Such confusion is rare in Europe where experienced coaches, particularly those in the United Kingdom and those who are members of the two largest European coaching organizations, the European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC) and The British Psychological Society Special Group in Coaching Psychology (SGCP), emphasize services they call “supervision.” Partly, there is little trouble with this term in Europe because of the large number of coaches who have come to coaching having first trained as psychologists, where supervision is common practice.
But the historical tradition of supervision in the clinical practice of psychology does not mean that it is appropriate for the practice of coaching. Supervision, in the traditional sense of one professional having responsibility for the quality of practice, ethics, and activities of another practitioner has no place in coaching. In her article on the dangers associated with the ICF initiating a coaching supervision model, Vikki Brock (2015) states, “…adopting clinical forms of supervision, using the language that applies to regulated areas of clinical practice in the USA holds significant risks for the coaching profession, as represented by the ICF.”
In contrast to psychology, coaching practice has a long tradition of coaches consulting, conferring or collaborating with each other to improve, enhance, and strengthen each other’s practice. Therefore, it makes more sense to use terms such as peer consultation or peer coaching rather than coach supervision. Ironically, one of the biggest advocates from the ICF for coaching supervision, has stated that supervision is important “because it is a way that all coaches will get an opportunity to reflect on our practice; a way to reflect, to see, to think; and many times when you hear the word ‘supervision’ experienced coaches are worried that supervision comes from psychology or supervision means control; that is when you hear the word ‘supervision’ we’re talking about controlling instead of really reflecting; and instead of seeing supervision as a partnership where we are all learning” (Coaching Trends, 2015).Download Article 1K Club
December 30, 2016 at 6:54 pm
Fabulous article. As a 20+ year organization development professional schooled in the NTL methods, I’ve been, well, disgusted, to see work taken from my plate by “coaches.” Where I would have listened, offered (not required), and helped with feedback on various approaches for setting and achieving goals (or not goals), I’ve been told I can’t “coach” in some Federal Agencies because I’m not “ICF certified.” Meanwhile, some of the folks I’ve met in the “coaching profession” seem woefully unbalanced and bereft of use-of-self skill. What a mess, and you captured it. Thank you.