Tuesday 18 June 2019

Coaching Supervision

One of the questions that we have been debating at the Coaching Supervision Partnership is the difference between Supervision, and Coaching a Coach.

The Partnership is a group of experienced coaches who have come together to co-design a Coaching Supervision development programme, (accredited by the ILM at Level 7) initially for themselves, and ultimately (potentially) for others, too.

So the question, What do we mean by Supervision? is of course a key concern. Initially, some of us were fairly unclear whether there was any difference between supervision and providing coaching for a coach. But at our second workshop, yesterday, it was evident that peoples' understanding had developed.  And that was largely as a result of our practice in-between the first two workshops, when each of us supervised, and was supervised by, one of the other members of the Partnership.

What emerged was a much greater clarity about the fact that supervision is quite distinct.  In particular, it is about bringing a level of expertise and experience to the conversation.  When coaching, one need not be an expert in the discipline of the coachee;  I coach Vice Chancellors of Universities, for example, but could not possibly do their job. But when one supervises a coach, one needs to be have expertise in coaching - and that changes a lot of other things.

For example, it implies an obligation (as well as the ability) to evaluate the coach's practice and give feedback on that; likewise to focus on the coach's CPD; and to contract with the coach explicitly about both of those as areas of focus.  Further it implies a responsibility beyond the coach - for the welfare of the coach's clients, and for the reputation of the coaching profession.

We spent a lot of time yesterday discussing the various models of supervision that are out there, and it was interesting to reflect that nome of them seemed to focus on this, which seems to us a crucial distinctive of the supervisory relationship.  Indeed, none of the models seemed fully adequate to us - some were good but too limited in their scope; others (the Full Spectrum approach, for example) seemed t
o be trying to be too all-encompassing and ultimately impractical (and in my view, making spurious and overblown claims, too).  So one of the questions or indeed challenges we have set ourselves is to see if we can develop a model (or possibly a set of nested models: a high-level simple one, with detail sitting under it) that we believe to be less inadequate.  Should we manage that, you can be sure that I will report it here (but don't hold your breath....)

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