Chronology of coaching supervision
Coaching supervision has its roots in the model of supervision used in the therapeutic disciplines of psychology and social work. It operates from this borrowed therapeutic model, and is a technique unsupported by evidence-based research within the coaching field. The “Coaching Supervision” agenda appears to be predominantly driven by certain (some) coaching psychologists/psychotherapists, coaching supervision training providers, coaching supervisors, and coaching supervision associations publicly dedicated to making Coaching Supervision a mandatory standard of practice in the coaching. In fact, the EMCC requires coaching supervision to become a member.
Coaching supervision first appeared in early 2000 (Appendix) in the UK during the same period the coaching psychology sub-discipline of psychology was formed. Evidence of a “coaching supervision” agenda abounds. The ICF, for example, is being advised on the subject of coaching supervision by individuals who are certified coaching supervisors, who have graduated from the Coaching Supervision Academy, and have an interest in seeing coaching supervision become a mandatory requirement.
A Dublin university offering a coaching supervision training program (UCD, 2014) claims that:
Supervision of coaching is increasing in demand as professional bodies such as the EMCC, AC and ICF are making it a requirement for ethical practice and necessary for individual accreditation. Organisations are also insisting that coaches they take on have in place proper supervision arrangements.
These claims are not yet true for the ICF and it is not clear what evidence has been used as the bases of these marketing messages. This kind of misinformation muddies the waters.
Implications (unintended consequences) for coaching’s future
What is happening here is “Professional bodies claim that supervision, as one of their rules, reassures potential clients or sponsors and ensures quality control. (Garvey, 2014).
The coaching supervision movement is spreading globally through a concentrated marketing effort. These coaching supervision proponents are lobbying coaching professional associations, coaches, and prospective employers of coaches to embrace coaching supervision (or “non-clinical supervision” that stems from a therapeutic model).
This agenda has far-reaching and negative implications on a multitude of fronts. This trend now threatens to:
⦁ Blur the carefully drawn lines/distinctions the ICF has drawn between the type of coaching practice covered by ICF credentials and related, but different forms of practice such as psychotherapy;
⦁ Places the coaching industry at risk of broad government intervention via increased regulation and possible licensure;
⦁ Create onerous and expensive burdens for all coaches, especially for those coaches who are self- employed, independent business people who would have to pay for the cost of their own supervision; and
⦁ Ultimately control the coaching industry through effecting changes that could eventually limit the supply of coaching professionals, thereby creating higher incomes for those who influence and control both how many, and who, would be allowed to enter the profession.