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Cycling Up to Competency

Engaging in cycles of recorded session critiques, coaching sessions and on-going involvement in Communities of Practice to ‘cycle up’ to competency thresholds in MI or Cognitive Coaching is a very practical path to competency. In fact, when it comes to EBP’s that involve subtleties, complexity and critical timing pieces, there is no faster, more effective way for achieving competency than adhering to these proven cycles.

The Benefits of Cycling Up to Competency

Our research (Bogue, et al, 2013) shows that the more frequent and compressed staff enrichments such as independent performance assessment feedback, coaching, and participation in Communities of Practice are, the greater the learning and progress to competency thresholds. There are several ‘multiplier effects’ to this approach that are worth discussing.

Positive Effects on Outcomes

First and most obvious is that for many EBPs, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. The research on MI is extensive and replete with evidence that competency thresholds are far from academic markers. Until practitioners reach the these competency thresholds, there is little if any research supporting there will be positive effects on outcomes. Consequently, an entire cottage industry has emerged around certifying that practitioners are at competency. Utilizing a proven path to competency means avoiding a great deal of wasted time and money, as well as ensuring a substantial effect on better outcomes.

The Role of Feedback

Second, cycling to competency implies that reliable measures of progress towards set markers are available at every step of each cycle. Recorded session critiques with the Skill-Builders-II provide a myriad of performance assessment measures from independent trained raters whose coding practice is reinforced with periodic Inter-Rater Reliability (IRR) meetings. Coaching sessions support the integration of the objective feedback measures from the critiques, as well as providing ‘in the moment’ feedback during skill practice/rehearsal. Communities of Practice (CoPs) also provide ample opportunity for qualitative performance assessment and reinforcement amongst peers.

Staff Responsivity

Third, when an individual is not demonstrating improvement, it can quickly be addressed in a manner that is fair, supportive and compassionate. A certain proportion (25-30%) of the population, aren’t capable of achieving competency in a given EBP such as MI or Cognitive-Coaching. Identifying these individuals early on and adjusting expectations has many merits. Conversely, identifying and sorting the genuine early adopters also has value when it comes to establishing trainer, coach and SME tracks. Also, a unique pilot variation can be employed wherein ‘acceleration pools’ can be deliberately created for reinforcing and rewarding early adopters, who may benefit from having a special fast-track venue within the organization.

Technical Support

Anytime customers employ a ‘Cycling-Up’ approach, J-SAT is ready and willing to provide additional decision support database assistance so that agencies can develop adequate and sustainable scale-up capacity as soon as possible. We specialize in developing highly formalized Excel spreadsheets for tracking a wide variety of performance assessment measures.

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