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  May 23, 2024

A powerful path to develop our coaching

“When we are most stuck, we can most grow if we have a space to reflect with another who will both support and challenge us.”

– In Love with Supervision, Robin Shohet & Joan Shohet

Supervision is an opportunity for coaches to learn from the inside out by reflecting on the coaching practice, and exploring achievements and challenges experienced that will help to develop the best version of themselves.

As passionate coaches, we love to serve and accompany people to unleash their potential and thrive. We are always ready for our clients at every session, and we value their trust, vulnerability and willingness to move forward. We stand by them while offering our full presence, deep listening, challenging questions, or just providing silence for further reflection.

From that passion and responsibility, we are aware that to better serve our clients, we must live in an “ongoing learning process.”As we move from beginners to more experienced coaches, we face different situations and become aware of our needs in our developmental journey. This requires training, practice, reflection, vulnerability and commitment. In that journey, we may use different paths that may range from courses, books, podcasts and webinars to more personal practices such as mentoring or supervision.

Both are important, but they are different in their approach and focus. In mentor coaching, the mentor observes the development of coaching competencies and shares their knowledge and skills, with appreciative and developmental feedback.

In supervision, the focus is on the coach’s development based on real practice, taking distance from the case to reflect and learn from it. As stated by the European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC), and later by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), supervision is a safe and collaborative space where a coach shares the coaching work with the supervisor in a reflective dialogue to improve and develop the practice and wellbeing of the coach. Supervision impacts the coach, the client, and the organization where the clients work.

Supervision brings a Super Vision. As coaches, we take a step back and observe ourselves from some distance. We may work one-on-one with a supervisor, or in group supervision with other coach peers as supervisees. The supervisee shares a coaching case (individual or team coaching), always protecting their client from any identification and confidentiality issues.

We may bring to our practice the ritual to stop, look and reflect on the session, developing our internal supervisor. In our own reflection we may realize that we had a great session, or sometimes wonder what we could have done better. We may identify thoughts, feelings, doubts, lack of clear agreement, or even some inner conversations that appeared and may have blocked us from being at our best.

Let’s think about your practice, and if any of the following questions resonate with you, supervision could be a good path to explore.

➤Do you ever feel lonely in your journey while you honor confidentiality?

➤ Are you sometimes over-empathetic with your client?

➤ How do your clients’ stories, challenges and situations resonate with your personal life?

➤ How can you untangle the doubts on ethical boundaries that may arise during or after the coaching session?

Shifts happen to us during the coaching session, and it is essential to consider who can support us as coaches.

Supervision offers us the possibility to confidentially explore a coaching case with a professional supervisor to understand our performance, emotions and blind spots, helping us to keep learning for future sessions. We may work in an individual supervision setting or in group supervision, where the coaches participating contribute with their reflections with the supervisee and learn for themselves.

Supervision invites coaches to “experience learning” and, as Proctor affirmed in 1986, it has three main functions for coaches. It helps coaches reflect on themselves (reflective), evaluate their professional standards (normative) and also explore their professional practice considering models and resources (formative).

Supervisors and coaches develop a partnership where a coach presents a case (this could be an individual or team coaching case), and both bring their awareness to examine their work, considering the relationship with the client, the coach, the systems involved, and the patterns. It is important to clarify that supervision does NOT control the quality of coaching.

What may bring us to supervision? When we connect to clients with our hearts and consider the humanity involved in a coaching relationship, we see that our clients bring challenges, emotions, and sometimes issues that we have not been able to solve in our own lives. We may wonder: What is this client telling me about me?

We have explored the value of supervision, its purpose, benefits, and logistics. It’s important to highlight that to be in supervision requires courage, humility, commitment, responsibility and openness.

In supervision, we coaches must be willing to be vulnerable as we share cases with the supervisor (or the group). We must also be specific in asking for support during the session. Is it simple or easy to share what does not work for you, along with your failures and doubts? I’m pretty sure it is not that easy, and we take risks asking for supervision. Sometimes, perfectionism or pride may block us under a protective mask to keep growing by hiding our true self and looking for a quick solution rather than reflecting about it. (Brené Brown, Dare to Lead)

We are driven by the desire to become better, to keep learning, to discover what we do not see, and to face it with appreciation, whereas in a self-protective mode, we may avoid challenging ourselves and keep our practice in the comfort zone.

Both coaching and supervision require the courage to be vulnerable. Brené Brown says that we need courage to show up when we cannot control the outcome, and while coaching, we don’t know what will happen in the session. It also takes courage to supervise our coaching.

My invitation is to walk the talk. We are proud when our coaching clients have courage to overcome their challenges. What would it be like to bring the courage to share our fears and doubts, and work on our challenges as coaches in supervision? Only when we see ourselves, can we truly see others!

Continuing our journey as coaches with others is an exponential development as we share and learn from practice, challenging ourselves while looking at our cases (or the cases of other coaches if working in group). We all learn – even the supervisors who bring their own selves into the session.

From this helicopter view in the session, with different tools and approaches, we work with the client to understand the circumstances of the session.

At this point my questions are:

➤ Who do you want to be as a coach?

➤ How will you develop that best self?

➤ Will you limit your learning to books, courses, webinars, etc. to expand your professional stand?

➤ Are you ready to open your heart, take care of you as a coach, and be a better coach for your clients in the sessions to come?

Supervision is an act of love and responsibility with us and our clients. It allows us to learn from mistakes, leverage achievements and see what happen to us to consider in our next session. It is the oxygen mask that replenishes coaches to be better prepared to serve others.



AIDA FRESE, MA, MCC (ICF), ESIA, EIA (EMCC) is a passionate global executive coach and supervisor from Argentina. She is dedicated to coaching leaders, supervising coaches and training, and loves being involved in ongoing learning. She works with executives at different levels in various industries, organizations and Fortune 500 companies. Committed to the highest standards, she has pursued global credentials, MCC at ICF and ESIA and EIA at EMCC. She is fluent in Spanish, English, French and Italian.



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