Friday 25 September 2020

The Coaching Supervision Partnership

For the past few years, as I have been developing myself as a Coaching Supervisor, I have worked with a small group of coaches who were on the same journey. Initially some of us knew each other through a supervision group where we came together to practice supervision and be supervised; and eventually we formed a learning cohort and designed our own learning journey to meet both our own needs and interests, and also the standard of the ILM at Level 7. Not all of us were seeking ILM qualification, but most were, and some of us (including me) have also completed our practical and written work and got through the first-marking process, awaiting only external second-marking to claim our certificates.

Having worked so well together and realised how our different skills, approaches and experiences provided a real richness to our joint learning, we decided to continue to work together. So we have established the Coaching Supervision Partnership, both as a continuing learning alliance, and as a vehicle to offer supervision, and eventually training in supervision, to organisations and individuals.

A number of us are currently working on a pro bono basis as supervisors of coaches who are (also pro bono) supporting senior NHS leaders addressing the COVID crisis, which is proving particularly interesting, challenging and rewarding. In between all of that, we have also started putting together a website to describe our offering and introduce us to the world.

Naturally, I'll be very interested in any feedback on the site as we develop it; and also in any introductions to organisations who have started to develop their internal coaching resource, but have yet to address how they are organising supervision for their coaches.

We all believe strongly in the importance and value of supervision, mainly because we have all experienced the significant benefits it has brought to our own practice as coaches, and of course, to our individual and organisational clients. 

Friday 4 September 2020

Leadership in Lockdown

I have been very interested to hear how leaders have been reacting to the COVID crisis and the strains it has placed on their organisations.  Two leaders, in particular, have interesting stories: one the CEO of a small charity, the other a leader of a significant health and education organisation.

The charity CEO did a few things that struck me as very impressive. Like many charities, their funding was extremely curtailed as many of their normal fundraising opportunities were closed down. The CEO's strategy was to take a dramatic paycut himself, to gather the team and ask them to consider what drop in pay they (individually) could afford to take for a while and then commit to that, to focus as many of the team as possible of grant-seeking/application activities; and (and this was particularly interesting) to reduce staffing by having all senior staff work two weeks on and two weeks off, in an overlapping pattern.  That resulted in a balanced approach that contrasted strongly with other organisations I know, where some staff were worked to exhaustion and beyond, whilst others were stuck at home unable to do anything - and both groups resenting the other... Then, they landed a large grant, and all were immediately reinstated to their previous pay levels, and the team's commitment and mutual solidarity is considerably enhanced.

The other leader expanded his leadership team, to include more and younger members, in the face of an overwhelming increase in demands for decisions and complexity of issues to consider. He delegated more than he has ever done before - he is the first to admit that he likes a hands-on leadership approach, and to know  what is going on; but that proved impossible. Team members really stepped up, and some of the younger ones in particular far exceeded his expectations. The wider community's trust in the leadership team was enhanced by their competent handling of the crisis, and the leader has now convened a team workshop to examine how and why they were so successful during the crisis, and how to take that learning forward. One of the lessons he knows that he has to apply is to maintain his new-found ability to delegate much more significantly, even though that is against his personal habits and preferences.

All of which raises the interesting question: how do we ensure that the lessons learned during this crisis are learned and shared widely, so that we get what good we can from it?


Thanks to Dylan Gillis and Nick Fewings for sharing their work on Unsplash.