Friday 27 November 2015

Coaching Supervision

Last Friday, Cumbria Coaching Network's meeting was a session on Coaching Supervision, led by Trish Brady.  Trish led a discussion of the what, why and how of coaching supervision, and then demonstrated a supervisory session, with a volunteer coach, using Hawkins' 7-eyed model.

She also invited us to contribute appropriate questions for the different levels, many of which were extremely helpful in provoking new insights for the coach.

Then on Tuesday, I facilitated a meeting of the external coaches that Newcastle University uses, and as part of that invited the coaches present to share what they had learned relevant to coaching practice, over the last year or so. 

I was struck by how many mentioned the value of supervision. That in itself should not be surprising, of course, as one of the purposes of coaching supervision is to ensure that the coach continues to learn through his or her practice.  But a number of people cited the value of having more than one supervisor, or of having both a single supervisor and attending a group of co-supervisors. 

That closely reflected my own experience over this last year. I have a long term coaching supervisor, the excellent Ann Bowen-Jones, who is both a psychologist and a great coach, and who has helped me learn a huge amount over the years - and continues to do so. 

But this year I have added to that. I have joined a coaching supervision group, in which alternate meetings are co-supervision, and for the ones in-between we invite Keri Phillips to supervise. These have taken my understanding in new directions: the different interests and experiences of the group members regularly surprise me and open up new perspectives.  And more recently, I have established a co-supervision arrangement with Jan Allon-Smith,  as a way for both of us both to improve our coaching practice, but also deliberately learn more about the process of supervision: and again Hawkins and Shohet's work is one of the frameworks we use for that.

All of this has been hugely beneficial in terms of broadening and accelerating my development as a coach; so the upshot of this is simply a reflection for myself, and a piece of advice to other professional coaches, on the high value of multiple supervisory perspectives.

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