiences, ‘live in the here and now’, being open minded an enthusiastic about new experiences I thrive on challenges but get bored easily. Interesting in the supervision sector what it means with this type of people the way we conduct the supervision experience will be dependant on the supervisee and how they learn. It was also interesting that since being in a Social Work role I am still the same regarding having the same learning style.
That in a supervisor’s role the activist considers other’s feelings, perceptions, rationale for action, theory, research and that they plan carefully before acting. Positives can be their energy and enthusiasm for the clients they work with.
Reflectors like to sit back and ponder experiences and observe them from different perspectives. So, when exploring the supervisor’s role value and listen carefully to their observations, especially about feelings. That together the supervisor can ensure that the reflector does not avoid action, participation or responsibility and that they move forward with plans and tasks and not to get stuck in reflecting.
Theorists like to think through things systemically and need to fit most things into a theory. From the supervisory lens to value and utilise their analytic skills, bring to light the emotional component of the work done, and that they have a healthy view of teamwork, it is helpful for the theorist to translate their analysis into practical actions and commitments.
Pragmatists like to get on and do what works. They like to try new things and experiment with ways of doing social work, they implement new ideas and are practical down to earth people who are good at making decisions and solving problems. In supervision pragmatists contribute many good solutions especially when under pressure. Would be good to do a pros and cons list of different approaches to the issue they bring to supervision (Kolib, 2010)
This is an effective tool to use in a session to develop who we are as social workers and for the supervisor to establish a new way of doing supervision with different people especially with relationship dynamics. It also allows reflective practice when working with the clients and organisations.
“There is no “one size fits all” which will suit all workers, disciplines, roles, managers and leaders and services … supervision types will have to be tailored to fit the organisation” (Te Pou, 2013, p.6.).
Circle of concern and circle of influence.
When looking at different tools and resources to assist the supervision process it is imperative to when to bring it in to the conversation as the contracting is used at the start of the supervision relationship and when changes need to happen.
Circle of Concern and the Circle of Influence. This is a fantastic technique to use when working out priorities and taking ownership for individual actions. (Covey, 1992)
The circle of Concern looks at the wide range of concerns that we have such as:
• Health
• Children & Young People
• Work issues
• Government concerns
• Threats to society (terrorism)
The Circle of Influence looks at the concerns that we can do something about, they are concerns that we have some control over.
Circle of Concern uses language that is reactive, while Circles of Influence is proactive. This tool allows Motivational Interviewing skills with probing questions and the CLEAR model of supervision.
When looking at this tool to use in the supervision process it is beneficial to know how the supervisee views what they are going through and what is important to them.
Supervision is a process that is ever – changing and to be able to use tools and resources that will aid in best practice for all involved. It also allows new models of practice to be explored to be more reflective and reflexive in the supervisory role. Learning that all people are different and that there are ways to work on specific concerns through the lens of supervisor and supervisee.
When working with a supervisee or supervisor when is a good time to bring in tools and resources? I think to bring a new way of approaching a situation will only help with different scenario’s like the unsent letter tool could help with voicing what needs to be done with the client or organisation it can be used in many different contexts (Brill, 1990).
I am intrigued as to how this relationship will affect our practice from the past, present and future, how the future will see us in the role as supervisor and the difference this will make to our own supervision. I am excited to use all that I have learnt from the course an as I take on the new responsibility of being a supervisor.
I look forward to putting this into practice and training in new aspects of supervision as I do my Postgraduate Diploma in Supervision, without this course I would never have dreamed of taking this pathway.


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