July 11, 2024

The Importance of Reflecting on Your Progress in Your Sessions

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It can be difficult to know what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong when it comes to analysing your own methodologies in mentoring or supervising. What might work with one client might not work with another. Sometimes mentoring/supervising will come easily, but sometimes it will feel like pulling teeth. It can be hard to see your own patterns, especially if you are not taking the time to reflect and review your actions. Here are a few ways to make sure you are making the most of your sessions and connecting effectively with your client: 

Use the CLEAR method. 

CLEAR: Clarify, Listen, Explore, Action and Review

This model is a great way both to add structure to your sessions, and reflect on your work afterwards. Consider what you are bringing to your time together. What is the focus for this session? This goes both ways; you, as the mentor/supervisor, should be prepared for the session, have looked through your notes, putting thought and time into what you want to explore. Also, the client should be reflecting on and reviewing their time with you and deciding what to explore in the next session.. 

Commonly, a client arrives without having reflected on the last session. They might say they are overwhelmed with work or their personal life, and they haven’t had any time. The bad news is that a lack of reflection can make each session less efficient and productive. On the other hand, it will give you a place to begin. Why did they not reflect? Are they not taking the sessions seriously? Or are they burnt out? Maybe look at one aspect of why they are feeling so overwhelmed. For example, they might have weak professional boundaries. Start there and begin to explore. What is it that makes it hard to say no? Do you know why you don’t say no? For more on the CLEAR see this blog

Be clear with your intentions. 

This begins with a strong contract before the sessions even begin. Let your clients know exactly what services you provide and what you expect from them if they want to see the best results. This also allows the client to share their own goals and concerns. Mentoring/supervising relies on communication and trust. Regular check-ins are also essential to ensure that you are on the same page and honouring the contact you created together. Trying to get a specific outcome in the session is always a good goal: what actions will you take? What is accountability to set here? Where will we be picking up the next session? 

Be patient 

People’s health and well-being involve long-term behaviours. To attempt to change their world in one session is unrealistic. Find one thing to focus on, and if your client mentions another issue that warrants some discussion, make a note to return to the topic at a later time. Change takes time, even with the most reflective and intentional clients. This is why I put a high value on long-term relationships. I like to ask for a commitment for at least eight to twelve sessions. These don’t have to fit into a calendar year, yet there needs to be time and consistency to explore and make those changes. If someone only wants one or two sessions, I’m not interested because it will be difficult to create a transformative outcome. It’s a process. Jesus spent three years growing his disciples (and I’m not Jesus!).  

Reflection Questions 

  • What have I learned about my methodology through the CLEAR method? 
  • What goals can I set for our next session? 
  • How is my client’s progress? What can I alter to make our time more effective? 

What’s next?

Read the book Creating a Vision for Health

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