The Case for Coaching Supervision by Anne Pink

What is Coaching Supervision?

Coaching supervision provides on going development and support to qualified Coaches ensuring that they continue to evolve their skills and maintain an ethical approach to their Coaching relationships.

It is increasingly a requirement of the top professional Coaching bodies (Coaching Association and the International Association of Coaches (IAC)) that Coaches work under recognised Supervision with qualified Coach Supervisors

At a time when the coaching profession is still emerging it is an important message to ‘clients’ that professional coaches are taking their practice seriously not only through training and development but also through supervision - in that sense coaching supervision is a form of quality control.

Given the complexity and challenging nature of the role of a Coach it is important for professional business coaches to have a place to reflect on their work with another experienced, senior coach. This has the dual purpose of supporting the continuing learning and development for the coach, but also to give added protection for the ‘client’.

“It is essential that professional rigour is applied to coaching, both in its practice and its practitioners. That's why it's important to supervise coaches”

Nick Smith co-author, along with Dr Peter Hawkins, of Coaching, Mentoring and Organizational Consultancy: Supervision and Development

What are the Functions of Supervision?

Working with the psychological dimension of coaching: Assisting the coach to develop understanding and robust confidence when addressing their patterns of relating to self and others, including dimension of transference, counter-transference, personal conflicts, and so forth

Support: The coach is likely to encounter many difficult and demanding situations, which at times may drain their confidence and resources. The supervision relationship can help restore a sense of competence and resilience.

Maintaining professional and ethical standards: The maintenance of standards is a key aspect of the supervisor's role, including a responsibility to take action if the coach is unable or unwilling to address serious professional/ ethical issues

Continuing professional development (CPD): The coach can develop their understanding of the theory and practice of coaching through dialogue with the supervisor and can address real scenarios in this supportive environment. They can stay abreast of the developments in their profession.

Strengthens credibility of organisations: Enables organisation to demonstrate professional support to their Internal Coaches ensuring that a qualitative Coaching service to whomever the coach works with whether fellow colleagues of external clients.

The Approach to Supervision

Group sessions may be offered to Coaches working within the same organisation and offer a combination of Master Classes on Coaching approaches and Real Play to address ‘authentic’ situations which arise in their client sessions and allow group members to gain feedback from the Supervisor and fellow Coaches.

The Supervision Coach may work with Internal Coaches in both group and one to one forums

One to one sessions will allow an individual to evolve their own personal skills and address real client issues in a confidential forum. This ‘safe’ learning environment is beneficial to Coaches working in their own practice as well as for internal coaches.

So who might engage a Coaching Supervisor? Independent Coaches engage a supervisor to develop their practice and their own development and assure their clients of their professional competence whilst organisations engage Supervision Coaches because they recognise the need to tangibly demonstrate their commitment to maintaining a high standard of coaching provision within their organisation by providing independent qualified support for their Coaches. The Supervision Coach can keep the organisation advised of the ongoing development needs.

As we know people seeking Coaching services can be overwhelmed by the options available and discerning clients will work their way through wealth of potions using a check list of criteria. This will include seeking coaches with membership of reputable Coaching associations, accessing effective web site information, checking out the credentials of the coach such as reading testimonials from delighted clients and of evidence that the potential coach has qualitative approach to their ongoing personal development may also play a positive part.

Demonstrating your own commitment to Coaching supervision will support you in marketing your business by providing additional reassurance to potential clients of your professional ethics and qualifications.

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