info @
(720) 772-7197

What happens during a Community of Practice?

What happens during a Community of Practice?

In last month’s newsletter, we discussed the value of establishing a Community of Practice (CoP), an informal monthly gathering for the purpose of peer-supported learning and integration of Motivational Interviewing skills. CoPs protect your training investment by providing an ongoing venue for staff to learn new applications of MI techniques, discuss and debrief challenging cases/conversations and practice their skills together. Because we feel CoPs are crucial to successful EBP implementation, we want to get your gears turning about how you might implement one, so this month we offer some insight into the types of activities that can take place in a CoP for Motivational Interviewing.

Although each CoP will take on the flavor of its hosting organization, below are some examples of CoP activities that will further develop the participants’ MI skills and help to create a culture of value around learning MI. As always with CoPs, the key is that participants take ownership and “run” the CoP themselves. We’ll talk more about this in our next newsletter, but for now here are some activity ideas to get you thinking about what a CoP might look like in your organization:

– Break into dyads and take turns practicing MI-adherent responses to resistant or defensive statements.

– Identify two participants to be in charge of creating and facilitating a practice exercise at the next CoP.

– Listen to a recorded interview together, stopping the tape frequently to discuss strategies for eliciting even more change talk from the client.

– Break into triads for a real-play:  one interviewer, one coach and one client.  Coach gives feedback and assistance to interviewer as he works on fine-tuning his complex reflections.

– Listen to a segment of a recorded interview together. Each participant codes the utterances using a very simple system, and then the group discusses their coding decisions.  Why did you code this reflection as simple rather than complex? Why was that perceived as a closed question rather than a reflection?

– Share case studies or recent interactions and brainstorm, “What would Motivational Interviewing do?”

– Choose a skill practice exercise from the J-SAT CoP Manual (available soon).

We are in the process of compiling a CoP Manual to assist you in forming and maintaining a thriving Community of Practice, so we’ll share more from that manual soon!

Download our paper on CoPs:  To learn all about Communities of Practice and their ability to save you time and money while also improving skills, please download our study paper from the Justice Research and Policy Journal right here:

Click or right-click this link to download:  Special Issue on Evidence-Based Practice in Community Corrections: “Progress Toward Motivational Interviewing Proficiency in Corrections – Results of a Colorado Staff Development Program”

If you’d like to learn more about our Skill-Builders coding and coaching services for MI skill development, please click to our Skill-Builders page for more information.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *