‘At the core of continual professional development is continual personal development where our own development is weaved through every aspect of our practice’. (Coaching Mentoring and Organisational Consultancy, Hawkins, P & Smith, N 2006).

In the past few years, Coaching Supervision has emerged as an essential aspect of being a professional coach. Counsellors and Psychotherapists, as regulated professionals, have a supervisor as part of their CPD to ensure they are working within the agreed protocols and ethics of that profession. CIPD’s research paper entitled ‘Coaching Supervision, maximising the potential of coaching’ (2006), sets out to answer the crucial question of what coaching supervision is and why it matters. The documents state that supervision is a:
‘Structured formal process for coaches, with the help of a coaching supervisor, to attend to improving the quality of their coaching, grow their coaching capacity, and support them in their practice. Supervision should also be a source of organisational learning’.

Peter Bluckert’s view is that:
‘Supervision sessions are a place for a coach to reflect on the work they are undertaking, with another more experienced coach. It has the dual purpose of supporting the continual learning and development of the coach as well as giving a degree of protection to the person being coached’.

As an unregulated service, coaching remains a choice that professional coaches make rather than a requirement of the profession. Within the above-mentioned CIPD research, they have shared a chart outlining the ‘Belief in and use of Supervision’. This shows an interesting statistic that 50% of external coaches receive regular coaching supervision, where 30% of internal coaches and just 20% of manager coaches receive coaching supervision.  These figures may well have increased since 2006 when the report was written and coaching supervision has a wider understanding and importance now than it had then.

In 2006 Gill Shwenk and Liz Macann prepared a paper for the CIPD conference which explored organisational good practice in supervision. As part of this research Macann and Shwenk state that ‘Only a limited number of organisations have systematically introduced supervision for their internal and external coaches’. They go on to analyse a case study on supervision for internal coaches at the BBC. At the end of the study they quote Liz Macann, Head of Executive Coaching, as saying that ‘the BBC’s use of coaching supervision is more about development and being more effective than the avoidance of risk’.

Development and competence are highly important but for supervision to be at its best it is important for there to be an agreement that ethics and boundaries are also scrutinised as part of the sessions.

Do you have a coaching supervisor? Are you thinking of finding an alternative coaching supervisor?

Maybe you have an ethical dilemma as a result of your coaching which you would like to talk through?

Take a look at what you can expect from having Sue Noble as your coaching supervisor