How do you make sure you are well equipped for your role as a coach after gaining your qualification? How do you make sure that you are keeping yourself and your clients safe as a practising coach? Can you make sure that you and your practice are ‘fit for purpose’? The answer is to make sure that, as part of your continuing professional development as a coach, you undertake effective coaching supervision.
Many coaches are members of professional bodies which have a requirement to engage in supervision with a suitably qualified/experienced supervisor as a requirement for acceptable professional practice. Membership of a professional body may motivate a coach to engage with supervision. However for some, commitment to supervision can be half-hearted, particularly if they are not sure what might be involved in the supervision relationship and how it will benefit them.
As a coach, whether you are a member of a professional body or not, whether you are an internal or external coach, supervision is essential if you are to continue to improve your coaching experience and the experience of your coachee.
What is the purpose of coaching supervision?
Supervision provides a safe, confidential learning space — a sanctuary for the discussion and review of an individual’s coaching journey to support their personal and professional development as a coach and their journey to develop their “internal supervisor”.
The role of the supervisor is to help a coach to become a better coach. They do this by helping the coach to see more than they can currently see in themselves, in others and in the systems in which they operate; helping the coach to gain personal insight and resourcefulness so they are better equipped to help their clients.
A useful framework for organising the learning needs of a coach relates to the three elements of effective coaching supervision:
This focuses on the managerial and evaluative aspects of supervision, such as quality assurance, ethical practice, keeping the client safe: is the coach working to a good standard.
Formative (developmental/learning and growth)
This focuses on the ‘educational’ aspects of supervision – developing knowledge, skills, attitudes and abilities and appreciating the limitations of competence: how is the supervisee improving as a coach.
This focuses on the wellbeing of the coach, their capacity for self-management and self-care – providing somewhere for the supervisee to process emotions, express concerns and to celebrate successes.
(The framework was originally developed by Inskipp and Proctor (1993) in relation to clinical supervision and has been evolved over the years to support coach supervision.)
This framework shows the wide range of variables a coach might face in relation to their practice and development. Consequently, it shows the range of successes and challenges the coach may choose to bring to the supervision conversation.
Supervision should be an ongoing practice of reflection, undertaken at regular intervals. It should be a place to celebrate and learn from success as well as to explore challenges and issues.
What are the formats for effective coaching supervision?
There are three main formats of coaching supervision. They all can support the coach with the range of variables they may need to address for their personal and professional development. The three formats are:
- Individual (one-to-one) supervision
- Group supervision
- Peer supervision
Whichever format a coach decides to undertake, it will provide an opportunity for them to take a step back and reflect to gain a greater appreciation of themselves, to review how they operate, to consider broader perspectives and to improve their practice.
Should I invest in coaching supervision?
As a coach, whether an external or internal coach, view coaching supervision as an integral part of your ongoing development and maintenance of your professional competence. Best practice as a coach requires us to engage in reflective practice. While this can help us to a certain extent, being able to:
- explore challenges,
- ethical dilemmas,
- our reflections and opportunities with our supervisor…
…will help us to gain broader insights than we can without the help of others.
Find out more…
If you, or your organisation, are interested in finding out how Coach Mentoring Ltd can help you with your individual or group supervision needs, please get in touch.
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