Home Concepts Strategy Future of Coaching Supervision and the Future of Coaching

Supervision and the Future of Coaching

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Here’s Vikki on the subject:

When I completed my PhD research in 2008 I identified several paths coaching might take in the future.  On one end of the spectrum was the field becoming institutionalized and bureaucratic, and the other was becoming the new worldview.  For the past year I have been closely following the movement toward establishing coaching supervision as a standard within the coaching industry. And what I see happening seems to me to be symptomatic of a change within the entire field.

The movement toward coaching supervision and how it is taking place demonstrates that a trend toward “legitimate professionalism” pursued by professional coach associations and others who benefit from more regulations is the path coaching is on right now.  Legitimate professionalism means to be supported by recognized institutions of learning, an accepted body of research, and well-understood processes of certification. Gone are the days of open and transparent dialogue that value the input of elder coaches alongside newer coaches.

Rather than forging our own path, the coaching field at 20 years is continuing to borrow from other fields to define coaching.  Read the perspectives shared by the authors who contributed to this issue.  You make your own decision – do we forge our own path or run the risk of being overtaken by a new field with the agility to adapt to ever changing world requirements.

Summary of contributions:

Garvey – Garvey explores the problem of competence in coaching; he looks at the reductionist nature of competencies finding they are inadequate to deal with the complexities of coaching.  He proposes revisions to assessment and accreditation that are rooted in person centered humanism philosophy; and are dynamic, situational and peer led.

Reynolds – The author’s perspective is that the arbitrary use of supervision and mentoring are contrary to the broader definitions of credentialed coaches.  Asks the bigger question as to why elders in coaching are not consulted in proposed changes before the decisions are made.

Stratford – This author argues that the ICF has been violating their own competencies and the soul of coaching in how they deal with their members (clients). In their quest for legitimacy as a profession, associations like the ICF went hierarchical and bureaucratic, rather than innovative and distinctive. In coaching language, we focused on solidifying the “what” rather than the “who” – which is demonstrated in copying one more professions system … “supervision”.

Garvey – EMCC has shifted focus over the years from eclectic mix to rational reductionism of managerialism and commodification.  This form of managerialist professionalism rips the soul out of coaching and mentoring, and drives out inclusivity and eclectic mix in favor of exclusivity and commodification. We must return to core values and principles of what we do as coaches and mentors.

Perry – The soul of coaching is the foundation of our industry and this author explores what has happened to the soul of the ICF. While this talks about the ICF, it could just as easily be for the entire coaching industry.  We co-editors choose to be those who are “willing to push back, to ask questions, to challenge the status quo”. He also introduces the concept that coaching is a ‘modeling’ rather than ‘service’ field.

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  1. Rey Carr

    November 12, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    Fabulous issue. Very thought-provoking articles. I say this not because mine is one of the articles. I’m honoured to be in this group of great thinkers and writers, all dedicated to improving the quality of coaching available on the planet.


    • Suzi Pomerantz

      November 12, 2015 at 3:04 pm

      Thank YOU, Rey, for your wonderful contribution!


  2. Vimala Suppiah

    November 22, 2015 at 11:35 pm

    Thank you for this very “much needed” conversation on supervision. Currently I live and work in Kuala Lumpur-Malaysia as ICF Certified Coach.
    My need for “support, mentoring, wise counsel” hit me hard when I started coaching and came home thinking..”who can give me support” and found no one. When I discovered coaching supervision and spoke about it in Kuala Lumpur within the growing coaching community here, everyone thought I had 2 heads!!

    I have since co-founded the Association for Coaching Supervision and Mentors-ACSM and we are working relentlessly to raise awareness of WHY supervision is important as we grow and work as Coaches not only in Malaysia but in Asia Pacific.

    I am passionate about supervision and more so in this part of the world where ICF’s presence is growing and yet supervision is not yet in their DNA. There is much need to chart the professional growth of coaches via reflective practices and via mentoring/supervision..I see it as a “must”.


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