There are so many different ways to think about assessment, with the most common being to see assessment as a one-time event where you “size up” an interviewee and obtain key information that will be instrumental in guiding the subsequent supervision process. While this certainly gets the job done, it is easy for these kinds of assessments to feel formal and reinforce an “expert” position on the part of the interviewer and an accompanying more passive role for the person being assessed.
There is a slightly different approach to assessment that we would like to talk about here, one in which power-sharing creates a more level playing field, and information-sharing happens in a more organic process as the interviewer-interviewee relationship develops over time. This does not preclude gathering the important baseline information that you need upon first meeting, but rather includes an information-gathering approach that is not only pragmatic, but creates a more egalitarian relationship of mutual trust, problem-solving and exchange.
Assessment that is ongoing and that builds relationship
In this vision for assessment, setting the stage for building a strong working relationship is the over-arching framework during which assessment and information-gathering happens. The premise here is that a good interviewer-interviewee relationship provides the best platform from which you can help engage them in their own responsibility for change. From this perspective, during both initial and ongoing assessment, an awareness of not only information-gathering but relationship-building is necessary and most effective. The good news is that this “relationship-building” goal does not have to add extra time to the information-gathering process, but is rather a subtle shift to a more egalitarian, “we’re in this together” mindset.
Instead of viewing assessment as just a one-time event at the beginning of supervision, the focus is to see it as part of every ongoing interaction. This means trying to get more than just the historical facts, and instead striving to get an overall sense of where they are coming from and where they are capable of going, recognizing not only weaknesses, but strengths for forward movement as well.
Another benefit of thinking “ongoing assessment” rather than “one-time event assessment” is greater use of your third-party assessment tools. Most third-party assessment tools are easily capable of performing half a dozen or more different functions for organizations and officers, yet they are rarely used in such a way that fulfills all of those functions, often because assessment is considered a one-time event. When these same assessment tools are used in an ongoing fashion, the full benefit of all functions can be employed.
Click Practice-Model to read more about engagement, relationship-building and the other Practice Model elements in our full academic “Practice Model” paper.
Plus, look for “CBT Coaching” (Part IV of our Practice Model series) next.