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What is Coaching Supervision and Is It Important?

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[Note: This report first appeared in Research Bulletin, No. 11, Autumn 2013. It is reprinted with permission. Certain graphics could not be reproduced within this digital library. The full article with all graphics is contained in the pdf version of this report to be downloaded below.]

The study in brief

The ‘Standards Australia Guidelines for Coaching in Organizations’ states categorically: “All coaches should be engaged in professional supervision.” However, the industry doesn’t yet agree what coaching supervision is, its primary purpose, nor who is qualified to act as a supervisor.

Our study revealed that although some purchasers of coaching services (clients) are aware of the push for supervision, most are unsure how supervision relates to coaching outcomes. For clients wondering how to incorporate supervision into coach screening processes, we recommend that they ask prospective coaches five questions. The asking of these questions will provide deeper insight than simply asking a coach if they undergo supervision. The five questions are:
⦁ What are your learning goals for this year, and what steps are you taking to achieve them?
⦁ How do you get ‘unstuck’ when confronted by a particularly challenging assignment?
⦁ How do you look after your own wellbeing, for the sakes of your coachees as well as yourself?
⦁ What coaching ethics do you ascribe to, and how do you monitor your practice with reference to those ethics?
⦁ How do you make sure that coaching goals are aligned with organisational purpose, and remain so for the duration of an assignment?

Supervision can play a useful role in each of these domains. For each domain however, there exist other activities that may serve the same purpose. Furthermore, asking these questions will help the client develop a deeper understanding of the coach’s approach.

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