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There are many definitions of Coaching Supervision here are just a couple to show you how broad it can be.

A working alliance between professionals where coaches offer an account of their work, reflect on it, receive feedback and receive guidance, if appropriate – (Michael Carroll)

Coaching Supervision is the interaction that occurs when a coach periodically brings his or her coaching work experiences to a coaching supervision in order to engage in reflective dialogue and collaborative learning of the development and benefit of the coach and his or her clients (Coaching Federation, 2007)

For me the key element of Coaching Supervision is that it provides a reflective space for coaches to grow and develop. We have spoken many times about the value of writing a Reflective Journal and how this can be a journey to you becoming a critically reflective practitioner. Supervision is the place to share the reflections on your practice. This space gives you the opportunity to review your experiences – engage with your emotional responses – challenge some of the assumptions we make about ourselves and others and situations.

Supervision is time in a safe space to reflect on your coaching work, and that is all parts of that work. Supervision enables you to gain objectivity and perspective on your coaching, particularly in complex or difficult situations, or where coaching work is triggering your own ‘hot spots’. It will also provide support and guidance to you in dealing with ethical issues and adhering to best practice.

So it’s key function is a space to reflect on your practice. It is therefore important that we understand what can be brought to Coaching Supervision. You may be practicing independently, in an organisation or using your coaching within line management. Coaching Supervision is important whichever type of coaching you deliver and how much you deliver.

Let’s look at what type of things and how they are brought into Coaching Supervision. They fall into 3 main headings Formative, Normative and Restorative and can come from any part of your professional coaching life.

  • The FormativeFunction (also called Developmental)
    Concerned with the development of skills, understanding and capacities of the coach. Professional supervision helps in unpacking your professional practice, so you can feel confident, calm and authentic when you’re working without crossing professional boundaries. The supervisor acts to provide feedback or direction that will enable the supervisee to develop the skills, theoretical knowledge, personal attributes and so on that will mean the supervisee becomes an increasingly competent practitioner
  • The Restorative Function (also called Supportive and Resourcing)
    Providing a supportive space for the coach to process the experiences they have had when working with clients. The supervisor is there to listen, support, confront the supervisee when the inevitable personal issues, doubts and insecurities arise – and when client issues are ‘picked up’ by the supervisee
  • The Qualitative Function (also called Normative and Managerial)
    Professional supervision contributes to best practice guidelines for coaching.  Concerned with quality, work standards and ethical integrity and operating within whatever codes, laws and organisational norms a coaches professional membership requires.
Rachel Robins

Dr Rachel Robins is a qualified Coach and Mentor. Rachel is passionate about helping individuals and organisations to reach their full potential, through proven and innovative coaching and delivery style.

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