What is ‘supervision’?

Supervision on a 1-1 or group basis is the formal opportunity for coaches working with clients to share, in confidence, their case load activity to gain insight, support and direction for themselves and thereby enabling them to better work in the service of their clients.

As a coach you have the professional capacity to help bring about important changes for individuals, groups and organisations, however your work can also deeply influence people who are in a life-changing situation or transition and who may be rendered vulnerable and possibly dependent.

Coaches need supervision and increasingly corporate clients and procurement specialists are making evidence of regular supervision part of their quality assurance process. A supervisor is a more experienced coach who:

  • Helps you benchmark your practice against best practice
  • Works through ethical dilemmas with you
  • Brings a perspective about the quality of the coaching practice

Coaching supervision draws on the best practice of psychotherapy and counselling supervision and places it within a coaching orientation. As such, it upholds the principles of coaching and mentoring and the coaching relationship. The ICF Board have adopted the position of "strongly encouraging" supervision.

We asked Edna Murdoch of CSA to sum it up:

resizedimage91104 Edna MurdochEdna, can you summarise coaching supervision in a couple of sentences?

"I think of it as a three-pronged practice.  It provides insight, reflection and support for the coach.

The reflection is about the whole conversational space so that all the lids can be lifted on a piece of work.  The supervisor creates a space where a coach can really look at all aspects of their work collaboratively where they can gain a new understanding and bring things up to the light.

This support can be under-valued but it is a vital piece, as coaches are working intensively with people.  They are often working to deadlines, the expectations on them are considerable and there is wear and tear on the system as they work. All of that needs support and affirmation.

A coach is often working alone in a room or on the telephone and it is vital that they can hear when they are doing well. The responsibility they hold is considerable. A supervisor can motivate and encourage the strong elements of the work and point out why these are working. They can support that developmental journey and be a resource."

See Edna's full article here

What exacly is coaching supervision? (a CSA article)

Why should coaches invest in coach supervision?

See Clare Norman's excellent video short, taking us through they key benefits to be gained: https://spark.adobe.com/video/0roTAJQjge45h

Afterwards, if you agree, head to the Find a Supervisor main tab and search for your new supervisor in a location near you, or virtually!

Visit Clare's website for more: http://www.clarenormancoachingassociates.com/

What does a supervisor do?

This is not a checklist or mandatory set of areas to cover, but may well include:

  • Clear Contracting and creating a working alliance, including help with multi-party contracting where appropriate
  • Establishing good boundaries
  • Enhancing reflection when working with content and process
  • Attending to the coach’s personal development; opening up new areas of competence for the coach
  • Deepening coaching presence
  • Building the coach's internal supervisor
  • Offering new perspectives to the coach
  • Increasing the coach’s range of interventions and tools
  • Being sensitive to the coach’s learning style
  • Knowing about coaching psychology
  • Working with Parallel Process
  • Giving constructive feedback
  • Offering experiments and applications through which the coach can learn
  • Working systemically – with the coach, the client and the wider field
  • Ensuring that standards and ethics are maintained
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