Supervision - Transforming Your Coaching Practice
Whether you are a new or seasoned
coach, there is a good chance that you are a natural reflective practitioner.
Helping clients to reflect on who they are and the impact they have on their
performance will be second nature to you and you probably spend time after a
coaching session considering your own performance as a coach. But how much
juice do you extract from these reflections and do you make the best use of
this learning to help you transform the way you work with your clients? This is
where coach supervision can help. I personally have worked with numerous excellent supervisors over the course of my career as a coach and I've found it invaluable. It is no coincidence it is called 'super-vision' as it really does give you a sharpened awareness and insight into what is going on within your coaching practice.
Below I've explained more about what supervision is, why you might want to invest in it and some typical topics that supervisees bring to their sessions.
What is Coach Supervision?
Coach supervision is a process by
which a coach, with the help of a supervisor, who is not working directly with
the client, can gain a deeper understanding of both themselves and the client
as part of the coach-client system, and transform their work.
5 Great Reasons to
Invest in Coach Supervision
Working with a
professionally trained supervisor offers the following:
- A totally safe place to
explore what’s working and what isn’t within your coaching practice. Sometimes we need to reflect on some of the challenges we are facing with individual clients or with organisations so we can serve them better, whilst also maintaining strict boundaries of confidentiality. It can also be scary to admit to someone else when we feel stuck or things are not going quite as we would like. Supervision provides this non-judgemental place where you are supported in getting curious about what is happening in service of both you as a coach and your clients.It is also an opportunity to examine what is working so you build on success and do more of the same.
- An opportunity to learn and
develop from reflections rather than being crippled by unhelpful
self-criticism. Left to our own devices we can get stuck in unhelpful thought patterns that inhibit rather than stimulate learning. Supervision helps you to put unhelpful thoughts aside and effectively reflect on your experiences.
- An opportunity to explore
the psychological dynamics that exist within a client-coach relationship that unconsciously impact upon the way we coach. Often we are not aware of the impact a client or even the culture of an organisation has on us..or the impact we might have on our client. A supervisor can help draw a coach's attention to the underlying influences that impact on the coaching relationship and enable them to be better equipped to work with them.
- Tailored support from an
experienced and confidential partner, particularly when stuck or when
applying new approaches. Professionally trained supervisors undergo rigorous training recognised by professional coaching bodies such as the European Mentoring and Coaching Council, International Coach Federation or Association of Coaches and abide by strict codes of conduct. Most professionally trained supervisors have entered the professional after considerable years training and practice as a coach so can also draw on their own experiences to support you.
- A champion to help you
celebrate your strengths and stretch you to achieve more. Sometime just having a colleague you can share your experiences with, celebrate successes with and champion you to stretch yourself more as a coach is a great way to keep you focused and on-track to developing your coaching career.
Typical Examples of Topics brought to Supervision
Below are a selection of topics that are typically brought to supervision:
- I feel really stuck with a particular client and I don’t
know how to work with it
- I’ve noticed some common themes coming up with my clients
and would like to explore this
- My coaching seems to be going really well at the moment and I’d like to build on that success
- I feel exhausted after spending a day coaching client within
this organisation, and wonder what I need to do
- My coaching feels ‘stale’ and I want to freshen it up
- My client has brought a really difficult topic to our
conversations and I am wondering whether I am qualified to work with them
- I am working with a really challenging team and feel out of
my depth and want to feel more confident in working with them
- When I work with a particular team I find myself being drawn
into their own ways of behaving which feels uncomfortable…what is going on?
- My client has decided to stop working with me and I don’t
know why, when I thought it was going so well
- The work I am doing with my client feels more like mentoring
than coaching and I would like to explore whether this is OK
- My client continually misses sessions or arrives late and I’d
like to explore how to handle this
And the Results?
Regular reflection on your coaching practice and addressing these question can significantly
increase your confidence and competence as a coach, delivering a better experience for you and your clients. Supervision also increases
your professional credibility. Many organisations engaging executive and team
coaches often ask for credentialed coaches who also undertake coach
supervision. This gives reassurance they are hiring coaches who are both
skilled and are committed to investing in their own continuous professional
What do I do if I
am interested in working with a coach supervisor?
relationship is the foundation for fulfilling and effective coach supervision.
Without an easy, trusting relationship, learning cannot take place and growth
cannot occur. If you are interested in investing in coach supervision have
conversations with several coach supervisors to check out who is the
best fit for you. If you would like to find out more about coach supervision
please get in touch.
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Choosing a Coach Supervisor - 8 Questions to Ask