What is Supervision?

Introduction

Coaching is far more than the application of a set of tools, techniques and models. Effective coaching has much more to do with the insight, awareness, maturity and growth – of our clients but also of ourselves. To work effectively and responsibly as coaches, we must focus on our evolving awareness, reactions to clients, and personal development, using ourselves as instruments.

What is coaching supervision?

Coaching supervision is a collaborative learning practice to continually build the capacity of the coach through reflective dialogue for the benefit of both coaches and clients. It focuses on the development of the coach’s capacity through offering a richer and broader opportunity for support and development. It creates a safe environment for the coach to reflect on their successes and failures on the path to masterful practice.

The Purpose of Supervision

Coach supervision is grounded in mutual trust and respect, with a focus on the coach’s business or practice, including the coach’s emotional experiences, ethics, professional standards and development, and integrity . Supervisors offer insightful and challenging questions, distinctions and observations. Supervision encompasses all aspects of a coach’s competence: cognitive, emotional, somatic, relational and spiritual, and the ability to integrate this in being and doing.

A Model for Supervision

The supervision triangle is an intuitive model depicting 3 functions of supervision, one on each corner. The functions are not practiced, or introduced by the supervisor in a rigid, linear, checklist-like format. They are visited holistically, depending on the client’s developmental level and the specifics of the session. The supervisee’s experience of this in a session will be:

  • a sense of meaningful connection with the supervisor

  • symptomatic relief from the stresses of the scenario they have brought to supervision

  • a feeling of homeostasis and being grounded

  • a space to unpack and reflect on a specific experience relating to a case or one’s practice

  • understanding one’s experience in relation to a psychological/theoretical framework or model

  • understanding one’s own role in the relational dynamic

  • recognising and understanding any systemic dynamics at play

  • integrating options to practice in the future

  • reflection on ethical considerations

  • reflection on own development and future direction

These points are not exhaustive. More on the specific functions, below.

Support function

A humanistic approach, making empathic connection, actively recognising emotions and the body, returning to homeostasis, care, personal acknowledgment, relational contact, working in relationship.

Development function

A developmental approach, meaning working with what has been or what is, towards what can be. Greater options, wider perspectives, deeper insights, more personal and professional flexibility, resolution of ‘stuckness’. Thinking about experience, making sense of experiences using frameworks and models, making connections between experiences, systemic perspectives.

Professional Norms function

Strategising on developmental direction and practice, integrating learning into practical application, management of practice as professional and business, ethical do’s and don’ts.

Benefits of Supervision

  • Make yourself a better coach.

  • Grow your practice.

  • Care for your reputation.

  • Have a sense of connection to professional community.

  • To be ethically minded.

  • Maintain professional standards.

  • How to deal effectively and ethically with difficult people and situations.

  • Increased and increasing awareness of self in relationship to client and other parties affected by the work

  • Increased and increasing awareness of relational dynamics

  • A sufficient breadth and depth of modalities to access in working in diverse scenarios

Roles

A summary of the coach’s role is to strive for honesty and integrity in all actions, including open communication, bringing agendas and cases for supervision, addressing conflicts, and exploring emotions and concerns arising from coaching sessions. Monitor compliance with codes of ethics and confidentiality, and remain open to ongoing development.

A summary of the supervisor’s role is to minimize harm and establish trust, establish supervision agreements, prioritize active listening, powerful questioning, and direct communication, and use the Supervision Triangle and other pertinent models to assess and develop coaching practices. Give guidance with regards to legal and ethical requirements, maintain awareness of ethical and professional standards, and engage in actions, planning, goal setting, progress management, and accountability.

To support and encourage integration of the learnings into the day to day life of the coach.

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