2) What is Coaching Supervision?
Supervision 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.
Association of Coaching Supervisors
Coaching Supervision is a formal process of professional support, which ensures continuing development of the coach and effectiveness of his/her coaching practice though interactive reflection, interpretative evaluation and the sharing of expertise.
Bachkirova, Stevens and Willis 2005
Coaching Supervision focuses on the development of the coach’s capacity through offering a richer and broader opportunity for support and development. Coaching supervision creates a safe environment for the coach to share their successes and failures in becoming masterful in the way they work with their clients.
International Coach Federation
Drawing on a number of definitions, we describe coaching supervision as a formal, confidential process where a coach brings his or her coaching experiences to a coaching supervisor or supervision group in order to engage in reflective dialogue and collaborative learning.
Supervision provides an opportunity for coaches to work with other professionals in order to review their specific cases from a personal, professional and systemic perspective – allowing a coach to step back from their work and take a broader view.
It provides insight, reflection, direction, support and the sharing of expertise. The focus is on helping a coach improve the quality of their coaching, grow their coaching capacity and supporting themselves and their practice. When done well, supervision may also be a source of organizational learning.
While models of supervision vary, supervision typically has three major functions:
Most definitions emphasize multiple functions, including the quality and focus on transforming practice.
4) Benefits of Supervision
“Quality supervision is a key link in helping practitioners link what they learn in theory with what they learn and do in practice and it is therefore the core of all continuous personal and professional development. At its best it serves and benefits the professional being supervised, their clients, the organization in which they work (and work for) and the development of the profession”
Hawkins & Shohet (2011)
While there are many benefits of supervision, some of the benefits include:
5) Different Types of Supervision
The three main types of coaching supervision are one-on-one (individual), peer and group supervision. Each serves a unique and valuable purpose. Leading thinkers in the field believe that supervision needs to happen regularly to allow coaches to attend adequately to the breadth and depth of their coaching work. Using both individual and group sessions optimizes the benefits.
In one-on-one supervision, a coach works with a supervisor, whose role is to assist the coach in reflecting on their practice. This reflection is designed to:
- Develop insight into beneficial and problematic patterns in the coach’s approach to coaching.
- Understand difficult issues in the coaching engagement.
- Formulate effective responses to those issues.
- Assist the coach in developing and maintaining professional practice, so that the interests of the client, coach and the coaching industry are served.
One-on-one supervision gives coaches uninterrupted time to reflect on their coaching and explore their developmental needs. This personalized approach lets the coach explore the dynamics of the coach client relationship and the way they are working with the client.
The focused nature is also useful for developing and working on insights that emerge over time. The supervision relationship developed here is often able to support significant personal reflection at a deep level, is suited to dealing with patterns of meaning making, and increasing a coach’s perspective taking capacity.
In peer supervision, two or more coaches seek to assist each other in reflecting on their practice. Similar to one-on-one supervision this includes both case specific and coach specific reflection.
The broad aims of peer supervision are similar to those found in one-on-one supervision. However, peer supervision is most effective when coaches are able to bring a variety of perspectives to the supervision. Hence it is more suited to very experienced coaches than coaches starting out in their careers, those transitioning from other roles, or those who do not have several years direct coaching experience. It is also important that they are well versed in the practice of supervision.
Even when experienced and qualified coaches are involved, peer supervision needs to be well structured and disciplined to be effective. External input or involvement from those educated or trained in different areas or at different schools helps avoid collusion and brings an essential diversity of perspective. Undertaking one-on-one supervision simultaneously is recommended in order to maximize outcomes.
Group supervision offers a more formal approach to peer supervision using an experienced supervisor to act as a guide and resource to the group. Group supervision typically involves a mix of peer-to-peer dialogue and supervisor guided reflection.
The value of this form of supervision compared to one-on-one supervision is the opportunity it provides for multiple perspectives on the issue under discussion. The value over peer supervision is the expert guidance from a qualified supervisor.
The opportunities afforded by a qualified supervisor enhance learning through direct observation and expert instruction coupled with peer dialogue. It is important that the qualified supervisor is trained in systems dynamics to ensure the smooth running of group sessions and to maximize outcomes for all group members. Again, external input or involvement from those educated or trained in different areas or at different schools helps avoid collusion and brings an essential diversity of perspective. For internal supervision groups, it also provides a shared knowledge base, enhancing the development of all coaches, and in turn, an organization’s coaching capability. Similar to peer supervision, undertaking one-on-one supervision simultaneously is recommended.