Supervision is a shared process so, whether you are reading this as a practitioner or as an existing or potential supervisor, it is helpful to have a model for analysing the supervision process itself. This allows both parties to engage in ongoing professional development – of their skills of supervision or of being supervised.
Analysing the Supervision Process
The following is a simplified version of C7P7A7, which I have developed for use when analysing group dynamics (see Blog 55). For supervision, it began in 2004 as C4P4A4 and by 2007 it had become C5P5A5. For supervision, there is a limit to what we can keep in mind, but the following can be considered roughly chronologically, in three categories:
What is the context for the supervision? What is the context for the work being supervised? Are there any links? Are the boundaries clear? Does the supervisee have adequate access to good structure, strokes and stimulation outside the supervision?
How well are we making contact with each other? At an overt level, are there signs of rapport being established? Do we feel that we are truly connecting? What is the supervisor’s role here in providing the supervisee with structure, strokes and stimulation?
How clear is the contracting? Does the contract cover the procedural, professional and psychological levels? Does it address the results intended, the allocation of responsibilities, and the relationships that will apply? What contracts exist/should exist with other parties/stakeholders?
What is the supervision about? Is this an appropriate topic? Did the supervisee determine the content? Should the supervisor direct the supervisee to specific content? As the supervision progresses, are we staying with the content and not going off on tangents?
How are we different? How are we similar? How might our differences help or hinder the process? How might our similarities help or hinder the process? What cultural differences might there be between our maps of the world?
Are there significant differences in the paradigms, or models of the world, of supervisor and supervisee? What is being done to understand and respect the supervisee’s paradigms, especially when they have a different cultural background to the supervisor?
In what ways do our styles differ and what impact might this be having? In what ways are our styles similar on what impact might this be having? How aware are we of our personal reactions? How are we sharing these appropriately with each other?
Is there an appropriate level of professional expertise, knowledge, experience? Is the supervisor respecting the professional competence of the supervisee (and vice versa)? What professional ethics and practices apply?
How 'straight' are the interactions? Are there ulterior transactions, discounting, psychological game playing? How are we handling the stages of dependence, counter-dependence, independence and interdependence? What about transference and counter-transference? How might we appropriately bring to the surface anything occurring at the psychological level?
Are there 'parallel processes' in effect, where difficulties between practitioner/supervisee and client are replayed between supervisor and supervisee? Are processes within the supervision a mirror of relationships the practitioner, or the supervisor, has in their personal or professional life?
Are we behaving in autonomous, script-free ways? Are we aware and in the here-and-now? What life positions, or windows on the world, are in evidence? Is the supervision leading to increased autonomy for the supervisee (and supervisor)?
Are we using our ‘real selves’ in the supervision? Are we accessing our emotions and reactions as sources of information within the supervisory process? Are we owning our vulnerability and willing to share openly so that we can check what belongs to the supervision process and what does not?
Is a range of options considered before decisions are made? Is there discounting occurring - are we ‘overlooking’ some aspects of the situation, its significance, the possible solutions, the skills available, the strategies for implementation, or the ultimate success factors?
Whose aims are we working towards – those of the supervisor or of the supervisee? How well are we working within the aims of the original contract for this supervision session? How well are we working within the long-term aims regarding the professional development of the supervisee?
Is the supervisee being enabled to identify potential actions that will increase their competence with the client? And with clients in general? Are clear action plans being developed where appropriate, with measurable, manageable and motivational objectives? Is the sequence one of decision, direction, destination?
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
© 2019 Julie Hay
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