Another important part of coaching supervision is resourcing/restoring the coach. Real coaching is demanding on the emotional and sometimes physical energy of the coach and client. If the work is productive and useful, energy and well-being for both tends to increase. (See research on Positive Psychology.) But when the coach becomes anxious or exhausted from the work, supervision can be a vital means of renewal.
This issue is especially true for internal coaches or externals with long term engagements. The research into brain neurobiology in recent years has revealed a physical part of the brain called Mirror Neurons. These are nerve cells which actively track the presence and actions of other people. A simple example can be found in any meeting where coffee or water is served. One person lifts his cup, and the action ripples around the room.
More importantly, humans become entrained into the patterns of action and of thinking within the organizations where they reside. As soon as a coach becomes unconscious of this entrainment, their usefulness is diminished. This occurs simply because we are human and humans adapt to their surroundings, even when they are harsh or undesirable.
Once again, coaching supervision provides an opportunity for the coach to step out of their surroundings and check in on their current response to the organizational environment.
Resourcing the coach and dealing with unconscious processes are core aspects of coaching supervision. But let’s not forget, that sometimes coaching engagements are simply complex and benefit from time spent sorting out how best to proceed. This is often what brings coaches to supervision: “I’m stuck.” Good coaches know to get help. Good buyers of coaching know coaches and the ROI of their work benefit from regular supervision with a qualified supervisor.
How is coaching supervision provided?
- Individual supervision with one hour sessions in person or by phone. Research suggests that regular interactions at specified times produce the best results.
- Small group supervision outside the organization with coaches who are not in the same system. These sessions are provided to groups of 4 to 6 on a monthly basis over six or more months.
- Small group supervision within and organization. The convenience of this approach and the ability to notice cross organization patterns make this convenient. Extra care must be taken to assure complete confidentiality for all concerned and their clients.