Coach Supervision or Super-Vision? (by Sylvie Schoen-Schlumberger)


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Supervision or Super-Vision ? Individual and/or in group

(by Sylvie)

I got introduced to supervision while I was engaged with a school to supervise the students. I enjoyed so much doing this that I decided, soon after, to specialize myself in Supervision, in a long term program (almost half of my time for one year), in London. With time, I became passionate by supervision. I just love this reflecting dialogue we establish together with the coach to think about the past, in the present, for the future to just engage in the learning.

I define supervision as two words - super and vision - as in super-vision. To me, this is the process of helping the coaches to step back, metaphorically, from their work so that they may take a meta-perspective, or broader view, of their practice.The objective of supervision is not to « coach-the-coach », as it is often understood. Rather it is for the coaches to go beyond their professional and personal obstacles and to create a safe place for the form (learning), norm (standard) and restoring (recharging).

Coaches in supervision often refer to their experience of having time and space to think about particular aspects of their work and especially to think/reflect with a trusted colleague who will microscopically explore their practice with them, contribute to their understanding, learn new ways of practice (through observation and practical experience) and recharge their batteries. "A place to breathe and learn" (Peter Hawkins & Shohet).

This support enables the coaches to contain and resolve some of the more challenging parts of their work. A process of reflection with a coach supervisor helps the coach to become aware of relevant strengths and weaknesses. It also allows gaining more than one perspective or interpretation of a client situation.

"For me, supervision for coaches is a collaborative learning relationship that supports the supervisees in their coaching practice and development, both personally and professionally. Through the process of sharing their practice, supervisees not only develop their interrelationship and intervention skills, but also receive feedback, support and challenge for their coaching and client handling. It provides a hugely powerful forum to attend to the emotional and professional safety, as well as the well being of the supervisees (coaches) and their clients (coachees)" (Alison Hodge- 2011)

For the coach, supervision is a great value. Supervision is highly recommended - if not required - by all professional associations in their code of conduct and ethical code.