J-SAT MI Critiquing and Coaching for Enhanced Staff Development

Since 1998, J-SAT critiquers have assessed over 3,600 interviews from officers, case workers and mental health practitioners in 15 different States. Our critiquing and coaching system creates the following outcomes for your organization:

  • Bring your staff to nationally-recognized Motivational Interviewing competency thresholds
    We systematically bring your staff members to nationally-recognized MI competency thresholds through a series of interview critiques and coaching sessions. We also provide staff acceleration programs for your most promising staff members.
  • Empirically establish the credentials of your officers and your trainers
    As an objective third party, we provide scientific, empirical documentation – in an easy to understand graphic/written format – as to where your organization stands in terms of its competency with Motivational Interviewing.
  • Ensure that officers who think they “know MI” really do know MI
    We hear it again and again: “I’ve got officers who say they “Know MI”, when really they just know about MI. We ensure that your staff reach competency thresholds so that they can truly model MI skills and implement them at a deep level.

How Our Skill-Builders Critiquing and Coaching System Works

Interviewers submit an audio recording of an interview with a client to J-SAT. (The recording must be at least 20 minutes in length.) Our critiquers then send back a comprehensive written critique. Next, interviewers receive 45-minute follow-up phone coaching sessions to reinforce what they did well and to improve technique. Phone coaches set up interactive simulation exercises to help interviewers practice skills that have been hard to master or can help them better manage difficult client issues.

Research overwhelmingly shows that critique feedback coupled with coaching produces a powerful synergy that results in significant skill development. This “one-two punch” is what makes our Skill-Builders system unique, efficient and highly effective.


The Keys to Skill-Builders Success

Our Skill-Builders system is the first, and currently only, evidence-based practice model designed with measures proven directly related to recidivism reduction and other desirable outcomes across all units and levels of service in corrections. Skill-Builders includes:

  • Relevance across all sectors and levels of service in corrections
    Our Skill-Builders coding system provides a state of the art set of fidelity measures that are portable across all sectors and levels of service in your organization. Our measures translate not only for regular case loads, but also for ISP and Intake/PSI units and various offense-based subpopulations (e.g., sex offenders, domestic violence, etc.).
  • Motivational Interviewing and STICS: The crucial intersect between how interviewers talk to clients and what they talk about
    Research shows that when interviewers have higher competency in Motivational Interviewing while at the same time encouraging interviewees to talk more about criminogenic needs, there is a direct correlation to lower recidivism. Our system assesses not only MI skills, but also the degree to which offenders were engaged in conversation about their most pressing criminogenic needs.
  • Our Skill-Builders coding system
    Our current coding system is the Motivational Interviewing Treatment Integrity (MITI) Code (Version 3.3, developed by T. Moyers, T. Martin, J. Manuel, W. Miller and D. Ernst). J-SAT uses computer software to generate Skill-Builders feedback reports for each interview critique.


  • Feedback includes graphs that compare interviewer averages to agency averages, averages across States and agencies, basic proficiency standards and “gold standard” competency markers for each of the following:
    • MITI global measures, question/reflection ratios, and percentages of complex reflections, open questions and MI-Adherence.
    • Percentages of clinical skills used in the interview: closed and open questions, reflections, summaries, affirmations/support, elicitations of change talk, teaching and confrontation.
    • Types and content of change talk. We not only count types of change talk, we track the content of the change talk and its relevance to criminogenic need.

In addition to graphs and explanations, interviewers receive personalized feedback about their skill use and overall Motivational Interviewing spirit. Comments emphasize the positive skills interviewers have demonstrated, followed by suggestions for improvement.

Packages and Strategies

We offer different packages and strategies tailored to your specific needs:

  • The Test Drive Package: You can take a no-risk test drive of our critiquing and coaching system with no commitment or contract.
  • Training Package: We train/coach your staff using our Skill-Builders system, employing our synergistic combination of critiquing and phone coaching. If you like, we can coach your staff members all the way to nationally-recognized MI competency thresholds.
  • Train the Trainer Package: We train/coach your key staff members to code and coach using our Skill-Builders system so that your agency is self-sufficient for the long-haul.
  • Custom Package: You can also create your own package based on your unique needs.

Contact us

Call or email to set up a time to ask questions, talk about your agency’s needs and to identify the right package and pricing. Also, below are some additional documents to view. Click or right-click to download:

Skill builders Critique Report
– Skill Builders Transcript
– JSAT 45-Minute Coaching Session Description



You can also read additional papers that describe the effectiveness of MI tape critiques and phone coaching combined with Communities of Practice (an additional service that we offer) by downloading these two links as well:
•  Elements Of Change – article on our state-wide implementation project in Colorado
•  Brad Bogue on Implementation

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