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Have You Heard About Coaching Supervision?

written byJo-Ann Harris, M.Ed, MCCon 24/12/2020

We often hear coaches wondering about one of the strongest trends in the field of professional coaching: coaching supervision.

But what is coaching supervision…?

In a nutshell, coaching supervision can be described as a collaborative and reflective exploration between the coach and their coaching supervisor. It creates a powerful learning experience that enhances the personal and professional development of the coach.

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Coaches provide support for individuals and groups who are looking to make important changes in their lives and careers, sometimes in quite complex environments (consider a corporate coaching assignment involving a sponsor, a coachee, their team, the HR department, etc.). Coaches often work on their own and can experience challenging and sometimes emotional circumstances, which they do not always feel entirely prepared to deal with.

Coaching supervision is an effective way to support them to develop their inner coach, their resilience and their ability to respond to those unexpected coaching situations. Group or individual supervision helps coaches share, in confidence, their coaching experiences in a safe and non-judgmental setting co-designed with a coach supervisor who is a trained professional with generally years of coaching experience under their belt. This allows coaches an opportunity to gain insight, support and direction so they can serve their clients better and more confidently.

What does the International Coach Federation (ICF) say about coaching supervision?

The ICF recognizes coaching supervision as an important element of a coach’s professional development, learning and growth. The ICF Board has adopted the position of "strongly encouraging" supervision. ICF credential-holders may submit up to 10 hours of coaching supervision (delivering or receiving) as Core Competency Continuing Coach Education (CCE) units toward their credential renewal.

The ICF is actively involved in research in the area of coaching supervision and lists the following benefits of supervision for coaches:

  • Increased self-awareness
  • Greater confidence
  • Increased objectivity
  • Heightened sense of belonging
  • Reduced feelings of isolation
  • Increased resourcefulness

It seems clear that coaches benefit from supervision. Many corporate clients and procurement specialists are in fact making “evidence of regular supervision” part of their quality assurance – and this trend is only increasing.

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