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I am enjoying revisiting an excellent book on coaching supervision: “Coaching and Mentoring Supervision” Ed. Bachkirova, Jackson, Clutterbuck (2011). In particular, I have enjoyed Clutterbuck’s chapter ‘Using the seven conversations in supervision’.

This chapter opens up an area that is most useful to coaches in supervision – looking at the dialogue that goes on inside them as they coach, the one between themselves and their client and the dialogue that goes on inside the client too. These are sometimes ignored or not explored fully enough as we reflect on sessions – if we reflect on sessions!! It is an area in which there is enormous learning for us as coaches because understanding more about the various internal dialogues and the relational dialogue allows us to magnify our skills and impact.

Elsewhere on this website you will see reference to Building the Internal Supervisor. Here coaches are supported to use cognitive, somatic and intuitive information to make incisive interventions. Clutterbuck’s chapter highlights the cognitive aspect of the Internal Supervisor – looking at what happens to our and our clients’ thinking and reflections.

(Also on this site you will have seen reference to Amanda Ridings excellent book on dialogue: Pause for Breath. This is another major resource on inviting us to look more closely at dialogue  – generative dialogue in particular.)

Clutterbuck usefully outlines the seven conversations as follows:

  • the coach’s reflection before the dialogue with the client
  •  the client’s reflection or preparatory thinking before the dialogue
  •  the coach’s internal, unspoken reflections during the dialogue
  •  the spoken dialogue
  •  the client’s internal unspoken reflections during the dialogue
  • the coach’s reflections after the conversation
  • the client’s reflections after the dialogue

So we can ask ourselves:

How do I take account of my thinking during sessions?

Have I checked on my client’s thinking?

Who/what helps me to reflect on all this??


Edna Murdoch  May 2013