Michel Moral, EIA Master (EMCC), Supervisor and Supervisor’s Trainer
All helping professions share a basic principle that is illustrated with the following analogy: « It is difficult to make your bed if you stay in it ».
In other words, a coachee needs a dialogue with someone else, a coach, to find fixes to his or her concerns, challenges and issues. Similarly, a coach needs a dialogue with someone else to find responses to his or her professional difficulties and development ambitions.
More specifically, what is unknown by the coach about him/herself, but which the coachee can see, might impact the coaching process. Blind areas, blind self, blindspot, deaf spots, limiting beliefs and values, implicit theories, etc.… need to be made conscious. More generally, the coach might need support if something in his or her activity make him or her feel bad, need some kind of help for his or her development and need some kind of help to understand why some of his or her professional acts do not work as anticipated.
David Sleigtholm, EMCC VP Standards says:
There is a body of opinion in the coaching and mentoring worlds that in order to practice safely and to develop and provide the best service to the client, the coach or mentor needs to engage in a process of review and reflection.
The term “supervision” is used to describe the dialogue that the coach has with someone else called “supervisor”. The definition of the word “supervision” varies with the countries, the professional bodies and the professional environment.
Edna Murdoch (CSA) summarises coaching supervision in a very comprehensive way:
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I think of it as a three-pronged practice. It provides insight, reflection and support for the coach.
The reflection is about the whole conversational space so that all the lids can be lifted on a piece of work. The supervisor creates a space where a coach can really look at all aspects of their work collaboratively where they can gain a new understanding and bring things up to the light.
This support can be under-valued but it is a vital piece, as coaches are working intensively with people. They are often working to deadlines, the expectations on them are considerable and there is wear and tear on the system as they work. All of that needs support and affirmation.
A coach is often working alone in a room or on the telephone and it is vital that they can hear when they are doing well. The responsibility they hold is considerable. A supervisor can motivate and encourage the strong elements of the work and point out why these are working.
They can support that developmental journey and be a resource.