Are You Considering Becoming a Coaching Supervisor?

studyingWhen you are a good coach with a wealth of experience, you might want to consider becoming a coaching supervisor. At one level this is easy as all you need to do is find a coaching supervision course and coaches who would be prepared to be supervised by you while you are training. Once you are qualified you can then offer coaching supervision as one of your services.

However, one aspect of coaching supervision you might want to consider is that a good coach does not automatically translate into being a good coaching supervisor. Coaching supervision is a different discipline and there are different training programmes available. If you do decide to undertake such a course, given that the field is still emerging you may find it helpful to consider a course that is university accredited as this may assist you in the future as coach supervisor accreditation takes off.

As an accredited coach you will be in coaching supervision so will have the experience of being supervised and maybe by more than one person over your seven years of practice. If this is the case what do you feel you have learned from the supervision you have experienced, what was helpful and what not helpful, and more importantly why? Being a coaching supervisor means facilitating the work of the coach whilst also bearing in mind your ethical and professional responsibilities to your supervisee’s clients and to the coaching field in general.

For example, as a supervisor part of your role is one of quality control and this is something not everyone feels comfortable with. Although a coaching supervisor facilitates the work of the coach s/he has to also think about the professional ethical boundaries that come into play. Every professional coaching body has their own code of conduct and although they overlap they are different.

How would you feel if you were concerned about your coaching supervisee and believed that s/he was not acting professionally? How comfortable would you be (if you had tried to work with the coach to deal with the issues concerned but still had serious misgivings) going to that individual’s professional body with your concerns. You would have to let your coaching supervisee know what you were doing and why but you would still have to withstand their comments and hold your ground. You would also need to be clear about the ethical issue concerned and have an understanding of the relevant code of ethics and practice.

Coaching supervision, whether we like it or not, is about standards and whilst a coaching supervisor is there to support their supervisee they also hold the needs of the supervisee and the supervisee’s clients while upholding the professional standards expected.

In addition, depending on what supervision method you use this also means learning to stand back but also know when to intervene – your supervisee is not like a coaching client. You need to work out what is simply supporting the supervisee together with those aspects surrounding the relational issues of the coaching work between coach and client, how the coach assesses need, what techniques/strategies the coach is using, how s/he evaluates their work, their continued professional development and training needs. Additionally work load ensuring a healthy work/life balance and competence come into play.

In addition which group of coaches do you want to supervisee and what skills will you need. For example, a Life/Personal Coach who becomes a supervisor may find it challenging supervising Executive Coaches with ethical issues around the boundaries and expectations of working with clients when organizational issues come into play. What if your supervisee works differently to you, could you supervise them then, what could become confusing or difficult for both of you? For example, as a cognitive behavioural coach, it would be difficult for someone without such training to fully understand what I do and how I do it.

When potential coaching supervisors consider all aspects involved in coaching supervision, some decide it is not for them. Holding the needs of the supervisee, the best interests of the client and your ethical responsibilities is not that easy. However, having said that many coaches become great coaching supervisors.

One of the keys is getting the best possible coach supervision training. To ensure you do check out whether the coach supervisor course considers ethical issues in its training as well as offering you a model/various supervision models that you could follow and/or customize. A good course will do this without thinking as well as ensure they provide training around contracting, legal requirements and other associated aspects over and above the supervision process itself.