Today is International Coaching Supervision Day, as part of International Coaching Week. Seeing this coming up in the calendar, I was prompted to reach out to past students and coaches I know, to engage in a conversation about supervision. I was interested to find out how their coaching practice was going, and what their needs for support were, wherever they were in their coaching journey. I have also carried a question about with me for several years, about supervision: ‘what do coaches really think of supervision?’ I was keen to explore this.
The word ‘supervision’ isn’t perhaps helpful, carrying with it connotations of having someone look over your shoulders as to how you are doing something and checking if it is right. ‘Checking up on you’, ‘checking the quality of what you’re doing’, ‘telling you how to do it better’. I was talking to a group of coaches recently about this and one of them chipped in ‘Ah, but you could view it as ‘super’ ‘vision’!’ Nice one. Good reframe!
I love some of the definitions/descriptions of coaching supervision; here are a couple that resonate with me and which I share with coaches I am supervising or teaching:
Alison Hodge: “A co-created learning relationship that supports the supervisee in his or her development, both personally and professionally, and seeks to support him or her in providing best practice to his or her client. Through the process of reflecting on his or her work in supervision, the supervisee can review and develop his or her practice and re-energise themselves. It offers a forum to attend to his or her emotional and professional wellbeing and growth. Through the relationship and dialogue in this alliance, coaches can receive feedback, broaden their perspectives, generate new ideas and maintain standards of effective practice”Brigid Proctor: Supervision is normative (like a QA function), formative (like L&D as a coach) and restorative (like refuelling and rest)
Coaching supervision is increasingly being viewed as part of the professional practice of all Executive Coaches (by ‘executive’ I mean those coaches practicing in organisations as opposed to life coaches for example – although I am sure it is increasingly being required for all types of coaches, but my context is coaching in the workplace). Coaching supervision is also a key requirement for those Executive Coaches who choose to go for professional accreditation.
I am looking forward to my conversations with past students and coaches I know – using inquiry, to explore where they are at, what their needs are, and how they view supervision.
(Wendy is an Accredited Coach, an Accredited Coaching Supervisor and Chartered Occupational Psychologist. She delivers coach training programmes in Ireland and Scotland.)