Saturday 11 March 2017

Coaching Supervision, Seven Conversations, and Useful Fictions

I was unable to get to David Clutterbuck's recent workshop for the EMCC, unfortunately. However, some colleagues who went told me that it was very good, and passed on various snippets. The topic was 'How to co-manage and get the best out of supervision.'

One of the things that struck me as helpful is the concept of the seven conversations that the coach could review with his or her supervisor.

The first two are before the meeting: the coach's internal conversation, and the coachee's internal conversation. The next three are during the meeting: the conversation between the coach and the coachee; and (of course) their respective internal conversations. And the final two are the respective internal conversations after the meeting.

When talking about the coachee's internal conversations, we are, of course, making it up. We cannot know for sure (even if we ask) what the coachee's internal conversations are. Nonetheless, it is a valuable area to explore, as it provides access to other aspects of the coach's thinking and processing, that we might otherwise not explore. Thus it is what I categorise as a 'useful fiction.'

For example, if a coach tells the supervisor that she thinks the coachee's conversation prior to the meeting revolved around a sense of guilt for not having done what the coachee said he would do at the last meeting, that opens up a very interesting range of issues for the supervisor to explore with the coach, that might not have come up otherwise. These could include how accountability is contracted for and managed; whether the coach felt adequately prepared for the meeting (ie is this projection?); and so on.

So while it may be nothing like what the coachee's internal conversation was in fact, it is still a useful thing to explore. That is what I mean by a useful fiction. In fact, that notion of 'useful fictions' is looming large in my thinking at present: I may write further about it in due course...

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