Have you ever felt stuck working with a coaching client? They don’t seem to be moving forward or maybe you’re just not quite sure you are providing the value they need from a coach? Have you ever felt triggered when listening to a client talk and wanted to jump in and tell them what to do? Has that trigger ever made you want to take sides with your client and agree that the people they are dealing with are jerks and they should be frustrated? Has your client ever reminded you of someone that you’ve had a negative encounter with and now you just dread working with them? Have you ever hoped the phone didn’t ring when it was time for your coaching session or that the client didn’t show up on the zoom call?

If any of these situations describe something you’ve experienced with a coaching client, you are not alone! These reasons and many more are examples of cases that coaches can bring to a reflective supervision session to work through them and gain clarity on what’s happening so they can figure out how to best move forward to be the most effective coach they can be for their clients.

Reflective Supervision is a practice joining together in a neutral space with another professional to look at how you are being in your coaching practice with clients. It’s a non-judgmental space for coaches to reflect on what’s happening to and for them in their work with clients. The process of retrospection on the work you are doing with a specific client case can help you discover more about yourself as a coach and how to better serve your clients. Reflective Supervision gives you the opportunity to take a step back and look at your client, your interventions with the client, your relationship with your client, your thoughts and behaviors working with this client, and also they system you and the client are in together.

Cherie Silas, MCC and Enterprise Coach explains how working with a reflective coach supervision practitioner can improve your coaching practice.  She covers

  • The process of reflective supervision
  • The concepts of individual and group supervision
  • The value that reflective supervision brings to making you a more competent and skillful coach for your clients.

If you would like to listen to the meetup recording you can signup for the soundcast here, or listen to the podcast here.  

Meetup Presentation Materials

Cherie Silas - Reflective Supervision - Powerful Tool for Agile Coaches
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Cherie  You all were muted upon entry but feel free to unmute and ask a question if you have one and I will also try to pause a bit and get some interaction from you. I would love to have interaction during this talk so that you’re not just listening to me and I’m talking at you; that can get pretty boring for both of us. So, let’s jump in Reflective Supervision and Reflective Supervision is about bringing more of more awareness to who you are as a coach into the work that you do with your coaching clients. And so I think it’s really, really important to start this talk off by saying what Reflective Supervision isn’t. I usually don’t start in the, kind of, negative space, but I think it’s really important for this one, because when you hear the word Supervision, you might get a picture in your mind. So I I’d like to hear, throw either in chat or maybe turn on your mic, and give me the one or two words that pop into your mind when you hear ‘supervision’. And since most of you haven’t seen Supervision, this is going to be a really, really great experience don’t understand.

So, observation, guidance, listening, part of your training, support; great. Command and control, mentoring, and technical support or personal support. All right. Awesome. So y’all keep on throwing those in there and feel free to keep the chat open so you can read it. And I want to tell you a couple of things. It’s important to understand supervision is not.

Number one, it’s not me as your boss grading you on your coaching. So when you think- when the-when most people hear supervision or supervisor, the first thing they think is of a hierarchical position where you’re the supervisor, I’m the supervisee; kind of like you have in the workplace, right? You’re my boss, I’m under you, you’re higher on the food chain than me, you can actually determine my fate, you probably determined my raise, you judge and tell me whether or not I’m a good coach…none of that is true with Reflective Supervision. So the word supervision in this case doesn’t actually mean to supervise like to stand over someone and look down and make sure they’re doing things correctly. What supervised, in this case, means, and the reason I have the little dash between, it’s really about super-vision. It’s about like meta vision. So it’s coming up higher, looking down at yourself and the work you’re doing from a bigger space and getting a wider view. So, creating a super-sized view of the work you’re doing and in order to do that you need to step outside of what you’re doing in order to look down upon it. And…so that’s the word ‘Supervision’ and ‘Reflective’ is about you actually thinking about what you’re doing and reflecting on it and about how it’s effective and how it’s not effective. And there’s this really big aspect that is important about Supervision and it’s about reflecting on who you are; not on your clients problem but on how you showed up in that coaching and what you were experiencing as a part of that coaching session so that you can learn about yourself and then go back and better serve your clients.

So some of you mentioned that mentoring sounds, like, ‘Supervision’ brings a thought of mentoring and so it can be really confusing because in coaching…um…like in-when you go and learn professional coaching-there’s professional coach training, and so you have a trainer, and then there’s also professional coach mentoring. So you might work with a mentor coach. What a mentor coach does is way different than what a supervisor does. A mentor coach works with you and helps you grow your competency in coaching. So it’s about the ICF Core Coaching Competencies, and are you actually performing those competencies; have you actually gain the competency in your coaching?

And then, ‘Supervision’ is about how you show up in your coaching. So where mentor coaching, there is is a corrective aspect and a um…a growth aspect. In Supervision, you’re actually peers. Mentor is higher in rank than you; they’ve been where you are. They’re, um…telling you how to fix and do things differently and what you’re doing well, Supervisor is a peer. So you’re in a peer space with someone who is just as good as you are, that respects you as a peer, and y’all are working together to see what you can uncover and discover together; much like you would in a coach-client relationship. And so-but-for those of you who are coaches, you know that coach-client, they’re not like “coaches up here” *gestures* and “clients down here” *gestures*, they’re coaching-client or peers and they respect each other and honor each other as peers and the power is in the relationship, not in the hierarchy.

So what is the purpose of Reflective Supervision? Well, it’s to focus on how you’re bei-oops, I hit the button on acciden-it’s focus on how you’re being and what you can learn about yourself, and it’s a non judgmental space. So as-um-if I am a Reflective Supervision practitioner, I am not here to judge you. I am here to be in partnership with you so we can learn together and what’s really cool about Supervision, that’s different than coaching, is that, when you and I engage in Supervision, it’s okay for me to learn in that session. You’re going to learn things about yourself and discover things about yourself and I’m also going to learn and discover things about myself. Just listening to your process and hearing some of the decisions and some of the reflections you had and being a partner with you in that. And so when you’re a coach, you leave yourself out of it, right? I’ve-it’s not my-it’s not for me to bring myself in and tell you what I’m learning and how I’m growing but in supervision, you may actually hear that, because it’s a peer relationship; it’s not a hierarchy. So…*clears throat*…let’s get a little bit deeper into what this might look like. So, the process that we’re reflecting on is to help you discover more about yourself, discover more about your clients, and how you can better serve them and, so, here’s some of the areas that you might focus on. You might focus on-you’ll-you’ll spend some time focusing on your client. Who’s your client, what’s up for them, what’s happening? You’ll focus on the interventions you made with the client and interventions are really just the interactions you’ve had with them. The questions you’ve asked, the opinions you’ve shared, what you-you know-how you set up the contract; things like that.

You’ll also look at your relationship with the client. How are things going between you and your client? How are you being together? We’ll look at you as an individual; you’re the coach. What was going on for you when you were working with that client? What was happening internally? What were your assumptions? What were your thoughts? What were your fears? What were your struggles? And what’s going on for you right now as we reflect on this? And then you’ll also look at larger system impacts. So many of you are coaching in organizations and you know, when you’re coaching in organizations, there is a lot of system all around there and that wider system has big impacts on the work your coach doe-your client does. But that larger system also has some impacts on the work you do and what you’re experiencing with your client. So, we-you take a look at that larger system, in fact, which might be the company…but because the supervisor is also up here and brings himself in, it may be part of your own system. It may be my thoughts on my culture and my way of doing things. Or maybe it’s like ICF or Scrum Alliance, as a larger system actually impacts the work we’re doing in this space. So as you can see, it’s a lot…it’s a bigger space than the coaching space and it may… seem a lot like coaching someone on their coaching. Or, as a supervisee, it may feel a lot like being coached on the coaching you did.

So I want to stop here and just get your-get your thoughts before we jump into like going down a little bit deeper into the process. Who’s got some thoughts or opinions you want to share? Manohar?

Manohar  Yeah, yeah. When you are explaining this initially that I felt like I was, “How is this-is-this is different from professional coaching” but even during professional coaching…your relationship with the client and how you interact with the client, it’s all part of coaching agreement. That’s where-that’s what’s going in my mind, how this is different, but you clarified it.

Cherie Oh, good. I’m glad I clarified it. Awesome. Anything else; any other thoughts? All right, and I’m going to jump into the next slide. If you have a thought and make sure you let us know and so when we’re looking at Supervision, here’s some of the areas we’re looking at. You’ll-you’ll look at your-yourself a lot as a practitioner. “How am I being as a coach?” You’ll also look a bit at your client and the case that you’re bringing for Supervision, the experience that you actually had with that client, and you’ll look at the systems and relationships, right? So it’s kind of a three fold piece that you’ll be bringing in, when you come as a su-as a um-when you come for Supervision. And so this picture I love, it actually came out of a book that I read on Reflective Supervision and I thought it gave a great format for us to be able to talk about, well, what are we actually doing in Supervision? So when we’re looking at what we’re doing in Supervision, it could be multiple things and so this, this is part of the reason-another reason-why it’s way different than coaching.

So, there’s this-in the bottom right hand corner, there’s this respec-reflective place and you’ll see that’s a really big square because that’s where you’re spending most of your time. And um, then in the le-and that’s considered like the observatory room-it’s just-just like rooms in a house; the name of the room doesn’t make much difference, it’s really what you do in there-and if we look over to the left bottom, it’s the second largest space, and this is a restorative space. So the difference between reflective space and restorative space is reflective space, I’m reflecting on the work I’m doing and who I am as a coach. Restorative space could be more about, me, maybe, bringing things in that- celebrations and things I’ve done that were really great, or maybe you are experiencing, like, “I just feel really beat up.” That’s kind of the place that-that could be a place that you’re in. So it helps to restore you and to help motivate you to move up to be able to just jump back in and keep doing what you’re doing. The next space that you’ll often find is the Studio, which is the active space, and in this space you’re actually solving together. Maybe you’re trying to figure out, “What are-what do I need to do with the client? What do I need to do differently? What do I need to understand about what’s happening for them so that I can be more effective?” This space happens but it’s less often the respec-reflective place. And then the other three at the top, they don’t happen as often; they really only happen by necessity or by request. So this evaluative space is a space where I may-you may ask me as a supervision provider to step into a…um, a…kind of an expertise space for a few minutes and give you some feedback on, “This is what I see.”

This comes into place often, like when there are…like, really just questions of, “I don’t know if I handled that correctly; I’m afraid I stepped outside of coaching” and so if I’ve got the expertise to help you with that, then I can step into that space and give you my perspectives. Which of course is way different than regular coaching because regular coaching, I wouldn’t be bringing my expertise to you.

Directive space could come into play when…the client- when the-the person in Supervision, the coach – is stepping into a gray area, and they don’t see it. This often comes up with ethical issues or potential ethical issues that you’re kind of like right along the line there and I am a bit concerned and I want to make sure. So a great example of this could be…um…you’ve got a client who is, you know, they’ve got some of the same experiences you’ve got, and you are getting kind of sucked into their story. Maybe they are in a space where, you know, maybe they’ve lost a loved one and they’re experiencing grief, and you recently lost a loved one and you’re experiencing grief, and maybe some of the conversation you’re bringing to me is about how you’re starting to share your own challenges with them and y’all’re having like, a side-not a coaching conversation anymore-then there might be a space there to say, “Hey, let’s look at this.” I’ve also had this come up when someone said, “I really think that person needed counseling, not coaching, but I didn’t know what to do.” Or they didn’t…they-they didn’t say anything. Um, so then I might take a directive role and say, “Okay, let’s…let’s actually look at this. What’s proper; what is ethical?”

So, like I said, it’s usually just by necessity or by request. And passive space, what passive space is, is you as the coach, the supervisee, you’re sitting in a passive space and I’m teaching you something as the supervisor that you don’t already know. This is one of those spaces…you shouldn’t jump into tons of times, and it should be small, short, “Let me give you the-y-there’s this-there’s a piece of information missing that you don’t know about and you’ve asked me to fill it so I’m going to fill it really quickly, and then we’ll jump back into the reflective space or one of the other spaces.” I’ll go a little bit deeper into these in just a minute. But I’d like to get your kind of thoughts about, how does, just from the surface here, how does this look similar or different from coaching? And some of you have experienced Supervision because I’ve actually supervised with a few of you already. So if you have anything to share here about…like, the way it-what it’s like to be supervised; what it’s like to experience that process of Supervision. I’d love Here’s some thoughts from you that you can share with others as a participant.

Oh, Sherman. Hey, Sherman!

Sherman  Hey, Cherie, how are you?

Cherie Good

Sherman  Yeah,  I’ll share an experience. Now kind of in my early, early coaching days, probably about eight years ago, I was a PMO Director. Yes, I was a PMO Director. Anyway, as a PMO Director, I had people who directly report it to me; so I was their supervisor. But one thing I did even before I really knew a lot about Agile Coaching was when I was having relationships with my staff, we would go for a walk to do one-on-one; kind of the reflective space. Get out, create that safe space, and what I found was kind of an, uh, an amazing experience where my employees, my staff, really opened up to me. I just gave them a comfortable space where they can share what was on their mind and I heard things that I was not expecting to hear I thought it would be more business and specific but they really started to get into their…their personal, you know, their…where they’re stressed, where they’re not, what’s impacting them, and it was kind of a…an awakening moment and really, pretty cool. So I thought I’d share that.

Cherie Awesome. Thank you. Anybody else you’ve maybe done some Supervision you – some of you said you had experienced Supervision before – and so, like, with a trained professional supervisor, who’s been trained in this art just like a professional coach has been trained.

Elena, Elena,

Elena  I can speak up. I do have experience with Supervision with Cherie, a couple of times, and with other coaches, like ICF mentors. What I found extremely helpful for myself, and I’m Agile Coach, It’s slowly brings like, hidden side of me. Like, it’s not definitely about my clients; it’s not about situations. It’s all about hidden side of myself, which I’m how I’m showing up in this coaching engagement. And I had, like blast experience with Cherie, when she really helped me to change. I would say she catalyzed changes as me is who-how I show-showing up in the coaching engagement. It’s been like crucial. It’s not, I would say it’s beyond the feedback. It’s not just feedback. It’s like…how… reflection was very, very careful. I didn’t say mentoring, because I still look at Cherie as a mentor, even in the Supervision sessions, but this reflection, which is pointed on the side of me, which I would never ever guess, and I had a lot of feedback for my coaching, but neither one of the feedbacks provided show this of me, but this is how a reflection and for the Supervision helped me. It’s…it’s really invaluable experience like absolutely.

Cherie Thanks, Elena. Yeah, that points out a lot like the difference between mentoring and Supervision. Mentoring was about how you’re coaching, where the Supervision allowed you to reflect on who you were being so really, really great point and yeah, I think I saw you getting ready to speak.

Yes, you did. I just started recently in my first official coaching position and was in talks with Cherie about supervision and I think the-the biggest thing, that I thought, that’s come out of this interaction with her is, I thought of it as a self-requested audit, if you will, unlike, you know, with the IRS, we don’t want to be audited. We, you talked about me as a-as a coach and…and my approach to it and I think the biggest thing that I’ve come away with is a kind of like a brand or business and I’m providing a service. And I’m starting to think more about how I want that to be, how I want to interact it, how I want to be noticed or known for my services that I provide and having conversations with her has given me a little bit more insight into what I want to do, things that I don’t want to do, how I want to show up with my clients, having deeper conversations of how I want them to show up when we have our interactions, and I’m also stepping back a little bit more and looking at the big-bigger picture and…how I can play a larger part than I normally do as part of my coaching practice. And then, you know, having that space to talk with her about that rest of her space where we’re kind of talking about successes and then some of the anxieties and some of the different struggles that you’re having with working so having that ability to have that Supervision oversight. To even just identify those things and know that they’re things that you should talk about, things you should be aware of, and things that you should discuss, has been really helpful with helping me go through my first experience as an Agile Coach.

Awesome, thank you for that and so one thing I want to say about why I’m doing this Supervision and bringing it into the Agile space is because we do have a lot of people in the Agile space who are-who are coaches. They’re Scrum Masters, or Team Coaches, or they’re Organizational Coaches, and many people don’t have the training and professional coaching that they really need to be able to do that; or do it in a way that’s not consulting. And so one-and-and…also, when you do have professional coach training, sometimes you’re actually in there and you’re doing a whole lot of consulting and telling everybody what to do and solving their problems. So, you have the training but you’re not doing things through a coach’s approach and Supervision can help you start to see, “Oh, I was being a consultant” not “I was doing, I was not doing consulting”, but “I was being, I was thinking, more like a consultant than a coach. And so what I really believe is that even for people who have no clue what coaching is, but they’re Agile coaches, or I should say, has no clue what professional coaching is, I don’t want to insult anybody, I think that they will find that this, kind of, ‘coaching on their coaching’ will open their eyes to, “Oh, maybe I actually need this skill”, and they’ll start to, to go and figure out ways to develop this skill because guaranteed it will make you a better-a better Agile Coach if you know professional coaching. After all, it’s…it’s coaching *chuckles*

Alright, so I’m gonna go ahead and share again. Thank you so much for those of you who shared we’ll have another opportunity in just a second to, um, to share some more. And so I want to dig a little bit deeper into each one of these spaces, just to kind of give you the overview. So the observatory, so that’s this, the observatory is the risk-discovery space, right? This is the one that was reflective…um…and so this is the primary space that you’re in, when you’re in Supervision. So, when I’m working with people in a Supervision capacity, I’m partnering them to take a super high view of their work, primarily, we’re in this space, and I’m going to say 60-70% of the time we’re in this space. It’s where you want to mostly be. And so when I’m in this space, the primary goal for us in this space is to create new awareness for you as the coach about how you’re being with your clients. Just like coaching, the whole purpose of coaching is to create new awareness for our clients and how they’re approaching their world. So that piece is very much the same. And so the role of the supervisor is to be appear and to support your reflection on your work and your process. Your role as the practitioner is to actually be the explorer and to reflect on what you’re doing. This is just like what coaching is, right? So I’m helping you discover more by you reflecting on your work with your clients. Where coaching is, I’m helping you learn more about who you are as a, as a-as an individual; it may have nothing to do with your actual career.

Cherie Silas, Host 

So the next-when we’re in this space, these are some of the lenses you’re going to look through, and this is, um…comes from the Peter Hawkins Seven-Eyed Model of Supervision that can also be used as a coaching tool. So, a place that you can use to coach, especially in organizations, this Seven-Eyed model works great for coaching. So there’s this space of the client, the coach client relationship and the coach interventions and those are kind of focused like on one side of the spectrum. I kind of look at it as, you know, the coach’s internal process. So who you are as a coach is kind of in the middle here and on one side, we’re going to look at you with your client, and then on the other side, we’re going to look at you…um so if I’m the supervisor, I’m-this is where I’m bringing me in. So what’s happening for me and our conversation in that middle speed place. It’s what’s happening for you, the coach, in our interaction, as we talk about your client and then we’re also going to look at, “Well, what’s happening between you and I, in our session, that might be reflective of what’s actually happening between you and your client?”

So for example, you may be bringing a case to Supervision to discuss, and you’re talking about, “I just kept getting sucked into telling my client what to do. I kept getting sucked in. I kept just moving into mentoring or consulting. They were doing things, and I was just like…making suggestions, and I couldn’t stop” and-because that happens, right? And so, in our session as a supervisor, I might be also noticing that I-as I hear you talk about that, I’m wanting to give you advice, and so I’m having this struggle. So I might bring up the fact that you know, I’m noticing that, “I really want to give you advice right now and I’m curious how that might be similar to what’s happening with your client.” It’s- so then I’m bringing what’s happening between you and I right now, to create a wider lens, a more Super-view, for you to look through and see, “Well, what’s happening for us is also parallel with what’s happening with you and your client” and that might have some more information for you and then we’ll also look at the larger system. So what’s happening around you in the client? What’s happening in the client’s world and what’s happening in your own world? That might also be impacting how you show up and how you work with your client. So just one of the pieces or ways that you might look at yourself-at yourself in Supervision. So, and this is often mostly in that reflective space. Some of this may happen-this may happen in all the other spaces- but this will definitely happen when you’re in the resp-reflective space.

So the next space that we talked about is that sitting room, that-this-that restorative place. This is also a primary space for Supervision. So, um, when you’re when you’re preparing to experience Supervision, you want to be thinking, “I want to be in a discovery space”; so that reflective space, “I also want to be maybe in a restorative space where I get to look at some of my celebrations and some of the things I did right.” You don’t always have to bring a client case that’s, “Here’s all the things that were terrible.” Sometimes you want to bring a client case that’s, “I did this and it was great. It was a great session, and I’d really like to debrief it and learn more about how it was a great session because then I will know how to bring this into the rest of my coaching world.” So your primary goal here is to debrief and to celebrate. My role as a supervisor is as a colleague, and I’m going to debrief that with you and celebrate your success. with you because you did an awesome job and you deserve to be acknowledged for that and I want to make sure that I’m-that you actually hear what I’m seeing in you. And your role as a practitioner is to debrief and to celebrate; to see, like, what happened there that made it so awesome, ‘how was I being’, and to really celebrate the fact that you did a great job and you really helped your client.

So some of these, I call this active space – remember, this is the space where we’re solving what you’re going to do; we’re kind of getting there and solving problems – I refer to this more as a secondary space. If you’re in supervision, and we’re always talking about how you’re going to go change and fix what’s happening in your client’s world, um…it’s okay to do that and I think you’re missing out on something that can be much more powerful. And so if I think of this in, kind of like in parallel to coaching, it’s the difference between ‘coaching the problem’ and ‘coaching the person.’ So in coaching, I can focus on your problem, and we can solve that, and come up with action items, but you may not really learn a whole lot, and your mindset may not change because you won’t have gotten new awareness. You just solved the problem; so I gave you a fish, and we’re done. Where-what we want to focus on in coaching is the person because if we can create awareness and the person they will be able to solve this problem and future problems. Same thing with Supervision; if we’re only focusing on the problem, you can solve this problem but you won’t really have enough information to make a permanent change because you haven’t really addressed your thinking and what’s happening for you that’s motivating you in this one little space. So I would want to not just stay in an active space in our Supervision, I would want to be there a little while, but let’s also move over into the reflective space or into the restorative space so that you can actually gain some awareness and now you’re going to make a permanent mindset shift so that you can have a permanent change on the way you’re coaching.

And then, the three spaces that are by request only, or by necessity only. So this lecture space, so by request, when we’re in a supervision session, you might say, “You know what, I just-I don’t-I don’t kno-I don’t know what’s…I don’t know how to do this. I need you to actually teach me this little piece so I can know how to move forward.” And so we might, by request, we might step into that and I’ll do a little bit of teaching, probably not more than two or three minutes, because you’ve got enough inside of yourself to know where to take it from there, you just need to be provoked. So for an Agile Coach, this is a lot of the work you’re doing. Your work-like in your regular coaching-you’re working with your client and you notice, like, “There’s a gap. You don’t know this thing about Agile so you can’t actually make the right decision or do something so I’m going to teach you, then I’m going to step back into the coach spot.” Same thing if we’re in Supervision together, remember I’m a peer-so I’m not here to teach you; I’m not here to mentor you-and I’m a peer who just happens to…maybe know different things than you do. So if you-if I know something you don’t know, you might ask me, and I’ll say, “Okay, I’ll give you a little bit of information”, or “I’ll tell you what I have done in that situation”, or “What could be a way to handle this?” So I’ll step into that advisor role but then I want us to go back to the reflective space, or the celebratory space. I don’t want to stay here; you can take a training class or sign up for mentoring if you need that. In supervision, we want to focus on you. So your role as we step into that spot is to learn and to listen. And my role is to provide some information and some advice.

Then we’ve got these last two spaces, the exam room. So, this is again as requested by the coach, or if found urgent by the supervisor; because as a supervisor, I do have some…some um…I guess, accountability or responsibility to make sure that I’m protecting the profession of coaching also. So there may be things that come up when I’m like, “Oh, let’s-let’s look at that.” So the primary goal in this evaluative space is for you to-to-let’s look at your current performance and I will say, “Yes, I think you did that right” or “Actually, I-I don’t think that your understanding how to do coaching.” So could be by request, sometimes could be by, by prompt of the situation; mostly by request. So my role in that, if we’re working in that space, or if we step momentarily into that space, is to give you a feedback on your actual coaching, much like a mentor coach would do, right? I’m not going to grade your recordings. This is, “You’ve told me this, and I’m going to reflect back on what you told me” Um…and it’s going to be brief. Your role is to be open to feedback. So if you want me to give you my opinion on how you did on what you did, then you actually have to allow me to move into a different role and you accept that opinion. That doesn’t mean you have to say, “Okay, I’m gonna go be obedient and do what you said.” What it means is you have to be open to hear a different perspective and the concerns that I might have, or be open to the fact that, yeah, you did an awesome job quit beating yourself up.

And then this last one here is the directive space. I think this is required by circumstance in most cases, because you often won’t, even-if we need to step into this space, you probably won’t even know that we need to step in there and so I’m going to call a halt and say, “We need to step into this space for just a minute.”-and so the primary goal here is to safeguard the public and to comply with requirements like ICF requirements. Maybe you tell me something about the work you’re doing with your client and their boss came to you and they were wanted to know about what you discussed in your one-on-one coaching session. So you felt obligated because their boss is actually paying your bill to share what y’all discussed in your coaching session? If I hear you say that, I’m probably going to say, “Uhh…can we take a pause…wait for just a minute. Let’s talk about the code of ethics” and so I’m going to pull you into that space and say, “Okay, this is the danger you’re in; you can’t do that” or whatever. Like, of course, it’s up to you what you actually do but I have an obligation to step into that space for a moment and say, “This is what I see and this is why I think it’s dangerous and I think we need to discuss it for a bit.” And so my role there is to…to give directions, provide warning, and your role is to actually listen and-and receive that correction for-might feel like a… not a… good word but if I’m working as your supervisor, we should have a relationship where if I offer correction, you’re open to receive it. And like anything else, you’re also free to do what you want to do once we’re done. I am not your dictator of your life, right?

All right. So I want to take a second here. We talked through this quite a bit and so I want to get some more thoughts, some more feedback. I know we have at least one person in on the call today who is actually a Supervision provider also. So if any of you if you’re a trained supervisor, you’re welcome to give some thoughts that maybe I haven’t given here. And then I’d also like to know if anybody has any questions that you’d like to bring up or comments.

Alex Kudinov  So I’m curious, you know, how in Agile Coaching, we are talking about the meta scale, if we’re looking at the ACI model, and the Agile Coach has to be comfortable moving really smoothly from coaching to facilitation to training to mentoring; I’m curious if for supervisor, the spaces are something similar, and a highly proficient supervisor would use this kind of meta skill of identifying what the client needs more. What do you call that, supervisee?

Cherie Supervisee, or I just call them coach. I’m in the supervisor role-or I’m a Supervision provider, they’re the coach, and then there’s the client. It gets a little confusing.

Alex Kudinov  Right. So I’m wondering if that’s pretty much kind of a similar meta skill a supervisor would bring to the session?

Cherie I really love that and I think for those of us who are Agile Coaches on the call, that probably resonates really well. Like, I need to know when to step into a consulting space, or a teaching space, or mentoring space. And so yes, I would agree, Alex, that’s a really great call-out that I hadn’t kind of connected before. It is a matter of that dance of, “Which space do we need to be in?” And probably a little bit unlike Agile coaching, where, in Agile coaching, you’re probably making the decision about, “Do I need this or this” as you’re shifting spaces. In this space, we really want to be in partnership so that we’re going together into that space and into agreement. Anybody else?

I was going in my line of thought, kind of like where Alex was going, I was thinking about other frameworks and how or usually thinking about that shift I was connecting that with what you were saying at the beginning, Cherie, of similarities with coaching. And I do see the idea of partnership, very strong, right? We’re partnering through this idea of creating awareness, and I see something very similar there, and I hadn’t seen Supervision here. I’ve heard about Supervision in professional coaching but I hadn’t seen it implemented in Agile coaching. I find that incredible powerful, and I believe that we’ve been doing it kind of like on the shades like unofficially, and I see a lot of potential there bringing me to something more formal and training ourselves for that. So I was wondering, yeah, what is what is that-that would be like an ideal development path for developing that skill?

So, I think to develop the skill of Supervision, I’ll give you my personal opinions – and this might be different than than other people’s so you’re welcome to get some other opinions – my opinion is that: Before you step in being a supervisor, or taking Supervision training, my opinion is that you should be at least a PCC coach. You could be an ACC and that’s an ICF accredited, Associate Certified Coach or Professional Certified Coach, you could be an ACC and do Supervision. I personally would not go to a supervisor who’s an ACC, only because I don’t think they’ve had enough experience and enough expertise to be able to really step into some of these other spaces. They could step into the reflective space, fine. That’s, that’s a lot like coaching, but to have the exp-the background of being able to step into the director space or the corrective space, um…they need to-they need to actually have a higher level of skill for that.

So my first recommendation would be learn coaching, if you haven’t already. Get professional coaching training, if you haven’t already, and get certified or credentialed as a coach. And the diff-credentialed as a coach means there’s a test of your experience and your expertise, your ability, that your competency as a coach – so it’s different than just, “I’ve had training as a coach.” Many training programs, you go to the program, you learn a lot of stuff, but you don’t actually learn to become competent in using those skills. This the accredit-the credentialing tells me you’ve become competent. So I would first do that and then if you’ve been practicing as a professional coach, for some in your your, at least 500 hours to be a PCC, then I think the next thing to do would be take some training and supervision. There are a few programs in Supervision that you can join. I…I will probably be creating a program in another year or so. I want to, I want to let things kind of settle and start introducing Supervision to this space before I even start thinking about teaching it. But, you know, in another year or so I’ll probably roll out a program to start teaching Supervision from an Agile perspective but there are other programs that you could join. So hope that was helpful. Anybody else? All right. I’m going to jump into the last couple of slides here because I think you’ll…um…you’ll see some more things you like.

So what is not Supervision and not a space that you ever want to be in in Supervision is, number one, the managerial space. That’s the “I am your supervisor and I rank above you and you will listen to me or you will suffer some consequence.” So, Supervision is not like your supervisor, your boss; it is a peer relationship. And so this is not – we want to make sure that we’re really clear – when I’m in-when I’m getting Supervision, I’m not going to someone who outranks me and they can…they can rule me. And I want to make sure that we understand that that is not what Supervision is at all. So if you are someone supervisor at work, you’re their boss, that does not make you qualified to provide Supervision to a professional coach or to an Agile Coach. Then, we’re also not in the avoidance space. We’re not hiding out under the cellar saying, you know, just coming in and like, “Hey, we’re just chatting, we’re just colleagues, we’re peers but we’re not actually engaging in reflection.” That’s more of just a, let’s go have coffee together. That’s a that’s a friends over dinner. That’s not Supervision.

So…just want to-those are the two spaces, two of the things that really say, “This is not what Supervision is.” And then, so a couple of things just really quick about, “Well, how do I prepare to actually go into a Supervision session?” Much like when you prepare to go into a coaching session, you come into a coaching session thinking about, “What are the goals I have for this time we’re going to talk, how am I going to measure that, and what’s the importance of this; why am I actually bringing this coaching topic today?” For Supervision, it’s the same thing; you need to prepare ahead of time. First thing to really understand about Supervision is confidentiality still holds. So, um, your client remains confidential and so this could provide some challenges for those of you who may be thinking right now, “Well, I’m an Agile Coach, and there’s other Agile Coaches, and I’m in the organization, and I might start supervising others.” It’s going to be really hard for a client to remain confidential if you know what four teams I’m coaching and I’m bringing a case; it’s going to be pretty easy for you to figure out who this client is. That is not confidentiality. So you want to engage in Supervision with someone outside of your realm, so that that client remains confidential. You may come in and just…not use a name. I often because I work with coaches all over the world. I’ll often say my client from Greece, my client from you know, the UK, and then so it’s just a way that I have to bring that into my-when I do-when I go into have a Supervision session, I bring a client and I just refer to them by location because that’s what’s easy for me.

So client remains confidential. What I also do is, I-as I finish coaching sessions, I stop and reflect, and if you’re a professional coach, you should be preparing before going into a session, and then coming out of a session and doing reflection, so that you can kind of check yourself. “What happened there? Did any-was I triggered by anything? Did I step into an odd space? Was there something that was kind of…feeling weird on my insides about that session?” So, I take that and I write up a notable incident. It’s really just like, what’s it-like a couple of sentences on the background so I’ll remember later when I’m looking at it. Um, a coup-maybe a paragraph or two about, “Well, what actually happened that is of concern to me; what’s the what’s the notable thing that happened?” It might be our concern, or it might be of celebration. And then the last piece of that that I write down is, “Why is this actually…what-why is this relevant? What’s important about this that I might want to consider bringing this as a case to Supervision?”

And so I just do a brief write up and then that way when I go and have Supervision sessions with my Supervisor, I have something to bring in, I can go flip through my couple of pages from different clients and say, “Oh, you know what, I never really dealt with this one; let’s talk about this one.” Um, it’s recommended that you have about an hour of supervision for every 35 or 40 hours of coaching that you do. So a few times a year for many people. Maybe monthly for those of you who are coaching a lot and actually, um, doing, you know, 10 or 15 hours of coaching a week. And then lastly, there is a way to do this. So there’s one-on-one Supervision, which is really what I’ve been speaking mostly about. There was a really cool way to experience Supervision and it’s in a group. So when you do Supervision in a group, one person still brings their client,um,  incident, their case, and remember, now we’ve got six of us, five of us, so it’s really important to keep confidentiality. And so you bring that case in, and the rest of the people in the group become thinking partners. And we think through this case together. So you not just have like the one supervisor, but you actually have four-three, four, or five people who can also look at the process with you and ask you some provoking questions and help you to probe a little bit deeper. And so the value they provide is now you don’t just see it from your perspective and my perspective, you actually get to see it from five or six perspectives. So another great thing about group Supervision is it can be a lot more cost effective because, um, the person providing Supervision doesn’t have to just be compen-you know, they don’t have to-they don’t have one person compensating them, they’ve got several people, so it usually brings the cost down. Joining group Supervision can usually be pretty cost effective. And where joining individual Supervision, just like individual coaching, the prices will vary. For me, I, I think that one-on-one Supervision is probably going to cost about the same cost that your clients pay you for an hour of work. Every supervisor will charge you differently. Some of them may charge more, some of them may charge less just like in coaches. It’s totally free for you to decide your own prices. But in general, I… I try to keep it where about what you make an hour is about what I make an hour because then it makes it accessible to you to be able to say, “Well, I can I can pay for an hour of my time to be in Supervision, so.  So yeah, um…let’s close up with any other questions, learnings, takeaways; we’ve got a few minutes here to just be together and love to hear with spinning in your head. Even if it’s, “You’re crazy, Cherie, you’re always bringing crazy stuff to us.”

Alex Kudinov  Okay, I thought it was great stuff and I experienced Supervision. Um, now that I’m thinking about it, I would agree that it would be absolutely cool and great experience to start bringing these to Agile environments and to Agile Coaches. However, the last part that you mentioned, the confidentiality, kind of stopped me in my tracks. So it basically means that the organization cannot have an internal supervisory function.

Cherie Or if they do, how I envisioned this happening is, it’s an external coach, or an external supervisor, who is working with that company. So you don’t need me as a supervisor on staff 40 hours a week, that’s excessive, just like you would need me probably as a coach on staff 40 hours a week. But they, what I would envision is setting up groups where the supervisor comes in and you’ve got eight Agile Coaches. So once a month, we’ll have a group Supervision and we’ll bring a few of those in, or we’ll do individual Supervision. So I think that’s more the structure that it would look like. I’m not saying that so-a company couldn’t train up a supervisor and have an in house supervisor, I would just be concerned about confidentiality, because that will impact every coach’s relationship with their clients. If their client thinks you’re bringing my business into the business into the group and now everybody knows my business, that’s not gonna sit well with your coaching.

Alex Kudinov  Right. I just see organization. So we know that we’re all kind of enamoured these days with what they call ‘Center of Agile Excellence’ or ‘Communities of Practice’ and all that. And I see these branches of organization, an organization would say, “Well, the Community of Practice is the best place for that.” So I’m wondering if, if a clause-kind of- gives the confidentiality clause and gives the sign-off from the client would somehow solve that problem?

Cherie Yeah, I think they would have to figure out how to solve that internally and that-it could be the case and I think the difference between regular, professional coaching and Agile coaching is, a lot of what you do in Agile coaching is public knowledge anyway, it’s not really confidential until you get into those one-on-one spaces, or maybe even in like a retrospective, you might agree what’s confidential and what’s not. So…so, a little bit of leeroom-leeway probably in the Agile coaching space because of that. However, if you’re bringing if you’re coaching someone individually as an Agile Coach and you’re actually doing professional coaching with them, that’s where you need to be really careful because while everybody might know what teams you’re coaching, they don’t know what individuals you’re coaching. What else?

Manohar  And again, when you’re explaining this, right, where you need to have a coach to be experienced if you need to surprise that he/she needs to surpervise you. You mentioned you may not probably go with ICF-ACC right? You, at least recommend PCC or above. This is pretty much the situation we had last year in our organization, where some external consultant coach was brought in, he was asked to work with the employee Scrum Masters to supervise and obviously now I can realize it typically became a hierarchy.

Cherie So that was supervision in the business sense not in the coaching sense.

Manohar  Yeah, and also employees were not secure enough to open it up with a coach. So that it may go as a feedback.

Cherie Yeah, I-the name ‘Supervision’ kind of gives me the heebie jeebies only because it creates that…confusion of, “Oh, I can hire-you’re the supervisor; all these people report to you.” Great…but that’s not coaching *chuckles* and it’s not coaching Supervision. It’s a different kind of supervision.

Manohar  And now it makes me-now I realize what what happened and what is making sense now.

Cherie Right. So I want to give an example of this. So when I when I worked with Cox Automotive, really huge company, I ran the coaching practice there. So I had multiple enterprise coaches who reported up to me and I was their supervisor, I would never have done Supervision reflective practices with them because that – I’m a supervisor, I’m not your peer. I would have referred that to someone else because I had to supervise them, which meant if I had to bring a disciplinary space in, now, their performance review’s in jeopardy from their perspective, right? So we definitely don’t want that. Yeah, Jenny, that’s definitely a conflict of interest. I’m glad you use those words.

Um…Cherie I have a question. Um…do you see there is a theme where there’s a lot of confusion between the expectation of an Agile Coach and professional coaching is another leadership level?  Because you know, to your example that you’ve mentioned, sometimes you’re getting into…the leadership pushes us in… in a consulting way. “Give us advice.” Okay, so what do you suggest? Like, they are looking at the term coach, as someone *chuckles* who is an expert, and who’s there to give them advice and, and so…for myself, and many times, even though I try to step back, but I don’t want to be the person to give them advice, but then kind of help them provoke the thinking, what are the things that they should change at the leadership level? But do you see a theme across in the industry that expectation of an Agile Coach…um…to an-a real good understanding of what professional coaching really means? Did you see that and how do I really set that expectation?

Yep. So I, I know for a fact that, first of all, the first problem is, maybe 50-60% of the Agile Coaches that I have encountered, like, people who put Agile coach on their LinkedIn, have no clue what professional coaching is. So that’s the first problem because now when a client who doesn’t know what an Agile Coach is, and they don’t know what a coach is, hires these people, what they should be calling themselves as Agile Consultants, and then I have no beef with them, no problem there, right? But they call themself a coach and they go into the organization and they teach the organization that a coach is someone who comes and bosses you around and tells you what to do and now, the organization doesn’t understand Agile – so they’re just looking for an expert – they’re looking for a consultant, you comply. Now, we have done nothing for the profession and we’re not doing coaching and we’re just calling it that. So, short answer is, yes. It’s a huge problem. Leaders don’t know what it is and the truth is they shouldn’t have to because, if you are a professional, you should be responsible for making sure they understand what coaching is and if they’re hiring you as a coach, they should understand what you do, and what you don’t do as a coach. And if I’m working with someone who what they want as a consultant, instead of me like, I don’t want to pass up the money. It’s a lot of money. I want to get the contract signed, I’m going to say, That’s not what I do; you need a consultant. And so, I-now as an Agile coach, I will talk through, “There’s some consulting, there’s some of this,” and I’m really clear on where we’re at and so that is your responsibility as a coach. It is not the client responsibility to understand what they want – that’s preferred, that would be awesome –  but you are the one who has an ethical standard to uphold and ethical obligation to make sure your client has purchased the service that they need. Because it would be the equivalent of, I’m going to sell you an airplane when really what you need is a scooter. But I’m not going to tell you you need a scooter, I’m going to sell you an airplane instead because I can make more money off of that. To me, it’s it’s that core, it’s an ethics thing. Anybody else?

Hey, um, so I actually was thinking about that a lot and this is all insightful and thank you for for the great discussion here. I-…the market is so saturated right now, unfortunately, and to your point, you know, everybody’s an agile coach, and sometimes the leaders when they hire these external consultants, they-they want help, right? So they are not ducated, per se, as to what is the difference between, you know, a mentor, a consultant, or a coach. And the expectation is, somebody to come in and fix their problems or identify their problems and provide solutions versus taking the long road sometimes that we know it takes for for teams and and the leadership to realize where the root causes are and to get to their that realization and address their own problems, which we know that they are capable of doing. So…yes, you know, we, the 22 of us here are now talking to each other, right, but there’s so many others out there that are going into organizations and doing the talk and have the decks to sell their services, and the leaders are buying into it right. So I feel like that’s a problem where the leaders, you know, have the budget potentially and they want to have a quick fix.

Yeah, they have mandate from above but the leaders are not educated. So I think it’s also our responsibility, at least the 22 of us here, to also educate our leaders as to what they’re buying into the right and wrong.

Yeah, I agree and because this is a non-regulated field, you will continue to have this because it’s easy money and because it’s a field where the client doesn’t know what they’re doing, the coach…they can, you know, they can sucker anybody. So it’s like, if I was going to go to a doctor, if it wasn’t a regulated field, I mean, I don’t know anything about medical care. I’m just…you said you’re a doctor; I’m going to go to you. Now, God knows what you’re going to do, you know, to my health because you don’t know-or to my mental capacity. There’s a lot of people calling themselves counselors who aren’t counselors, even though that’s a regulated industry, right? So you don’t know. But my charge to you, to this group, who, right now, is under my voice, is that if you are coaching, and you have not actually learned what coaching is, and I mean through an accredited learning organization, then it is your responsibility to do that. And I think it’s dangerous for you to call yourself a coach, unless you have not only gotten some kind of training and reading a book is great. Reading videos are great. I’ve got to set the videos out there that are helping a lot of people but no one has validated that you took knowledge and created competency. So just because you can verbalize to me what a coach is, doesn’t mean you’re coaching and I’ve seen it over and over and over again. So you have a responsibility, that if you’re calling yourself a coach, then you need to get validated competency because you’re doing damage to the industry; the same damage we’re talking about right now. And I know that sounds harsh but it’s what I have experienced in the last 10 years, over and over.

Thank you for that.

You’re welcome. All right, Angie.

Angie  Yeah, I was just gonna kind of add to that, you know, as I went through my journey of getting my professional coaching certification, so for even a little bit after I got it, I still did not feel comfortable calling myself a coach because I hadn’t really embraced it or felt that I was, you know, good enough at it to sell myself as that. So it took a while to even even after having the certification to become comfortable with knowing the difference between what’s a coach, what’s a consultant, and having that conversation. Now, when I go into engagements or do interviews or whatever, I make it a point to say this is the difference between coaching and this is difference between mentoring and in asking questions along those lines of…of saying, you know, “If I were to do this, what would you think,” you know? Or if I didn’t? If I say that I don’t do this, what do you think? And try to educate even just in the interview process to determine what I would even take the gig or not. And hopefully, by having that conversation, I start planting some seeds into leadership for them to do a little bit more investigating so they understand and learn more about, “Well, wow, there is a difference” And the same thing with the question of, “Do you want adoption or do you want transformation?” Because sometimes they they don’t know there is a difference, and they don’t know what the difference is. So I think even within the first, even if you don’t have the job, or you’re still in the process of evaluating where you want to, that’s an opportunity there for us to educate as well.

Cherie Yeah. Awesome. Thank you.

Alex Kudinov  Alright and with that, thank you so much everybody that has spent this hour and a half with us and if you like the session and if you want to experience the power of Professional Coaching Supervision, reach out to us at supervision@tandemcoaching.academy. And Cherie runs the Group Supervision session and she also conducts the Individual Supervision. So, this might be your opportunity to experience the Supervision for yourself and just reminding you that as we were talking through the professional coaching, a lot of us are Agile Coaches. And if you are curious how professional coaching skills can help you in your Agile practice, or how you can actually clean up that professional coaching skills, here are some offerings from Tandem Coaching Academy. We run the…we run the coaching training program, which is accredited with ICF. We also have ICF Coach Mentoring and you can test your skills at taking our quiz in coach knowledge assessment. And with that said, I think we have the poll going on.

Cherie Yeah, just the closing poll, love to just see since many of you didn’t know what Supervision was before the session. What are you thinking now? Oh, what’s pretty amazing is there are no people yet, at least, who have said ‘no interest at all’ but plenty of people were like curious to learn more, and I’ll share these in just a second. Give me some time now.

Manohar  Yeah, Manohar here, Cherie. So, I know I’m going through the training right through Tandem Coaching Academy, and working with Lucia, now I realized that, yeah, maybe end of my journey. Of course, it never ends but at least after ICFs is probably I should sign up for Supervision training. Can I believe in it? It is going to help me to get better.

Cherie Yep. Awesome. Well, I’m glad to see that there’s some curiosity around this topic around and supervision and that was my goal, just to get you curious, of something that many coaches in the U.S. haven’t heard of. So thanks for joining today. It was really great being with y’all. I know we don’t get to speak at these all the time, because I try to bring in as many speakers as I can. So thanks for joining. Don’t forget to tell your friends to join us and we’ll see you in the industry soon.