In 2004 I had articles published that presented ideas about supervision for coaches (Hay, 2004a) and for trainers (Hay, 2004b); a few years later Open University Press published my book entitled Reflective Practice and Supervision for Coaches (Hay, 2007). This blog and those following it are based on those articles and that book, with further updates now so that the material will be useful for any ‘helping practitioner’, whether coach, trainer, educator, consultant, psychotherapist, counsellor. . . I know my thoughts
When I began my professional training in transactional analysis (TA), I had already been an organisational trainer for some years. I had been trained in various approaches to people skills, leadership, teambuilding and so on, but had never experienced the type of supervision that was, and still is, routinely practised within the TA community. In my two articles during 2004 I explained that, for me, the word ‘supervision’ is really super-vision, as in someone who can see more than or at a different level to that at which others see.
Because TA began life as a psychotherapy approach, supervision was engaged in as a matter of course. As TA extended into other fields of application, the potency of supervision readily became apparent to those of us in the developmental fields. The requirement, and hence opportunity, to review our professional work through a process of self, peer and supervisor analysis leads to significant increases in self-awareness, ability to analyse ‘in the moment’, understanding of the process with clients, skills at identifying more options, and all of the extra competence this leads to. Supervision is an extremely effective form of continuous professional development!
We can define the nature of supervision based on an idea by Brigid Proctor (1986):
Choosing a Supervisor
As a founding director of the European Mentoring & Coaching Council (EMCC), I was aware at that time that coach/mentoring (so called by EMCC because so often the terms are used interchangeably) had become somewhat of a growth industry, with coaches being drawn not only from organisational trainers but also from a range of other occupations, including: retired managers and business people, occupational psychologists, and therapists and counsellors. The latter were likely to have had experience of supervision only with a therapeutic bias, and the former often believed that supervision was something junior managers did when they oversaw the work of their subordinates.
In response to requests from members for advice on how to meet the EMCC Code of Ethics requirement to engage in regular supervision, I drafted an interim guidance statement (Hay, 2004a) that contained some criteria to help members evaluate potential supervisors. I recognised at that time that qualified supervisors were available in various fields (such as TA, where there is an international qualification) but there was a lack of supervisors who had been trained and accredited within specific professional frameworks such as coaching.
The guidelines reflected the fact that many qualified supervisors would have little experience of coaching, albeit they were experienced therapists. Supervisees needed to consider how much they needed their supervisor to understand the nature of coaching, and how competent the supervisee would be at ‘converting’ the supervisor’s contribution across to a different setting.
Since then I have updated the suggested criteria to apply to a range of helping practitioners – trainers, educators, coaches, psychotherapists, counsellors, consultants . . . anyone whose professional practice will benefit from super-vision. Keeping in mind that the ‘perfect’ supervisor does not exist for anyone, the ‘good enough’ supervisor will meet as many of the following as possible but not necessarily all of them:
Hay, Julie (2004a) Supervision for Coaches Self & Society 32:3 Aug/Sept 34-40
Hay, Julie (2004b) Supervision Train the Trainer, 11
Hay, Julie (2007) Reflective Practice and Supervision for Coaches Maidenhead: Open University Press
Proctor, Brigid (1986) ‘Supervision: A co-operative exercise in accountability’ in A. Marken & M Payne (eds) Enabling and Ensuring: Supervision in Practice Leicester National Youth Bureau/Council for Education and Training in Youth and Community Work. 21-23
© 2018 Julie Hay
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