Coaching Supervision

When do you need coaching supervision and how do you know?

Coaching Supervision

I was recently asked this question – it seemed straightforward. I need it when I do, and I phone my supervisor to arrange a session. However there is more to it really, and it got me thinking. When have I needed coaching supervision : well there was the time when I doubted my ability to supervise anyone, to have the confidence and courage to offer feedback in the moment, to be really present and resilient when my own world was distracted and messy, when I needed to be better than, not just good enough.

The feeling I get when I need supervision is one of ‘oh, think I could have done better there’. There have been so many moments when supervision has been important to me throughout my coaching story, and without access to my supervisor I would have felt guilty, ashamed, confused. I don’t use my supervisor for everything though, there are times when I need to rely on myself and my internal supervisor. Sometimes as coaches we forget that we have one – but that voice which keeps us steady and sometimes gives us a shake can be really helpful.

Patience, Faith in human nature, and Letting go of responsibility

Reading Coaching Supervison: A practical Guide for Supervisees (Clutterbuck, Whitaker and Lucas), I was drawn to the idea of the Restorative functions of an effective supervisor – I think it resonated because I often work in that space with coaches. The model encourages Patience, Faith in human nature, and Letting go of responsibility. This really chimes for me just now. How often are we impatient in our own development, wanting to quickly get the experience we need and sometimes miss out the learning and the reflection. Supervision gently takes us back to being calmer and more patient perhaps, and to remember that reflective practice is part of the experience?

We need to keep having faith in human nature, as our world continues to test us, it is this idea of having faith in our own humanity and that of our clients that perhaps keeps us sane and helps us find perspective. I sometimes wrestle with the letting go of responsibility bit. There are times in our coaching work that we just feel that we should do more for our clients, we want to help them find that solution and we can feel guilty for not ‘getting them there’. Coaching supervision does not take responsibility away, but it can allow the coach to work out a reasonable balance between responsibility and letting go.

So I want to ask you the question – when do you need supervision and how do you know?

It was wonderful to spend some of last week in St. Andrews working with our brand new cohort on the ECA ILM Coaching Supervision Programme. The setting was inspiring, the town was busy with Dunhill Cup followers and fans, and the group were really inspirational.

If you are an experienced coach and are interested in learning more about Coaching Supervision please contact