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Getting the best out of coaching supervision

Last week, I was delighted to attend the 6th International Conference in Coaching Supervision at Oxford Brookes University. It is always lovely to connect with fellow practitioners and to engage in the energy and conversation of the day. A quick glance at the content of the conference told me that we were all in for a treat. Not only were there several presentations by Coaching Supervision Academy faculty – always guaranteed to be stimulating! – but the inviting topics ranged from, ‘What’s love got to do with it?’ to ‘Understanding the vulnerability of supervision’ to a superb session which focussed on the real experience of the supervisee.

This last topic really attracted my attention and Louise Sheppard led the session beautifully. Louise’s doctoral research focuses on what supervisees really think and feel about coaching supervision and on how they can get the very best out of it. Now, I am an old hand at supervision having been a supervisor since 1991! But it was great to be reminded what the supervision experience is like – especially for a new supervisee and to be made more aware of what supervisees might need, particularly at the beginning of the work with a new supervisor. So I was rightly challenged and I returned to my work more aware than usual, more ready to encourage both new and old supervisees to join more fully in the conversation about their learning.

There are so many ways in which a supervisee can be encouraged to participate in the supervisory conversation. And there are many questions the supervisee might need to ask of their supervisor.

Here are some that you might reflect on:

Tell me about your experience as a supervisor

How do you work with your supervisees?

What is a typical session like?

What do you see is the difference between coach-the-coach and supervision?

What is your professional and business background?

Where did you train as a supervisor?

What are the main influences in your work?

How can you help me to show up and tell the truth about my coaching without feeling ashamed if I have made a mess?

What can I present in supervision – is anything off-limits?

Do you take care of both professional and personal development?

Can I challenge you in this conversation?

How can I/you make sure that I say stay engaged in this learning journey with you?

How will you set up the contract with me?

How do we re-contract?

What’s your stance on Ethics and standards?

These and many other questions have been floating around my head since the conference. I wonder as you read, how you can go back to your own supervisor, refresh how you are in that conversation and ensure that you get the very best from this potentially powerful learning experience.

Edna Murdoch Director CSA   

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