Coaching Supervision

Coaching Supervision

 
Play/Pause Episode
00:00 / 00:20:57
Rewind 30 Seconds
1X

Guest Bio

Jane Porter

head of coaching & coach accreditation, IECL
Jane is the head of coaching at IECL, a role that leads and advises on the strategy modelling and approaches for coaching development. She oversees IECL’s large scale coaching programs for public, private, and not for profit clients, and also leads the development and delivery of IECL’s, ICF accredited coach training pathways, and ongoing professional development. Jane is passionate about increasing the professionalism of the industry and its strategic impact on organizational life. Jane, brings a wealth of knowledge and vast experience as an ICF master coach, educator, supervisor, and mentor across the Asia Pacific region. Thank you so much for being with us today.

SHOW NOTES

Coaching supervision is about creating a reflective space for the coach to think about their practice as a coach, but also reflect on themselves. It is in the context of self-care, increasing awareness of themselves as coach, being able to look at what is working and what is not, what stays with them after a coaching session and why that thing is staying with them. Also, a space to think through ethical dilemmas, tricky situations, perhaps mental health considerations that show up in coaching. 

Transcript

 

Jane Porter:
Thank you for having me.

Renee Holder:
Okay, so we’re looking at supervision and there are a number of varying definitions of supervision for coaches. How do you define supervision in a coaching context? 

Jane Porter:
Primarily supervision is about creating a reflective space for the coach to think about their practice as a coach, but also reflect on themselves. So I think about it in the context of self care, increasing their awareness of themselves as coach, being able to look at what’s working and what’s not, perhaps what stays with them after a coaching session and why that thing is staying with them. And also a space to think through ethical dilemmas, tricky situations, perhaps mental health considerations that show up in coaching. 

So while the coach is busy working in service of the counterpart in the organization, who’s in service of the coach? And I’d say that’s the supervisor. 

Renee Holder:
And you insist that all IECL coaches undertake supervision. Why is this? 

Jane Porter:
Some of the reasons I think what I’ve just articulated there in that first question. As coaches, even if we’re part of an organization, when we’re out there in the world, in the practice of coaching, sitting in front of the counterpart, working with the organizations, there’s a large piece of self-regulation in that role and being present with what the counterpart and the organization needs and working to keep your own…not your own thinking, but your own content out of that space and that’s not easy. So there’s a quality assurance piece for us at IECL that I didn’t mention earlier around knowing that when a coach bumps up against any of those things we referred to, they have somewhere to go where they can put that thing down, they can have a look at it in a safe space with somebody who can help them explore what might be going on, what might have triggered that thing for them, what the learning in that might be for them, and how that then applies to them as a coach, a human being, and also to their practice so that they’re then also more resources to step back out into the industry, the counterpart, the organization and do their job well. 

Renee Holder:
And you run supervision groups yourself?

Jane Porter:
I do, yes.

Renee Holder:
What draws you to being a supervisor?

Jane Porter:
I have been a supervisor longer than I’ve been a coach. One of my previous lives before I joined the coaching industry and trained to be a coach was in the world of counselling, and counselling supervision certainly in the field that I was working in was mandated. So very early in my counselling career, I had a supervisor and fortunately a great supervisor. So my supervision experience very early on was very positive. The ability to sit with somebody to reflect on you, your practice was just gold. And in time as I grew in that industry, I became a supervisor of others. So interestingly though, when I joined the world of coaching, I didn’t get supervision. We’re 15 years on now since I joined the world of coaching and I don’t know why, but at the time I didn’t join the dots. 

You know, supervision was something that then in my head belonged in therapeutic practices. Now I was a coach, I didn’t need it. How wrong I was, because when I started to grow as a coach and develop as a coach and bump up against things that were difficult, challenging, that I couldn’t make sense of, I had nowhere to put them and would carry these things around, and it impacted me, it impacted my practice, it impacted my life more broadly. It impacted people I live with. So it’s really interesting reflecting back now that I didn’t connect the dots that I already had this thing and used to do this thing that could have helped me enormously. So when I started to hear the word supervision talked about in the coaching industry, I was immediately curious and also sold because I knew about its benefits from my counselling practice. And ever since I have been following that trail very avidly, getting qualifications in that space in terms of coaching supervision and developing myself as a coaching supervisor as well as a coach. And I have also been in coaching supervision ever since I had that realization, joined those dots, and woke up to myself. 

Renee Holder:
You also deliver IECL supervision training. So I’ve just heard you talk about having undertaken that professional development yourself, but you’re delivering some of that training for others. 

Jane Porter:
Absolutely. 

Renee Holder:
As they choose to become supervisors. So who do you see that supervision training best suited to? 

Jane Porter:
I’m going to make a broad statement, and coach who is serious about their practice, I would say, should be in supervision in terms of supervision training. So, if you want to train to be a supervisor, I would say make sure you’ve been in supervision for a good period yourself. So you appreciate it from a supervisee perspective. Also, a coach who is looking to extend their practice. So one of the things that training as a supervisor, as a coaching supervisor did for me is it helped me take my practice as coach further. It had me thinking in ways about coaching and exploring coaching in ways that I had not done in coach training. So, it broadened my view on reflective practice, the advantages of reflective practice and all the different types of reflective practices as well. So yeah, some people come to our training as supervisor or to become supervisors, some people come to stretch themselves as coaches. 

Renee Holder:
I’m keen to hear more from you about how you see supervision improving the quality of coaching. So, as you work with supervisees in your groups for instance, and you see them come back and over time they have undertaken more and more supervision. How do you say that impacts the quality of the work that they do in their coaching? Or for yourself? 

Jane Porter:
Well absolutely for myself. So, I might speak from that point of reference rather than speak on behalf of others, because when I come out of a supervision session, what has happened is either I have expanded awareness about something that is going on or I have been able to sense make of something that I couldn’t make sense of that was happening for me in a session or in a coaching relationship because not everything is isolated to the session. And with that, it allows me to re-center and reground in my practice, which I hope then means the next time I turn up and coach, the quality of my coaching is better. So, there is a quality of how I apply the craft that is tuned if you like. It is like kind of tuning an instrument. If I don’t stay tuned to who I am as a human being and what’s happening for me, then that is going to not only impact me, it’s going to impact the counterpart and the organization. So, it’s a way of staying honed and tuned. And sometimes, it’s so interesting. Sometimes I go into a session with my supervisor where I think, “I’ve got nothing to bring today,” but I go anyway because I’m a convert and there’s always something. So some of the things that get worked on in supervision are in my immediate awareness. I’m struggling with something and I take that in. Some of the things are not yet in my immediate awareness, they’re sitting more subconsciously and when the supervision process starts, the insights start to come on. Oh yes, no I wasn’t entirely comfortable, then was I? I think also supervision can be perceived to just focus on what’s perhaps not working as well as it might. I think there’s also a space in supervision for us to work on what’s working well. How do we understand what you did there and bottle that so you can do more of it? 

Renee Holder:
And I’d like to hear again from your personal experience around the different types of supervision, because I’m aware that there is one on one and it sounds like from your example then that there’s a one-on-one supervision that you’ve undertaken but also group. 

Jane Porter:
Absolutely.

Renee Holder:
And that you deliver both. So could you talk a little to the different types and potentially also to the modes? Because the supervision could be delivered face-to-face, it could be virtual, increasingly virtual. So could you talk a little to that, the different types of supervision? 

Jane Porter:
Absolutely. So let’s start with one-on-one. So with one-on-one supervision, there’s just you and the supervisor. So you’re bringing your thoughts, perhaps cases. Sometimes supervision will happen through the lens of a case where we experience what happened in the session or in the relationship in the past. We bring that into conversation around how are you experiencing that in the present? And then start to look at what you might want to do with that in the future. So in one-on-one supervision, the spotlight is on you the whole time. So you do get the opportunity, let’s say the session in an hour, to perhaps bring a couple of cases in that time to look at really thoroughly. And also what happens there is you have that one-on-one relationship with your supervisor. Over a series of sessions patterns develop. Rarely, even though the case may look completely different, rarely is the issue completely different, your own patterning shows up and you’re in dialogue with your supervisor around, oh, there’s that thing that I’m doing again. And a one on one relationship will reveal that perhaps more quickly I think than a group. So in the group space, what you get is up to six people working together, either in a face-to-face context or virtually across a platform like Zoom. I will say when working virtually, if you’re going to do virtual supervision, make sure the platform is a good one and make sure you’ve got some good bandwidth to be able to do the work. And what happens in group supervision is again, cases do get looked at, but the group dynamics and the group impact of the case can be really, really interesting to explore. So let’s say I bring a case of an ethical dilemma that I’m experiencing. Once I have had some supervision on that from the group and from the supervisor, it can be really interesting to pause and explore. What’s that bringing up for others in the group in terms of what they heard and what they’re experiencing? And it’s really fascinating systems and group dynamics at work that usually what’s happening for the individual being supervised connects to something for everybody in the group. So you get that richness of work across a number of people that I would say is missing in one-on-one supervision. I also think in the group space and network builds, so there’s a cohort and a collective community of practice that builds and I see in group supervision, once the supervision is done, sometimes time may be taken to discuss industry themes, trends, challenges. So there’s a collective and a community of practice there that builds, which can be really helpful and really supportive. 

Renee Holder:
It sounds like there’s some great benefits of both one-on-one and group. 

Jane Porter:
Yes. You know, I’m a convert and I would recommend both. 

Renee Holder:
So if time and budget were no issue.

Jane Porter:
Absolutely. In supervision utopia. 

Renee Holder:
And when a coach is looking for a supervisor, potentially it’s the first time they’re undertaking supervision, what are some tips that you might provide to them in order to find the right supervisor for them?

Jane Porter:
Yeah. Interview a couple. Have a conversation with a couple. Maybe see if you can get… If you’ve never had supervision before, maybe see if you can get a little bit of a taster session from somebody because it is, particularly the one-on-one, it’s a hot seat to sit in. I come out of my supervision sessions when I’ve been in the supervisee seat feeling like I’ve worked really hard, sometimes a bit of sweaty palms and the pressure’s on for you to really look at yourself and your practice in a useful way, and that can be confronting for some initially. I think for some, sometimes the group space is an easier entry into supervision because whilst the spotlight will be on you for some of the time, it’s not on you for all of the time so you get that opportunity to feel that tension coming on but then the tension coming off again. But I would be looking for a taster from somebody to say could we spend 10 minutes where you just start to show me what this is like? Because it’s very hard to I think translate some of the language we use around supervision and then understand what that actually means in practice. Even just the word, there’s a lot of association around the word supervisor in therapeutic practice, which we talked about. And you hear sometimes in therapeutic practice that people are just going to the supervisor or to get the ticks in the boxes they need to be able to renew their qualification and their status in the practice. So it doesn’t always get a good rep. And of course in organizational life we talk about the supervisor, who is the manager of a body of work. So I think the language we use around it is not necessarily helpful. I tend to think of it as separating the two words out. So it we had the word super and vision as separate words and we had the ability to develop a super vision of our practice, then I think it’s much more meaningful in terms of its intense, certainly in coaching, supervision. 

Renee Holder:
Super vision,  I like that. So what does the future hold for supervision? 

Jane Porter:
What does it hold or what would I like it to hold?

Renee Holder:
What would you like… Let’s go with what you’d like it to hold. 

Jane Porter:
I am bias and one eyed about this, as you have probably picked up as we are talking. I would love for every professional coach out there in the marketplace to be in some kind of supervision. I would also love for internal coaches that are being trained in organizations to coach internally to get way more supervision support than they do, because it’s a complex role. There’s a lot of internal coach training happening in our world at the moment and that’s great. Building internal coaching capacity I think is a wonderful thing, but the piece that’s missing for me is who’s taking care of those coaches and who’s helping them develop their practice and where’s quality assurance, and how does the organization best get return on investment for the money that they’ve spent on those people? Because being an internal coach is complex. You’re in the system, you’re caught in the dynamic, you’re wearing many hats. Rarely internally is the person just a coach. They’re often HR professionals, managers, leaders, and potentially a whole bunch of other things as well. So it I were to see the industry develop, that would be my wish is that we support the internal coaches with supervision now. 

Renee Holder:
Okay. Well, we’ll wrap up there. It’s been great to hear from you today about all things supervision. I’m now going to be thinking of super vision every time I hear that word. And it’s been great to hear your insights and just to hear your stories about what actually happens in that supervision space and what people can look for when seeking supervision or becoming a supervisor themselves. So really appreciate your time. Thank you so much for being our guest today. 

Jane Porter:
Thank you, Renee Holder. 

 

 

Pounéh Sedghi
[email protected]
No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.