Admittedly, when I discovered the notion of Coach SuperVision I had mixed feelings. First of all the word supervision rubbed me the wrong way and I made up all kinds of stories about what it actually meant to me, a coach practitioner who’d been practicing successfully for many years “without a supervisor thank you very much”. Can you hear the indignant stance in that? Lol. Second of all the coach training program that I belong to has always subscribed to a training model where all coaches are coached.
If you are a Program Coach, (coaching a student coach) you participate in what we call, “co coaching”. This process of co coaching is a reflective practice (and a whole lot more) that causes the coach to examine what’s in their own space that is also showing up in the client’s space. Coach SuperVision just seemed to be a copy cat model and an expensive one at that. However, once I started to research Coach SuperVision Training Programs I discovered I was quite wrong.
Coach SuperVision Defined
In the words of the International Coach Federation, “Coaching supervision is a collaborative learning practice to continually build the capacity of the coach through reflective dialogue and to benefit his or her clients and the overall system.” The supervisor works with the coach to choose a model, principle or theory which they can apply to the question which they brought to supervision, to consider the issue that they brought to supervision through the ‘lens’ of this piece of theory, and to come to a conclusion about the way forward – all in a dialogue with an experienced practitioner who can hold both the space for this reflection, and provoke new thought and understanding. This function essentially establishes safety and protection for coach and clients.
After initial coach training and post-graduation there remains a need for a coach’s continued development including supporting the coach to recognise their own underlying issues and bringing these into awareness (where ‘the personal intrudes on the professional’). It could also include integrating a ‘theory to practice’ approach thus promoting self-reflection, active experimentation and self-discovery.
Goals of SuperVision
- Reviewing the coaching agreement and any other psychological or physical contracts, both implicit and explicit
- Uncovering blind spots
- Addressing ethical issues
- Ensuring the coach is “fit for purpose” and perhaps offering accountability
- Looking at all aspects of the coach and client’s environment for opportunities for growth in the system
- Promoting the professional development of qualifying and qualified coaches in the context of their practice
- An opportunity for coaches to learn and develop through reflection and dialogue and to grow further towards personal and professional excellence
The Benefits of SuperVision
- Safe, reflective space for coaches to develop insights and identify their strengths and weaknesses
- Keeps coaches up to date with professional developments, innovation and research
- Alerts coaches to ethical and professional issues and creates ethical mindfulness
- Provides a safe forum to consider and hold the tensions that emerge from the needs of various stakeholders in engagements
- Supports coaches to measure the impact of their coaching work on their lives and to identify their personal reactions to their professional work
- Offers neutral, “third-person” perspective (feedback) from the supervisor who is not part of the client system
Mentor Coaching vs Coach Supervision
- Competency Knowledge – Supports and challenges your knowledge of the eleven coaching competencies
- Feedback & Review – Involves feedback and review with your mentor coach of your recorded coaching session to identify your strengths and areas for development within the competencies
- Accreditation Preparation – Prepares you for accreditation, the International Coach Federation mandates 10 hours of mentor coaching
- Qualitative – provides quality control in working with people. Ensures that a coach’s work is appropriate in the context and is ethical.
- Developmental – promotes reflection on and exploration of the increasing skills and competencies of the coach, challenging them to become aware of their own and others reactions and responses so to increase understanding and options for intervention.
- Resourcing – provides emotional support to deal with the intensity of working with clients and the inevitable pressures of being attentive and empathic. Offsetting risks of collusion, burn-out and somatic reactions to stress.
Human Resource Professionals
Consider hiring Coach Supervisors to maintain the health and promote the developmental growth of your internal coaches. Internal coaches swim in their organization’s culture. Hiring a Coach Supervisor will challenge existing biases and judgments and ensure that your team is clean and clear and possibility is not limited by the existing culture.
Coaches External or Internal
Coach SuperVision does not replace working with a coach. SuperVision runs paralllel to coaching, is affordable (I match your own coaching rates) and it’s also flexible. You can opt in for four, six or eight sessions and use the sessions whenever you want. They do not have to be used consecutively as in other coaching contracts. My philosophy is that every coach deserves support and a safe place to process all the things we experience in the coach/client interaction. It also provides quality assurance for you and your clients.
Oh and… don’t let the word “supervision” fool you… there is no hierarchy here, I am not an expert over you, I’m your partner… simply a safe harbour for you to get supported with those tricky client situations and/or ethical dilemmas.
Contact me to test drive this fantastic process, and tell your friends, including the ones who do not have any coach support currently.
“Coach Supervision caused me to be aware and responsible for the impact of psychodynamic mechanisms at play between myself and my clients and the impact that had on my coaching sessions. I’m 100% a healthier coach now as a result.”