Supervision is the interaction that occurs when a mentor or coach brings their coaching or mentoring work experiences to a supervisor in order to be supported and to engage in reflective dialogue and collaborative learning for the development and benefit of the mentor or coach, their clients and their organisations.
European Mentoring and Coaching Council
Reflective Coaching Supervision
Supervision is a reflective practice whereby a practicing coach and a trained supervisor work together to reflect on the work the coach is doing with clients. The purpose is for the coach to understand better how they are “showing up” to their coaching sessions and how they might improve their impact. A certified supervision provider is not a mentor coach. That’s a different discipline. Nor is a supervisor in an authoritative role with the coach. In fact, the supervisor is considered a peer coach who has specialized training in the discipline of supervision.
Mentor coaching for professional coaches is focused on improving the competency level of learning and practicing coaches. It focuses on skills and understanding of the ICF Core Coaching Competencies. It’s all about the “how” of professional coaching. Supervision focuses on the “who” of the coach.
ICF’s Revised ICF Competency Model, which went into effect in January 2021, introduces the foundational competency #2 Embodies a Coaching Mindset into the mix. Several of the new markers of competence can be developed through the regular practice of Reflective Coach Supervision. These are: #2 Engages in ongoing learning and development as a coach, #3 Develops an ongoing reflective practice to enhance one’s coaching, #5 Uses awareness of self and one’s intuition to benefit clients, #7 Mentally and emotionally prepares for sessions, #8 Seeks help from outside sources when necessary
Coach supervision has been a regular practice for our European counterparts for some time and is now slowly making its way into the Americas. This updated focus in the new competency model does not require coach supervision explicitly but it does require that the coach develop some form of reflective practice. My experience has been that Supervision is vital to my own growth and healthy functioning as a coach. It helps me to be more thoughtful in how I show up. It allows me to reflect on what happened for me in a recent session with a client and determine how I might more forward differently in the future. It helps me to have a more impactful relationship with my clients. All these lead to more effective coaching engagements.
My hope is that this page will help you understand more about the impact that reflective supervision can make in your coaching practice. Learn more about individual and group supervision and how it can be a powerful tool to help you raise your game as a professional coach.