Why choose to have effective supervision?

I am personally of the opinion that really effective managers and coaches need reflective supervision. I also believe that managers & coaches undergoing supervision develop their skills, knowledge & emotional intelligence as a result. They are then more successful both personally and professionally.

Many managers and coaches who have regular supervision are able to address the challenges of difficult conversations and face up to possible area of conflict. They are able to pre-empt areas of concern and develop strategies to ensure there are no breaches of ethics and professional standards. They learn how to recognise and discuss patterns of behaviour in both themselves and their staff/clients and understand how these may affect the management or coaching relationship. This safe reflective space allows for new insights and discoveries to occur naturally.

If managers & coaches are aiming to support staff/clients to develop and grow, surely we should be doing the same for ourselves through reflective supervision. We have an MOT and regular service for our cars, we visit the gym, spend money on diets, and keep our bodies fit and healthy, so why not keep our professional standards high with effective supervision?

As examples of good practice, the BBC, Sainsbury’s and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) provide monthly supervision sessions to their managers acting as coaches. BBC coaches are required attend a minimum of six individual sessions and four group sessions per year to continue on the internal coach register. PwC & Sainsbury’s offer monthly group supervision with an external supervisor, and coaches supplement this with one-to-one supervision sessions.

Some areas of supervision focus:

• Client, organisation and coach needs and objectives aligned
• Regular contracting and ‘spot’ contracting
• Quality assurance for the coaching provision
• Providing reflective support and continuing development for the manager as coach
• Balancing individual, group and peer supervision with CPD
• Providing a safe space for coach to develop own internal supervisor
• Attending to the hidden and unseen areas of coach and client systems
• Managing ethical and confidentiality boundaries

In my viewsupervisors must ensure that they are sufficiently experienced, competent and appropriately trained to provide supervision.

Ideally supervisors will be skilled in the following areas:

• Clear and appropriate contracting
• Assessment and evaluation of the coaching process
• Developing and prioritising the needs of individuals in different contexts.(e.g. organisational, team, community, individual, etc.)
• Nature, models and dynamics of one-to-one reflective relationships
• Introducing/working with a variety of models and theories of supervision
• Issues of power in coaching and supervision both for individuals and groups
• Supervision of complex coaching situations
• Using resources of the group; working with group dynamics in coaching supervision

Good supervisors monitor their own supervision and acknowledge the limits of their own competence. They are open with the manager or coach about any issues that they don’t feel confident to deal with and are prepared to recommend other practitioners if necessary.
Supervision is enhancing our professional standards and CPD. This will ensure the profession is well regarded by the buyers of coaching and supervision ultimately leading to higher rewards both personally and financially.

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Editor “Full Spectrum Supervision” Author of “ Coaching Supervision at It’s BEST”