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Gold Rush Coaching Supervision

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The future of coaching as defined by the ICF can be best supported by fewer rules and requirements from professional associations and more humanism (or as Bob Garvey says, less neofeudalistic surveillance and more ethical and democratic way of being). Bottom line, mandatory coaching supervision doesn’t make any sense for coaches who are professionally credentialed by the ICF (and more specifically in North America).

How about using a critical friendship approach rather than supervision? Or, as the Association of Corporate Executive Coaches (ACEC) calls it “Rapid Cycle Peer-to-Peer Coaching” (CB Bowman email February 28, 2015). What this means is a collaborative approach where coaches call on peers and/or friends when facing a challenge or want support (like writing an article, reflecting on a client situation, or exploring an issue). Mature and experienced coaches have a strong support network that provides critical friendship. For those who are training to be coaches, the existing mentoring model (which provides all of what coaching supervision purports to provide) is a solid model that is accepted and achieves the desired results. Perhaps we would be wise to adopt an evaluation based approach associated with our current forms of support before adopting clinically focused models that may have no relevance to the coaching we practice.

There is a growing awareness in North America that the special interest group composed of Coaching Supervision training providers, Coaching Supervisor practitioners, and two professional coach associations – all based in psychological and psychotherapy models which require “supervision” for trainees – is now dangerously confusing the distinctions between the practice of coaching and therapeutic disciplines.

Senior experienced coaches and others are concerned about the dangers of this trend toward coaching supervision. We want to keep the defined boundaries between coaching and therapeutic disciplines by:
⦁ Maintaining the traditional inclusive definition of coach mentoring

⦁ Recognize the value of critical friendship also known as peer-to-peer coaching or coach consultation

⦁ Eliminate or restrict coaching supervision to training and credential purposes only

This will ensure that coaching, as it is has been defined within the ICF, remains a self-regulating profession with strong professional associations that accredit coach specific training programs and credential coaches that meet stringent educational and practice standards. Then, as with most professions, let the marketplace decide who is effective and who is not.

If you are concerned about this disturbing trend, 1) take the time to determine valid facts through due diligence and 2) make your voice heard with your professional associations. The International Coach Federation (ICF), European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC), and Association for Coaches (AC) are international bodies operating in markets with different regulatory approaches.  All have blanket policies in place regarding coaching supervision. If they do not fit the way your practice is framed, as is the case for the ICF in the USA, then make your voice heard, before it is too late.

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