Supervision (of coaches) is a relatively new activity in the coaching arena, although it has long been recognised there is a need for supervision in the psychological-based helping professions. Whilst coaching supervison borrows some fundamentals from therapeutic supervision, it is a different activity – just as coaching is distinctly different from therapy. It operates at three levels for the coach:
- formative – through reflection, feedback and direction, developing skills and capability;
- normative – ensures the coaching is professional and ethical, and conforms to any organisational or legal codes; and
- restorative – provides support for the coach when personal issues, doubts and insecurities arise.
Supervision is fundamentally an opportunity for the coach to take time to reflect and receive objective feedback on what can often be difficult or complex situations. The supervisor uses various models (including the Seven-eyed Model, Dilts’ Logical Levels and Perceptual Positions) to give the coach new insights and different perceptions of the client and/or coach situation. The supervisor will also be aware of, and bring to the awareness of the coach as necessary, any transference or counter-transference arising.
Supervision can be undertaken either individually or in groups, face-to-face or by telephone. The frequency of supervision tends to depend on the level of experience of the coach but commonly falls in the range of 1:10 to 1:35 (hours of supervision to hours of coaching).
If you are a coach or are responsible for a team of internal coaches, coaching supervision is a cost-effective way of ensuring the quality and ROI from your coaching programmes.