IECL defines Professional Organisational Coaches as those who are competent, confident and ethical. Coaching Supervision, along with ongoing professional development, coach mentoring and individual reflective practice, is an integral activity to achieve this professionalism.
Put bluntly, no matter how experienced and educated you are as a coach, you can never see the back of your own head. A coaching supervisor serves to ensure someone is checking your blind spots, as well as supporting your ongoing development in service of your coaching practice. Supervision can be a place for coaches to do their best thinking and reflection on practice.
When sourcing a coaching supervisor, it's essential to find someone who can provide you with the reflective space in which to explore your role as a coach. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a coaching supervisor:
Qualifications and Credentials - Look for a supervisor who is qualified and experienced in coaching supervision. They should hold relevant coaching certifications and ideally be accredited by a recognised coaching organisation. Additionally, they should hold certifications in Coaching Supervision, provided by a reputable coaching supervision training provider. Verify their credentials and check their background (and reputation) in the coaching industry.
Role Clarity - Coaching Supervision and Coach Mentoring are often mistaken for each other. Coach mentoring is around your application and skill in demonstrating coaching competencies, whereas coaching supervision is a reflective process based on coaching experiences and case studies. Ensure your supervisor understands the distinctions between the two roles, and is offering what you require.
Compatibility - Ensure that you have a good rapport with the supervisor. The relationship between the two of you should be built on trust, respect, and open communication. It's essential to feel comfortable discussing your coaching and any challenges with them.
Experience - Seek a supervisor who has substantial experience in the coaching field. They should have experience working with coaches from diverse backgrounds and coaching specialties. Their experience could align with your coaching niche or area of focus, although this is not required.
Supervision Style - Different supervisors have different styles and approaches to coaching supervision. Some may be more directive, while others may take a more facilitative or collaborative approach. Consider what style works best for you and your coaching practice.
Ethical Standards - A good supervisor should uphold high ethical standards. They should be knowledgeable about the ethical guidelines and standards of the coaching profession and ensure that you adhere to them in your practice.
Continuing Education - Look for a supervisor who is committed to their own professional development, including ongoing coach education and their own supervision.
Supervision Process - Understand the supervisor's process for conducting supervision sessions. Consider how often and in what format (in-person, online, or over the phone, individual or group) sessions will occur.
Cost and Fees - Discuss the financial aspect of supervision, including the fees, payment schedule, and any additional costs. Make sure it fits within your budget.
References and Recommendations - Seek recommendations and references from other coaches who have worked with the supervisor. This can provide valuable insights into their effectiveness and professionalism.
Boundaries and Confidentiality - Ensure the supervisor maintains strict confidentiality and discusses the boundaries of the supervisory relationship. This is important to maintain trust and protect the integrity of the coaching process.
It's essential to take your time when selecting a coaching supervisor. Consider conducting interviews or initial consultation sessions with potential supervisors to get a sense of their coaching philosophy and style. Ultimately, the supervisor you choose should help you grow as a coach and enhance the quality of your coaching practice.
Some recommended questions to help you select an organisational coaching supervisor include:
Where and when did you complete your coach training?
Where and when did you complete your coaching supervision training?
How do you keep up to date with both of these?
How do you define coaching supervision?
How do you differentiate between coach mentoring and coaching supervision?
Which coaching code/s of ethics are you using to support the ethical dilemmas brought to you in supervision?
IECL recommends that you look for the blue IECL Coach Supervisor Training Credly badge, which means the supervisor has been trained by us.
International Coaching Federation supervision resources: https://coachingfederation.org/research/academic-research
Association for Coaching on supervision: https://www.associationforcoaching.com/page/WhatisCoachingSupervision