Initially the reason a coach engages with supervision may be to simply satisfy the requirements of a professional body. However, experience suggests that once the coach has undertaken supervision they see the value of supervision and what it brings to them and their coaching practice. Supervision supports the personal and professional development of a coach in whatever their capacity as a coach. There are numerous benefits for individual coaches, whether they are an external or internal coach, as well as benefits for organisations with internal coaching programmes.
Coaching Supervision Benefits for Individuals
If we were to ask a range of coaches to comment on what they see as the benefits of supervision, it is likely we would have a variety of responses related to the coach’s individual needs and level of maturity. These may include:
- Gaining new insights and learning: exploration and discussions can provide alternative perspectives that add to the coach’s way of thinking about their practice and identify new ways to proceed with a client.
- Tackling topics that emerge from practice: supervision can help the coach develop greater awareness, knowledge, sensitivity and judgement.
- Connecting knowledge and skills learned in training with practice and reflection from real client practice.
- Increased self-awareness: better understanding of themselves as a coach and the coaching relationship to help reframe their perspectives on challenges and issues.
- Building confidence as a coach: provides an opportunity to connect with another coaching professional, to explore self-doubt, or when feeling ‘stuck’ with a challenging case.
- Providing a sounding board that listens to their coaching issues and that can help the coach develop their capacity and capability as a coach.
- Encouraging the coach to continue to grow and engage in further professional development.
- Encouraging a more deliberate approach to reflective practice.
- Restoring emotional energy: the restorative function of supervision creates a safe haven for a coach to openly express their concerns and frustrations. They can also process personal feelings or issues that may impact how they interact with their clients.
Coaching Supervision Benefits for Internal Coaching Programmes
Coaches who are part of an internal coaching programme will benefit from supervision in the same way as other individual coaches, so the benefits outlined above will equally apply. However, they also face a unique set of challenges in their roles so there may be additional levels of complexity to be explored in supervision. For example, they may have more than one client so need to take account of multiple stakeholders’ perspectives and needs; confidentiality and boundary management may present ethical dilemmas; conflicts of interest and bias of organisational knowledge may present challenges. Consequently, engaging with reflective practice and supervision as an internal coach is potentially more critical in helping the coach to become and remain ‘fit for purpose’ in the organisational setting.
Additional benefits of supervision for internal coaches can include:
- Building a sense of community: particularly if group and peer supervision is part of the supervision offering.
- Working with a supervisor external to the organisation: feeling more comfortable opening up with someone outside the organisation — valuing their independence.
- Developing a better understanding of how unseen dynamics affect their coaching practice: including the influence of culture, power dynamics, and internal and external dynamics.
- Creating a ripple effect across the organisation by sharing their insights and learning from supervision with other internal coaches, HR professionals and leaders.
Coaching Supervision Benefits for the Organisation
For organisations that provide coaching using either internal or external coaches, it is so important that they provide the resources and support the coaches need to work effectively — in the same way they would to develop individuals in other roles. Providing initial training for coaches and supplementing this with additional development workshops is not sufficient — supporting reflective practice through supervision is an essential part of continuing professional development for internal coaches.
The benefits for the individual have been highlighted above. There are some additional benefits for the organisation from supervision. These include:
- Helping to build internal coaching capability, which supports the development of coaching practice within the organisation.
- Identifying broader development needs that are common across the organisation by gathering learning from various supervision interventions.
- Gaining assurance that the quality of coaching being provided across the organisation is ‘fit for purpose’.
- Building credibility for the coaching programme and the internal coaches.
Should I invest in coaching supervision?
As an independent coach, a coach on an internal coaching programme or the co-ordinator of an organisational internal coaching programme, there are numerous benefits to be had from investing in coaching supervision. It’s not just about ticking a box because, as a member of a professional body, supervision is a requirement for acceptable professional practice. Coaching supervision offers so much more in terms of meeting the individual needs of the coach in making sure they and their practice are ‘fit for purpose’, as well as ensuring the professionalism and credibility of any internal coaching programme.
Find out more…
If you, or your organisation, are interested in finding out how Coach Mentoring Ltd can help you embrace the benefits of individual or group supervision, please get in touch.
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