Coaching Supervision with Alison Whybrow

Coaching supervision for me, is about developing you and your coaching practice so that your investment in your practice has the most valuable possible impact across all networks and systems you impact on. It is part of the rich eco system of learning and growth that enables you to step up to what it is that you can uniquely bring to the world – that the world needs right now of course.

Supervision is a way of reflecting on your practice together with others whether you are a coach, a psychologist, OD practitioner, consultant or involved in a wider range of roles. Broadly supervision is useful where you are:

  • using your self as the instrument of change,
  • involved in transformational work that involves shifting human relationships or group dynamics.

The idea of a supervisor is that they really help you take a step back from your work and see it from a bigger (super) perspective (vision).

I have worked as a one-to-one and group supervisor for coaches, psychologists and consultants for 20 years.

Through supervision, you may:

  • Achieve a wider, deeper view of your work and be able to adopt a more flexible set. of perspectives in action.
  • Understand your unique strengths, abilities and purpose; as well as explore potential blindspots and gain new perspectives.
  • Gain greater confidence, resourcing yourself to continue to deliver at your best as a practitioner in a way that is sustainable for you and aligned with your deeper integrity.

A note on 1:1 and group supervision….

Supervision can be organised 1:1 or in groups and it can be between peers, or with an individual who always takes the position of supervisor. The supervisors’ role is to create and hold the container for supervision in such a way that it meets the professional needs of the area of practice and the growth needs of the supervisee(s). The supervisor is also following best practice when they engage in supervision of their supervision, as once again, the supervisor is using themself as the instrument of change and needs to keep themselves choiceful, resourced and clean in their practice.

Both 1:1 and group supervision are powerful developmental processes. You get to choose what reflective practice design is going to best work for you. As you develop your practice, you may often find that there is a need to be in both formats of supervision.

A 1:1 supervision relationship can really help you unpick in a granular way, some of the patterns that you discover in your work, it can allow deep work and foundational shifts in your self-awareness and sense of interbeing. There is a different level of creativity available that allows you to practice, experiment and deconstruct / reconstruct in a safe space as you expose your carefully crafted practice to greater scrutiny. The process and habits of reflection that you engaging in through supervision are incredibly useful in your everyday coaching practice.

Group reflective practice allows you to test yourself and your practice out in what can seem to be a significantly challenging context. Held well, a group process enables a depth of challenge, support and learning that can be richer than a 1:1 context. The supervision group gives you an experience of what it is to develop in a group context. The experience of developing that level of trust and openness in a professional group of peers can set you up well to work more effectively with groups in your practice and wider life.

The impact of supervision is broad and can often be profound.

Choosing a supervisor

Just like when choosing a coach, it starts with a conversation, can you trust this person to hold you and your practice and support you to flourish? What have they experienced in their life that can support you to accelerate your own learning? What lenses or perspectives do they have on the world that will be helpful for you right now?

You can have more than one supervisor – it’s often helpful to have different supervision inputs especially for different parts of your work.

Please do simply get in touch with Alison Whybrow if you would like a conversation to explore further.

For further reading on supervision, see:

Carroll, M. (2019). Coaching Psychology Supervision in Palmer, S and Whybrow, A. (Eds). Handbook of Coaching Psychology: A guide for practitioners, p. 562-572. Abingdon: Routledge

Hawkins, P. and Smith, N. (2013) Coaching, Mentoring and Organizational Consultancy: Supervision and Development. 2nd edition. Maidenhead: OUP.

Turner, E. and Palmer, S. (2019) (Eds). The Heart of Coaching Supervision – Working with Reflection and Self-Care. Abingdon: Routledge.

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