Friday 9 February 2018

Sauce for the goose...

Some colleagues and I were discussing coaching supervision, and someone raised the question: Do Coaching Supervisors Need to be Coaches?  We didn't address the question there and then, but we have it on the agenda for future discussion.

But in the meantime, I was interested in my own response. Firstly, I was surprised by the question (which is often the sign of a good question, in my view). And I was surprised, I think, because it seemed so obvious what the answer was: Of course supervisors need to be coaches. How else could they understand the work we do and the supervision we need.

And then I started to reflect a little more. I remembered being irritated at the claim in Blakey and Day's book which I am reading at the moment, that coaches to executives need to have had similar business experience. I, for example, coach senior academic leaders, and senior professional practitioners, and have no such experience in my work history. And I would (and do) make a strong case that coaches can work effectively in that way.

So the whole question of sauce for the goose arises...

Which made me reflect: what do we need from a good coaching supervisor?

In broad terms, we need someone who is skilled to listen to and understand the issues we are addressing in supervision, and to ask challenging questions; who has good knowledge of the coaching profession, to provide both the quality assurance and developmental role that are part of the supervisory process, as well as notice any blind spots etc; and also who has high levels of empathy to provide the support that is also part of the deal.

And, I realise, people may come from other backgrounds and have all of those requirements. I could imagine people from many of the helping professions, having most of them, and acquiring the necessary coaching-specific knowledge by study and experience of supervising.

So I have done a volte-face on this question, and now believe that a coaching supervisor need not necessarily be a practicing coach.

It will be interesting to learn what the others think when we return to the discussion.

No comments:

Post a Comment