Coaching in business derived from sports coaching; Sir John Whitmore’s book ‘Coaching for Performance’ became a handbook for generations and is still arguably the key starting point for all coaches at work.
However, in the last few years many trained counsellors turned to coaching to extend their repertoire and they were horrified to discover that business coaches were not required to be ‘in supervision’ as part of their professional practice.
Increasingly, external coaches are expected to have a supervisor. A good supervisor is not someone who chases you round with a clip-board, ‘supervising’ your actions. The word as we use it implies a ‘meta-perspective’: a high level overview. A coaching supervisor should ensure that coaches:
1. Have the skills and expertise they need to do a good job
2. Work ethically and in accordance with best practice
3. Continually strive to develop their knowledge and understanding even further
Even if you only intend to include the most basic coaching skills into your management practice, you will soon bump into issues that you hadn’t quite expected. How confidential is your work? Who needs to know what you have just discovered? Where do you turn if your coachee clearly needs support that you are not qualified to give?
All coaches, whether in organisations or working as external coaches, need to have a trained, expert supervisor to whom they can refer. Coaching supervision is sensible, helpful and effective and the sooner this neglected aspect of coaching is addressed, the better.