In simple terms supervision is regular ring fenced time in which the individual can reflect on all aspects of their practice. The central focus is on the work, the observation of practice, development of skills and interventions, practitioner development, adherence to ethics, maintenance of standards, developing competencies, exploring critical moments in coaching, celebration of good practice, it encourages best practice. Supervision helps the supervisee to take a helicopter view of their work and their relationships with others and with the organisation.
I prefer to think of the word supervision as ‘super’ (excellent/over and above) ‘vision’ (sight/foresight) and break down the overall process of supervision as falling into three main categories of Reflection, Insight and Support.
The ‘Reflection’ element in supervision enhances ‘seeing’, the seeing into one’s practice, the illumination of subtle processes in coaching conversations and of blind spots in oneself and in one’s thinking. It provides an enhanced view, a super-vision of my practice.
The ‘Insight’ is often collaboratively unearthed and it facilitates coaches’ thinking about their work. Insight may also be in the form of information or teaching on a relevant coaching theme.
The ‘Support’ refers to the relief of having time and space to think about particular aspects of their work and especially to think/reflect with a trusted colleague who will microscopically explore practice with them and contribute to their understanding. This support enables the coach to contain and resolve some of the more challenging parts of their work e.g. their frustrations with coachees, their concern that they are not doing enough, the difficulty of keeping to a coaching contract when the coaching ‘flow’ is going off piste, the undue influence of the organisation (often implicit) or of key stakeholders which might reduce coach effectiveness, unexpected emotional material either within the coach or in the coachee.
What supervises say about supervision
Provided me with regular time to think, helped me look at situations from a different perspective and made me feel very supported and affirmed.
Given me a chance to be reassured and know I am on the right track
- To look at interactions with my clients from different angles.
- Learn new techniques
- Gain confidence in what I know, how I coach, to trust my instincts
Frequency and Cost
The frequency will depend on the individual and the stage they are at in their coaching practice. Most coaches, on average, arrange a supervision session every quarter with the option to call and arrange sessions when difficult sessions present themselves.