Tandem Coaching Academy - Keeping Agile Coaching Non-Denominational
Reflective Supervision: Coaching for Coaches with Cherie Silas

Reflective Supervision: Coaching for Coaches with Cherie Silas

Keeping Agile Non-Denominational, Episode 5

Alex Kudinov   Welcome to another episode of Tandem Coaching Academy's Keeping Agile Nondenominational podcast. I'm Alex Kudinov and I'm your host today and today I have Cherie Silas. She is an MCC master certified coach with ICF and she's a CEC with Scrum Alliance, and today we are talking about Supervision. So, Cherie, first thing about Supervision, this supervisor thing, you know, it's kind of like a command and control thing. So now you can command armies of coaches or what?Cherie Silas   Yes! No. *laughs* That's not what it means. So the term Supervision is so confusing, like so many things just in the profession of coaching. So, what Supervision is, if you think of it not from the traditional, 'someone's over me', or 'I report to someone,' so a stack-ranked relationship, Supervision is actually a peer relationship. So two professionals come together, and they take a step back, and they take a macro view of the coach and the work that they're doing with their clients. So it's a bit of a play on words like it's Super vision, not supervision, like your typical sense.Alex Kudinov   Okay, I'm not particularly sure if that less confusing than when we started. So it's kind of like a meta view or a 10,000 feet view on the coaching practice. As a coach, why would they want to come into a Supervision session?Cherie Silas   Well, if we think of ways to grow and develop as a coach, so we've got training, which we all had to do to learn just the competencies, mentor coaching focuses on growing your competency as a coach. what are you doing in the coaching session? What's your skill level? That's the ACC/PCC/MCC type thing. Supervision is for experienced coaches who are working with clients. So coaches have this face with another professional, to bring client cases in confidential, and talk about the work that they're actually do with their coaching clients. So that helps the coaches to be able to look at things like, "A client's not not moving forward, what do I do?", "I don't think I'm adding value to this client. How do I handle that?", "I think I have ethical concerns. I'm not sure if there's a conflict of interest." It may even be things like, "I got triggered when my client was talking." or "I started actually consulting instead of coaching." and  it's the how you show up as a coach, with your clients in the relationship with your clients, that you're handling in supervision. And so the two of us, if I'm your supervisor, we walk through that, we talk through that, we shoot ideas around together, and we look at the reality and about what needs to be different, and what you can learn about yourself as a human showing up as a coach, in your coaching conversations with your clients.Alex Kudinov   So if I bring my client's cases to this Supervision, what should I expect? Like, you would give me a second opinion, or we would listen to recording, or how does it work?Cherie Silas   Great question. So listening to recordings would be more like mentor coaching. Your relationship here with the clients you bring, it's completely confidential. So I don't even know their names. I don't -- you keep your client relationship. What we look at -- I completely forgot your question. Alex, *laughs* could you just tell me your question again,Alex Kudinov   What will happen in the session? I mean, I bring the recording, and you will do like second opinion on the recording, or you will tell me what you would have done. So what does it look like?Cherie Silas   Ah. Yeah, what does it look like? So basically, it may feel a little bit like a coaching session on your coaching. So we'll start off with what's the what's the case you're bringing give us give just a little bit of background about the client, the interventions you've already done with the client, and why this, today? What's important about this that makes this incident with the client a notable incident? Then we'll talk a little bit about, what are some of the questions that you have that you want to be able to answer in this conversation that are going to help be helpful for both you and for your client. Then we'll talk through that. Just like in coaching, there's different models that you might use and different theories on Supervision, that, you know, we bring in whenever, we grab whatever is necessary at the moment, just like I would as a coach, and then we'll walk through those things.  Sometimes there's a space where I may step a little bit into a mentoring mode, if that's what you want, and say, "Okay, well, here's my experience." There might be times when I raise a concern, that's an ethical concern, that I might see to make you aware of it so that we can look through that. Much of the time, it's going to be, "Let's reflect." You reflect on what's happening with your client, with you internally, the way you showed up with your client, and what's happening with you, even right now as we talk about it. We'll look at, "Well, what's happening in our relationship, that might actually be a parallel process to what's happening in your client's relationship with you?" There will be times when I use myself as instrument "This is what's happening for me, as I listen to you talk about that." Then most importantly, I think is we'll take a systems perspective and look at the world around your client, and you, and just a whole big thing and see what we can, you know, what comes up to the surface by looking at things from that perspective.Alex Kudinov   So interesting, when you mentioned systems perspective, and kind of looking at the whole world, what I remember the way we teach active listening, kind of this third level of global listening, and we basically say, it's hard, and what we actually don't know how many coaches actually get to that level of listening in their coaching sessions. So it sounds like your supervision sessions might be is that opportunity to actually get actively to that third level of listening and just have experience there.Cherie Silas   Yeah, I love that you made that connection. Because that third level of listening is that perception, right? It's that sensory perception and if you if you take it up a notch, it's actually what's happening in the system that you're perceiving. It may be in the relationship system, it may be in the organizational system, and it may just be in the world system around. So for example, how do ICF Ethics and Competencies bear on this? How does the fact that the world's on lockdown and Coronavirus impact this? What's the values and the  atmosphere in the clients company that might be actually creating some of this? What's happening in your own family that might have some transference; that you might be saying I have these old relationships and I find that I'm actually attributing what happened there into this relationship, things like that. It's the big, wider view of, "What all might be impacting this relationship and the effectiveness you're having with your client?" So let's uncover it, let's reflect on it, and then let's figure out where to go from here.Alex Kudinov   So, it sounds like it's still a lot of new awareness for a coach to take out of that Supervision session. So what are some battle stories you can share that you just went- you just got out of the Supervision session, and you were like, "That coach got so much out of it."?Cherie Silas   So, I think I want to talk about it from the perspective of when I was in Supervision with my supervisor, or one of my supervisors, what did I come out of it with? Because I can speak better to that piece. So a big thing that early on, when I started jumping into Supervision, I realized very quickly that the truth of the fact that over 40% of all of the challenges we have with our client goes back to the coaching agreement. Over 40% percent.Alex Kudinov   And we suck at creating coaching agreements!Cherie Silas   You never get good enough at it. It was interesting because I didn't learn that until I actually went to school to learn Supervision that that was the case. But what I found now is many of the conversations I have with my supervisor, it fell back to the coaching or the relationship contract. So a lot of that was going back and cleaning up, which also had the impact of me figuring out how to how to do those things better for the next client, so that I didn't have to keep going back and cleaning up stuff that I missed. So that was a really huge one. Another thing, or one that comes up often, I find, with with coaches as they come into supervision, is they start to see the impacts of their own desires for the client and how, even though they say it's the clients agenda, the coach really wants for the client something so then they keep trying to drag them to that side. So one example of a coach that I had, she had a client who had a miserable job. She hated it and she was like, "You're so talented. Why doesn't she just leave? I don't understand why she just don't leave, she's stuck." But then, as we zoomed out, what we actually realized was two things. One, there was the impact of this whole the uncertainty around the Coronavirus and all this but there was also the impact of the coach's experience, because over the last year and a half to two years, even in the midst of all this, she left the job she hated, found another job she hated even more, got laid off from that job because of Coronavirus, found another one she absolutely loved. So she wanted her client to do what she did, just get out there and get out of this miserable job. That was impacting the way she was working with her client and the frustration level around her client wasn't moving. What we ultimately uncovered was that it wasn't in the clients best interest and there were other factors the coach couldn't see, because she was blinded by COVID experience.Alex Kudinov   So it sounds like it's powerful learning and I'm curious, a lot of coaches who come into supervision, they are already certified ACC, PCC, some MCC for all I know, they are accomplished coaches and there's still so much to learn, and you mentioned that kind of ICF it touches upon ICF ethics and all that, and we know that ICF came out with new competencies this year, last year, and one of them is continuous learning, continuous improvement and ICF kind of glossed over Supervision but they did mention it. So what's changing for America's kind of Supervision market with these new competencies?Cherie Silas   Yeah, really interesting and really exciting changes coming up from ICF. I'm so thrilled at the changes they made in the competencies. So our European counterparts have been utilizing Supervision forever. In fact, that's how I found out about it and started doing it myself. And EMCC has the kind of governing body like ICF is predominantly here in the US. They actually require Supervision, an hour Supervision for every 35 hours of coaching. ICF has made these changes and what ICF has employed is that every coach must undertake a role and, have some kind of reflective practice. They haven't called out and said "You have to do Supervision." However, there's four or five different markers in that mindset that that display that you've got a coaching mindset under that competency, and Supervision covers all but maybe two of those. So while ICF doesn't require it, they definitely don't frown upon it, and I do believe that in the Americas, especially with this change, Supervision is going to be embraced more. Because if ICF sees the importance of reflection, to grow the coach's relationship with the client and the coaches mindset, then coaches will also start to see that and when they hear how powerful it is, they'll actually want to.Alex Kudinov   Alright, so sounds like exciting time coming to North American markets for Supervision, I want to switch gears a little bit and talk a little bit about Agile coaching. So we saw need for professional coaching skills in Agile coaching for quite some time and we were bringing these two areas closer together. So, with Supervision added to the mix, what's changing for Agile coaching, and how these new skills, how this new reflective practice, can help in Agile coaching space?Cherie Silas   I have a belief. Now, I'll, of course, be testing out this belief over the next couple of years to find out if it's truth or not but my belief is that Supervisions can be a game changer and in the world around. So we know that professional coaching came in and disrupted  a bit of that industry of how coaching was done, Agile coaching was done. I think that Supervision has the potential to be even more powerful than that. What it will enable people to do is, so right now we've got Agile coaches, who are more consultants than coaches and then we've got Agile coaches who have learned and adopted professional coaching. So of course, for those who have adopted the professional coaching, we've already talked about the impact of that. Those who have not adopted professional coaching  as an art form, for them to experience Supervision, one of the side benefits of that, I believe, is going to be that they experience the power of coaching. Because Supervision is basically like coaching on your coaching, of course, there's other skills mixed in. So what I believe is that they will start to realize the impact they're having clients, through the methods they're using, and the resistance they're creating in the clients, methods they're using, and it will actually spark something in them that makes them realize that, "Oh, maybe maybe the skills that you're using with me are actually valuable for me to use with my clients" and it will turn the tide and help to bring others in, who haven't embraced the professional coaching or haven't heard of it.Alex Kudinov   So let me challenge you a little bit there. So you basically said, and rightfully so is, that a lot of Agile coaches are coming more from a consulting angle to their engagement or to their ways of working with teams. So why would we want to bring Supervision and maybe not consultant for Agile coaches? "I know how Agile coaching is done, I'm going to tell you how it's done, and you're going to do it my way."Cherie Silas   When was the last time somebody told you what to do and dictated to you how to do it and you were like, "Yeah! That's exactly what I'm gonna do. I'm all in!"Alex Kudinov   Um.....let me think.  I cannot remember on the last time.Cherie Silas   Yeah, that's why *laughs* but in all truth here. So group Supervision can be done two ways, and they're both extremely valuable, and they serve different purposes. So one way that I foresee bringing Supervision into the Agile space, it's not as likely that coaches who don't know things or anything about coaching, are going to do one-on-one supervision, I get that. However, group Supervision is more suited- it feels a bit more like group coaching and/or even could feel a little bit more like group mentoring. So you get a group of coaches together and so there's four or five coaches together. There's usually, or there should be, someone who's trained in Supervision who's facilitating that process, because it is more than just like, "Hey, let's do a thing." Just like coaching is more than like, "Hey, let's do a thing."  So we've got four or five coaches together who have clients and one person brings a case. The other coaches are actually, and the supervisor, are all thinking partners with that coach. So the coach brings their case and then the other coaches kind of help think through that with them and ask them questions and propose their own, you know, things that they're wondering about, things that that actually get the coach's brain moving a bit more, as the coach listens to these others talk. Then the coach comes back in and they give their thoughts and insights and inputs and what new questions they want to uncover. Then we do another round of that. So we do a few rounds of that and so what happens is, though there's one case, everybody takes away learning of how they would deal with that case based on their own reflections of what they know, and what they've experienced, and what they're learning that they might do and change about the way they've reacted to that in the past. So it's really, really cool experience. Then so often people will do group supervision but then they'll also retain the supervisor to work with one on one, and I find that the one on one, they usually bring more kind of personal things that they don't want to share with six people in a group.Alex Kudinov   Yeah, that was one of my questions. So if we are in a group, and I would expect Supervisor to be very skillful at creating confidential and safe place. How does the deal with all the confidentiality issues, and frankly, kind of people's comfort of looking not as a great coach in front of their peers?Cherie Silas   That is hard for people to do because we all want to be great. So some of the ways you do that, and I would add, it's not just confidentiality, but it's the Supervisor's critical role to hold a non-judgmental stance within the group. Because it's really easy to judge what somebody else did and it's the Supervisor's role to stop that so that the person bringing the case doesn't feel judged, because they shouldn't be judged. So some of the things that you might do, I usually have pulled groups together, that are people who don't necessarily know each other, they definitely don't work together. So then it's not like they're with their peer and now they're going to start talking about a client case. And the peers are like, "Oh, yeah, that's Gerald, I can tell by what you said, because I know all these people." That's breaching confidentiality. So we want to put together groups that are not in the same ecosystem. The groups, I generally do six sessions, so once a month, or once every two weeks, it just kind of depends on the agreement of the group.  So we bring a group together, and our first round is actually, "Are these the right people for this group?" So there's a bit of an application process to make sure that the personalities that are applying to be a part of the group that those things mesh. That doesn't mean they all need to be the same but we do need to make sure that people can feel safe. So that group is a persistent group that stays together for the course, in the course, I mean, for the time, it's not like a class. So the six sessions of these five or six people, I never do more than five or six people in the group, beyond that is way too big. So for four to six is a good size. So those people build relationships together and because they don't know one another's clients, it's a little bit easier to feel like, "Well, I can be vulnerable. I'm not perfect." We're all peers anyway, and we're all vulnerable, and we all say the challenges we have, we all bring a client case, and there's something to be said to creating a space where I can actually come and let my guard down and I don't have to be perfect, and I can get advice from others.Alex Kudinov   So I was thinking if supervision is that great, in terms of evoking awareness in coaches, so you basically said it's coaching about coaching, and we have a lot of organizations are building their own internal kind of coaching muscle and coaching organizations, whether it's CoE, or whatever that is. So it sounded like supervision might be a good practice to bring into those organizations kind of a meta level over those coaching organizations. But now I'm confused that you basically said, "Well, those who know one another, they shouldn't be the same Supervision groups, and there might be some ethical violation." So how do people deal with that?Cherie Silas   Great questions. So to me, the first question becomes, how big is the organization? So if we've got a little bitty organization, you probably don't have five Agile coaches anyway. So if I'm thinking of an Agile CoE, that probably means there's different divisions, Different, whatever you want to call them, organizations, departments, whatever. So while you might have four or five coaches working in one area, you probably have four or five coaches working in a different area that they don't know one another's clients, and they're not actually peers, they just happen to work in the same larger ecosystem. So I would actually pull from those and mix clients that way. So then we've got some more protected groups. Now, there are actually some groups that will meet together, it's a little bit harder to do unless there's a lot of trust between the coaches themselves. So if we're all working together in one small organization role, you know, in a release train, or whatever you want to call that thing that we're in. We all know, one another's clients anyway, and it's like, everybody knows who everybody's coaching anyway, because it's all part of the world they're in, they can form a group of like those four or five coaches. Because there's not really a confidentiality breach, it's common knowledge. Now, you wouldn't want to bring something that's personal. You would bring a team scenario, but you wouldn't bring, "Well Joe came to me, because whatever," that would go to your individual Supervision session.Alex Kudinov   So there are still some ways to compartmentalize that information and keep it confidential. Okay. So another thing that you mentioned. So the word judgment kind of came through, right, and one of my favorite sayings is that "We are judging machines, we learn to judge on the fly." And in coaching, we actually teach and we'll learn how to kind of leave that judgment behind or at the door, and come to the session curious and hold the client, natural, creative, resourceful, and whole and all that good stuff. We also know that it's really hard for us Agilists, sometimes, to coach Agilists, because we bring that wealth of knowledge, we bring that wealth of experience. So when you go into Supervision session, which is kind of supercharged coaching on steroids, right, and you hear these Agile coaches go about they're not perfect Scrum or coaching the teams on whatever they're coaching, how do you stay away from judgment?Cherie Silas   Ah, great question. So you know, how coaching is about the person and not the person's problem. The client focuses on their problem, and you focus on the client. Supervision is the same.Alex Kudinov   Yes, but their Retrospectives still suck.Cherie Silas   They do suck, and that's fine. What does suck mean? So, so So really, this is not a solving session. It is about what's happening for-- the coach is bringing in a case, "I'm concerned because my team's retrospectives suck." Cool. The team is your issue. Let's talk about you and what's happening for you, and what are the questions you have about what you might be doing that's impacting this? Or what you could do that might make a change? How are you seeing this? are you how are you judging your client to be competent? How are you judging them to be not competent? What's happening in the larger system that's causing you to worry about this? Is there something that says, "Well, if your team's not doing good retrospective, you're a bad Agile coach and you're fired, and that's why we're really here today." So it's not about fixing the client, the coach doesn't fix the client, the Supervisor doesn't fix the client. The client fixes the client, we're going to work on the coaching Supervision.Alex Kudinov   So interesting you said that, and we know that a lot of organizations expect Agile coaches to fix their clients, to fix their teams, right? So how do you pitch this to organizations so that they say, "Yes, that's what we want for our Agile coaches. That's what we want for our Agile coaching organizations"?Cherie Silas   Yeah, and so in all honesty, some of it I'm still trying to figure out because this has never been done in the Agile space, with the exception of Agile coaches, who are professional coaches, probably European side of the world, definitely not in the Americas. So, the word Supervision is really confusing as we started out this conversation. So I tend to say that it's a reflective practice. So it's joining, and sponsoring a reflective practice where your Agile coaches can come together, or meet with a practitioner of reflective practice and they can invest in how they can be more impactful and more powerful with their clients. So that they get a better return on investment in what they're doing with coaching. Part of that return on investment -- so I'd love to just give a quick example of where you see that return -- I had a client, a Supervision client, just a few weeks ago. We were working on something that was about how she was showing up with her clients and it was around the challenge versus support and things like that, I'm not going to go into any more detail than that. So we walked through some of the things that she left with how she was going to show up differently, what she was going to work on with the relationship contract, and how she was going to be with her clients. She called me about two weeks later and said she landed this big contract with this one client, like she was getting ready to be done with that client because it was falling apart, and so she went in, she shifted the way she was working with them, based on what she learned Supervision, and they renewed and gave her a bigger contract than she had before. Bam. Instant return on investment for the coach and the client saw return on investment from the way the coach was interacting with the client, which caused the client to be more successful.Alex Kudinov   Probably what's kind of said behind the scenes that all this learning actually came from her and your supervision was more helping her to reflect on her practices rather than rather than You tell them, "Are you crazy?! You're doing this thing, you shouldn't be doing this thing!"Cherie Silas   Right,Alex Kudinov   I presume that's not how your Supervision session went?Cherie Silas   No, it didn't and the only time I'm ever like, "Uhh...hold on" is when there's an ethical issue. "Hold on. Let's talk about this a little bit more here. I've got a concern" and then we'll talk about that. So what's really important when picking a Supervisor is number one, you do select a supervisor that's trained specifically in Supervision. My personal opinion, which may not be held by all Supervision practitioners, is that I want someone who is an experienced coach, preferably at a PCC or a higher level, or someone who's been practicing at an ACC level for at least a few years, that's solid in coaching. You don't want someone who just started who just came out of coaching school and now they're going to do Supervision. The reality is until you get in there and you got several hundred hours of experience on the ground coaching, you don't know what you know, right? So you want somebody with enough experience to be able to look over and say, "Hmm, that's interesting right there" and it comes out of their knowledge and their experience and their competency level because if you don't get in the sandbox with people who can, iron sharpens iron, you know, who can rub against you, and then you're all just rolling around in the sand together, you'll come out sandy, but you might not create glass.Alex Kudinov   So, knowledge is not enough and we know that in coaching, it's all about competencies rather than reading books and all that good stuff. So with that said, it's a little bit different than professional coaching world. I mean, you can be for all I know, a great coach without ever touching and kissing the ring to ICF or ever, hearing maybe about them. Different in Agile world, you will not get anywhere without certifications and all that good stuff. So let's talk a little bit about training and certification. What do you need to be a supervisor.Cherie Silas   So just like professional coaching, Supervision is an unregulated practice in the coaching world. This Supervision in the coaching world comes out of good clinical practice, oh, doctors and psychologists and all those people  all do supervision. So the training in Supervision is...there's a bunch of different ways that you can study, there's different schools that are out there, like anything else. EMCC, which is the European Mentoring, and Coaching Council, they are the people who are the main predominant body that certifies Supervision practitioners. So that's where I went to a course, I'm a certified Supervision practitioner, and much like ICF, you have to have competency, you have to show competency, you have to have time on the ground, and then you can apply for a credential from EMCC.Alex Kudinov   So pretty rigorous process, and more or less in line with what we see in the coaching world. Okay, so you are certified supervisor, and you do this with some of your clients. So what are the plans to bring this score kind of stateside?Cherie Silas   I am really excited about this. So one thing I've done is in our coaching programs at Tandem Coaching Academy, we've actually added Supervision into the mix as a required part of the courses. So all of the students who come through our program, they have group Supervision and individual Supervision, and they are taught how to how to utilize Supervision to their best capability. So that's one piece. The other piece that's really super exciting to me is later on this year, Tandem Coaching Academy is actually going to roll out a course in Supervision to help promote certified Supervision practitioners in the Agile space. As you know, our school, our main student body is the Agile space. Of course, we serve people outside of the Agile space too. So this course will be good for any professional coach and any Agile coach, we will have a parameter of the level of experience and expertise. So what I won't be doing is training people who don't know professional coaching to Supervise professional coaches, for maybe obvious reasons but what we will be doing is taking professional coaches who are in the Agile space, who want to learn how to how to hold the supervision groups and how they help other coaches to become stronger through the practice of Supervision. Getting them in there, teaching them the different theories, different practices, different ways of looking at things, a few different models of Supervision, and then equipping them to help to go in and disrupt a little bit of things in the Agile space of supervision. All right, so sounds like pretty pretty big plans going forward in 2021. So how do our listeners contact you if they are interested? Well, the best way is to go out on our website at https://tandemcoaching.academy and take a look at all the offerings out there. We've got professional coaching offerings, we've got Coaching Human Systems. So systemic and organizational coaching offerings. We've got supervision and mentor coachingofferings. So go out there and take a look and if you have questions, feel free to reach out to us at info@tcagile.com.Alex Kudinov   All right, well, thanks, Cherie for a lot of information. It was like a big brain dump about this new, and exciting, and shiny new thing called Supervision, which is coaching for coaches. It's like that meta view that very exciting and very glad that you got into that, and that you are working hard on bringing it to the United States and making it more common here. Well, thank you and this was Tandem Coaching Academy's Keeping Agile Nondenominational podcast and I'm your host, Alex Kudinov. Bye now.

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