Why Coaching Supervision?
Every coach needs a supervisor.
It’s suggested that you have coaching supervision at least every four to six weeks. Your timeline will depend on how often you see your clients, the type of coaching you do and the audiences you work with, as well as your own experience as a coach. If you have a heavy client load, you may want to have supervision more often.
Reflecting is the essential part of Coach Supervision. Lets first have a common understanding of reflection.
Reflection can be defined as ‘the in-depth consideration of events, situations, words and actions in order to achieve a deeper and clearer understanding of them and how you view yourself through them.
Iordanou, Hawley, & Iordanou (2017 pp. 94)
Reflective practice is the ability to step away from your work and identify patterns, habits, strengths and limitations in your work and/or within the system you work in and is the foundation of supervision.
Turner, Lucas & Whitaker (2018, pp. 25)
Reflecting helps you consider what you have done, how you and your client behaved, what the outcomes were, how you might have handled things differently.
Hay, J. (2007, p 7)
What value it brings?
1. Work effectively and ethically
The first and, perhaps, most obvious benefit of coaching supervision, is that you have a space in which to discuss your coaching work in a confidential manner. This allows you to look at where challenges lie, how you might coach more effectively in certain areas and where there may be ethical dilemmas that are causing you some concern.
Supervisors will provide practical guidance, help you review your coaching contracts, bounce ideas, methods, and techniques around, encourage different viewpoints and learn new ways of working. Your supervisor can help you more easily identify and work with the issues that clients bring to sessions and ensure you’re always ‘fit for purpose’.
Supervision also helps you recognise whether a client’s issues make them more suited for work with another type of practitioner, such as a trained psychotherapist.
2. Reduce your blind spots
Even if you have years of hands-on coaching experience, you’ll still occasionally encounter gaps in your knowledge. Supervision allows you to explore ethical dilemmas or boundary issues that may arise with your clients, and helps you understand how your own perceptions may influence how you’re approaching a situation.
Sessions can also help you to place your work within the context of wider systems (which might be different than your own), such as organisational, social, and economic, each of which can influence your coaching conversations. This can be particularly useful if you’re an internal coach, as you’re far more likely to be subjected to biases and pressures from your company or organisation.
3. Grow your confidence and abilities
Every coach, especially if you’re at the beginning of your coaching journey, can feel pressure to ‘get things right.’ While it’s perfectly normal to feel out of your depth at times, having a dedicated space to explore your concerns and worries can be a source of great comfort.
A supervisor can coach you on specific issues to further your growth and can also offer reassurance, affirmation, and constructive criticism. All this comes through the lens of their lengthy practical experience, training, and continuing professional development.
4. Better understand the psychology of the coaching relationship
As coaches, we’re always impacted, often almost imperceptibly, by the dynamics of the relationship we create with our coachees. These psychological undercurrents, such as transference (where the feelings, desires, and expectations of one person are redirected and applied to another person) take place unconsciously but can greatly affect our work.
Supervision provides a space for us to become more aware of these subtleties, understand their potential impact, and learn how to work with them.
5. Encourage self-care
Holding space for others, while rewarding, can also be draining. Supervision gives you space to vent your frustrations and talk about awkward situations or difficult relationships. And since client material can trigger our own emotions, supervision helps reduce the likelihood of having your ‘stuff’ enter into and detract from the coachee’s sessions.
As the proverbial saying goes, a shared problem is a problem halved, and talking can go a long way toward lightening your load.
6. Feel more connected
A busy coaching caseload, particularly when you’re practising remotely from home, can foster feelings of isolation, so conversations with your supervisor can be especially welcome. Coach supervision not only provides a tangible sense of belonging to the larger coaching community but also connects us with the greater ideal of purposeful and meaningful service.