The scope of coaching supervision

What is the scope of coaching supervision today?
Date: Tuesday 24th April, 6pm-8pm
Venue: KPMG LLP (UK), 15 Canada Square, London E14 5GL


The speed of development in both theory and practice of coaching supervision has been impressive yet the rate of development has not been accompanied by much research to verify the assertions of its proponents. How does what is rapidly becoming the accepted model for supervision in coaching relate to what is traditionally understood by the word. Ian will share findings from his recent research into the practice and beliefs of APECS members who work as supervisors, facilitating an exploration of what this research can tell us about the possible futures of supervision.

The purpose of this study was to see what connections exist between these two contrasting views of supervision in the eyes of practising coaching supervisors. Various “interpretations” of supervision emerged from the study; from traditional expert/apprentice models (where you cannot supervise somebody whose professional field you do not know intimately) to process models which focus on the individual (with the systemic context as secondary) with the potential to move to ‘I can supervise anyone.’
These apparently simplistic differences open an array of questions and implications for both coaches and supervisors alike. What is it we are really offering as supervisors? What are supervisees really seeking?
We hope Ian’s findings can throw light on your own questions about supervision and hope you would like to be part of the discussion.
Ian Ross
Prior to my work as a senior executive coach, I spent many years with FTSE 100’s and SME’s up to main board level. This included living in 14 countries and working in over 80…an experience that brought significant opportunity to see what helps organisations work effectively (or otherwise) and significant insights into the part played by organisational and national cultures. I realised quite early on that meeting your teams where they were was critical for change.
I was first coached in the early 1990’s and, to be honest, can remember nothing about it save I felt sorry for the coach.  However later and more successful interventions began a process of self-reflection that led to enrolment in the Henley MSc programme. Entering the coaching profession at a relatively advanced age meant I had to accelerate my learning so I also enrolled in a post-graduate coaching supervision programme, also at Henley.  This was fantastic: I learned more about myself and discovered that I was able to facilitate such revelations with others.  But I was left with a question: what is the difference between coaching and supervision?
Hence my research.  By chance my professional career had started out as a researcher so I had some sense of the basic rules of impartiality and traps of projecting views onto those interviewed – and was aware my conviction at the outset that it was impossible to supervise in a work context if one did not understand its systemic implications.  I also held the assumption that supervision was a generic activity and had to comply with a certain set of rules. Perhaps we and our supervises share similar assumptions? In reviewing what I want from my own supervision I now lean towards two forms. Is it about learning or being?  While that is not the end of the line it begs the question of what is it we are offering as supervisors? And do we need to be more explicit about this?

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