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What is 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 who has specialized training in the discipline of supervision.
Supervision is different than Mentor Coaching
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 application of ICF Core Coaching Competencies. It’s all about the “how” of professional coaching.
Supervision focuses on the “who” of the coach. It focuses on the effectiveness of practicing coaches. In Supervision, you will work with your supervisor to reflect on the interactions you are having with your clients to help you understand and develop more effective ways of listening, responding, and relating to your client. You might also discuss challenges you are having with clients or concerns regarding ethical questions. Supervision is a confidential space where coaches can go to debrief client sessions and get perspective from another experienced coach without breaking client confidentiality. In group supervision you will also work with a group of peers and get additional perspective and learning both from your client cases and from theirs.
What does ICF say about Supervision?
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 move 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.
How Supervision is tied to Team Coaching and the ICF Advanced Certification in Team Coaching [ACTC]
ICF Credentials and Standards has developed the ICF Team Coaching Competencies model. This model sets the standard for team coaching practice and serves as the foundation for the ICF Advanced Certification in Team Coaching (ACTC). One of the requirements to be eligible to apply and renew the ACTC requires team coaches to complete at least five (5) hours of coaching supervision with an eligible Coaching Supervisor or ICF Mentor Coach with 60 hour of supervision training and 120 hour of coaching supervision experience.