At CSA, we are delighted to see the current expansion of supervision and to notice how many leaders, mentors and HR personnel are attending our supervision programmes. The spacious and meticulous nature of supervisory conversation, truly meets the needs of professionals across the world, who want more ‘headspace’ and who value having someone to accompany them as they explore the complexities of contemporary working life.
Supervision is only one form of CPD, one way to keep ‘fit for purpose’ and to ensure development over what may be a long professional life. My bias – based on 15 years’ experience – leads me to believe that it is a very potent form of CPD. I sometimes liken it to having a Fitness and Conditioning Coach (one-to-one) as opposed to going to the gym, where you can taste many forms of fitness improvement. And indeed, coaches and leaders learn a lot from the varied development programmes out there. I do too.
However, the intensely focussed experience with the Fitness and Conditioning Coach (ie a supervisor) means that progress is accelerated, that nothing is missed or left out and that every aspect of ‘fitness for purpose’ is worked on. It also means that one is witnessed in depth – not a blink of an eye is missed out! I know this in the world of physical fitness because twice a week I take myself off to Sarah, who attends to every muscle group and every sinew in my body, helping me to create strength, balance and fitness. When I am in supervision, I get the same quality of attention; I have someone to see what I cannot see and who provokes detailed enquiry in me about my work.
I am interested to notice that the words ‘range’ and ‘depth’ come up often when our students across the world describe what they are discovering about supervision. Outdated fantasies about supervision dissolve easily in an environment where learning and development are key and where students enjoy having permission to work with supervisees across a wide range of professional themes, personal development topics and diverse client issues.
I also notice how often students are surprised by how much supervision explores the self – self as the key instrument of our work as coaches, leaders, mentors and supervisors. As we say at CSA: ‘Who you are is how you coach/supervise/lead/ talk……..’ Witnessing-ourselves-as-we-work and being able to get out of the way at the same time, makes possible the highest level of presence and ensures a rich, exploratory dialogue. One of my favourite authors points to this paradox; he says:
‘Unless you can get beyond yourself, you were never there’. Clive James
Edna Murdoch Director CSA May 2015
If you are interested in becoming a professional supervisor, do get in touch with us. Or, if you want to taste supervision for yourself, you can find one of our accredited CSA supervisors on the CSA site.