Thursday 10 October 2019

Supervision Rooms

I blogged last week, enthusiastically, about Reflective Practice in Supervision, by Hewson and Caroll.  I have been continuing to reflect on it, and how its simple (but not simplistic) structures and models shed light and clarify thinking. 

For example, they use the metaphor of different rooms to illustrate the different spaces that the supervisor and practitioner may need to occupy during a supervisory meeting. The rooms (and their purposes) are: the Office (a directive space, for safeguarding and ensuring compliance with requirements); the Exam Room (an evaluative space, for evaluating the practitioner’s current competence); the Lecture Theatre (a passive space, for imparting information or advice); the Sitting Room (a restorative space, for debriefing and processing of emotions); the Studio (an active space for generating collaborative thinking and action plans) and the Observatory (a reflective space, for exploration, discovery and insight).

I realise that not everybody has an Observatory (let alone a Lecture Theatre) in their house - I am peculiarly fortunate in that respect - but nonetheless, the metaphor is helpful.

Commendably, Hewson and Carroll highlight that their work is primarily about Reflection, so focuses largely on what goes on in the Observatory - but they make it clear that all the other rooms may be important to visit.  They also stress that it is very important (and this is where the metaphor of the rooms becomes particularly helpful) for the supervisor and practitioner both to know and agree which room they are in at any moment in time. Indeed, a colleague who supervised me recently said, after reading this, that it made it clear to him precisely why one part of the session had felt differently to each of us: he had thought we had moved into the Studio, while I was still in the Observatory.

And that observation set me thinking, too, about where different coaching approaches are likely to sit most frequently.  So I see Kline’s Thinking Environment approach as spending most time in the Observatory, for example, with occasional forays into the Lecture Theatre (information) the Sitting Room (feelings) and the Studio.  Whereas a Solutions Focused approach might be expected to spend a larger proportion of time in the Studio, focusing on solutions.

And then, of course (for my mind is essentially frivolous) I move on to think about a special edition Cluedo: it was the Supervisor, in the Observatory, with the Mirror...

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