Do coaches and supervisors need supervision?

Since July I have been embarking on the journey of becoming a supervisor for coaches.  You may ask yourself: do coaches need supervision?  I think the resounding answer is yes!  Here are 3 main reasons why:

  • Formative – Coaches need to review what they do, what they do well, and where they need to improve
  • Normative – Coaches need to embed standards, ground their practice, and celebrate what they do well
  • Restorative – Coaches need to develop and grow, raise self awareness, seek support, and take issues of their practice to someone who is objective

I had one of those ironic recently when I was having some supervision for my own coaching practice.  As it turns out, my supervisor and I ended up talking about supervision.

  • What’s its purpose?
  • How does it help?
  • Who has it?  Who doesn’t?
  • What do I have in place that works?
  • What do I want?
  • What do I need?
  • Who will I supervise?
  • What’s my approach?
  • How will I contract with clients?
  • What’s in?  What’s out?
  • What changes between individual, group, and peer supervision?

Interestingly enough, it was the ‘what do I want?’ that came out as the most important question.  It surfaced for me a deep-rooted desire to:

  • Be collaborative
  • Be inclusive
  • Grow and learn
  • Move on… quickly
  • Have my needs met; congruence with ethics, values, and professional standards

What became clear is that there is a degree of polarity in this list when you condense it down. It becomes:

  • How do you collaborate and move on…. quickly?
  • How do you satisfy your needs, the desire to be inclusive, meet the needs of others and move on ….. quickly?

I think it’s the ‘quickly’ part; it can get you into hot water.  It’s great to do things efficiently and quickly, especially when you learn a new skill, but this is something that also deserves thought and consideration.  Supervision in itself requires deep reflection to spot patterns, themes, and errors of judgement, and to be able to pay attention to what you become aware of – both in the moment and on the periphery.

So I’ve decided to go against my list and I am taking my time, thinking things through, and hopefully managing my own personal ‘hurry up’ driver.  Perhaps being a supervisor is not so much about looking at others to monitor, hurry, or scrutinise, but rather it’s about using your own self-awareness and deciding what you want your team to achieve.


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