“I have recently qualified as a coach and during my training received coaching supervision for my work. However, now that I have qualified and have over 100 hours of coaching practice I don’t feel as if I need coaching supervision as I am doing well and would have nothing to talk about. I keep seeing coaching supervision talked about on a number of internet forums I am a member of, but I am struggling to see the benefits of it, except of course if I run into problems with a client. If I did I would certainly seek outside assistance.”
Coaching Supervision is a relatively new and growing field and many coaches are often under the misguided belief that it is only useful when in training or if a problem arises with a client. However, this is far from the case.
The 2009 CIPD Report “Coaching Supervision Maximising the Potential of Coaching” stated that “Coaches see the main benefits of supervision as developing coaching capability (88%) and assuring the quality of their coaching (86%).”
Coaching Supervision provides you with an opportunity to continually develop your skills as well as providing a quality control element on behalf of your clients and their sponsoring organization in the case of Executive Coaching. There is an ethical dimension to coaching and in coaching supervision it is normal for the coaching supervisor and the coach to agree to abide by a code of ethics as a way of demonstrating best practice.
Many coaches are members of a coaching professional body and will already abide by such a code. However, if this is not the case a discussion may take place between the coaching supervisor and the coach regarding agreeing on the use of such a code. Coaching supervision helps you maintain ethical standards and gives the supervisor the ability to comment on the professional nature of your work when required. It is not uncommon for a coaching supervisor’s reference to be sought when a coach is applying for associate work or when selected to go through a coach assessment centre.
Even if your coaching work is going well there is learning in analyzing what’s working, why it’s working and in helping you identify your strengths. Coaching Supervision helps you gain a better understanding of your clients, their varying personalities and encourages you to become more aware of the dynamics of the coach-client relationship so that you can consider what learning can be transferred to other clients.
Working with clients can be an emotionally draining activity. Not only does coaching supervision allow you to discuss difficult or challenging clients, gaining support for the emotional impact such work can bring but also makes sure that even when a positive relationship is established, you do not over identify with your client. This is sometimes hard to spot when working independently. When we over identify with a client we may not challenge that client as effectively as we could and can get sucked into a cozy relationship that is not likely to help the client achieve his or her objectives.
In Executive Coaching, the manager of your coaching client will expect to see changes in that person’s behaviour and the success of your coaching (and whether you subsequently gain more work within the organization) will be assessed as much on this as on your coaching client’s personal feedback about the coaching programme.
If you are thinking of becoming an accredited coach, you will also find that it is increasingly being expected that coaches will have some form of coaching supervision as part of their commitment to professional best practice.
In addition to all of the above, coaching supervision offers the opportunity of working with a more experienced coach who can help you deepen your understanding and abilities. Many coaches chose to change their coaching supervisor about once every two to three years so that they can benefit from different styles and experiences.
Tips on Getting the Most from Coaching Supervision
- Always prepare an Agenda of what you want to discuss with your coaching supervisor as this will ensure you get the best from your supervision time.
- Keep notes about what takes place in the coaching supervision session so that you can reflect on these after your session.
- Ensure that you and your coaching supervisor set regular review dates to consider your coaching supervision relationship, its effectiveness and your development needs and how these can best be met.