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3 Mistakes that New CF Mentors Often Make

I remember my first clinical fellow that I supervised when I was in my late 20’s. Particularly based on a fear of making mistakes, my own insecurities and sensitivities I made many of the mistakes listed below. Now 20+ years later I wish I could go back in time with the knowledge and experience I have gained as things would be very different!

Mistake #1: Worrying about what other people think

As a first-time supervisor I was overly concerned with being liked and did not want to upset people. Having this tendency proved challenging in providing honest feedback or addressing challenges head on. I have since learned that confronting unacceptable behavior head on in a quick and respectful fashion is best. In fact, many young professionals appreciate the honest feedback. So, instead of worrying too much about the reaction, focus on the fact that most people change their behavior after the feedback is provided.

Mistake #2: Providing all the answers

As speech-language pathologists our nature is such that we want to help others. However, the point of the clinical fellowship experience is to help the CF develop their analytic and critical thinking skills. If a supervisor is always jumping in to provide all the answers, then the CF never learns these core skills. So, instead of providing them with all the answers, have a brainstorming session with them. Ask thoughtful questions to encourage self-reflection, encourage them to generate ideas and help them to identify the pros and cons of their initial recommendations prior to offering your opinion or insights.

Mistake #3: Not discussing expectations at the onset of supervision

It is easy to make assumptions. However, assumptions can lead to frustration for both the clinical fellow and the supervisor. To avoid this pitfall make it a priority at the onset of supervision to sit down and discuss expectations of both parties. This creates the opportunity to learn about the CFs learning style, how they like to receive feedback, set goals and discuss what supervision will look like. When expectations are clear everyone wins.

I am here to help!

With my ASHA approved continuing education course “5-Steps to Successful Supervision” you will learn a 5-step framework for effective supervision including how to set clear expectations, how to provide meaningful feedback, how to evaluate the effectiveness of supervision and more.


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