Last week, we (CSA) began the sixth annual training for coach supervisors. You can picture this new group – training team included! – eager to get going after much pre-course preparation. I am always fascinated by these first minutes/hours in a new situation, particularly one which brings together a group of very experienced coaches, many of whom are trainers too.
What is humbling is to see how easily we all drop our labels of distinction, our banners of achievement and become learners and co-learners.
I am particularly interested in how coaches begin to understand the difference between being a coach and being a coach supervisor. Often, coaches in supervision training will rely on their coaching skills for a while – and there are a number of transferable skills. It becomes noticeable as the first days of training progress, how the lights go on and what supervision really requires, clicks in. For example, it is always a challenge for coaches to slow down and reflect – I have that challenge too! Of course, this is exactly what being a supervisor involves – creating a reflective space and encouraging coaches to become reflectors too. This way, the coach begins to build their own Internal Supervisor and does not become reliant on the supervisor. The training focus on supervisory inquiry and on developing curiosity can be quite a shift from the more full-on energy and intention of coaching.
I noticed too how working with the Full Spectrum Model of Supervision, really opened up the whole field of supervision and brought new understanding of the range and depth of supervisory support. It was such a good feeling at the end of the training to see how engaged we all were in learning together, in sharing ideas and in growing new skills.
A new book on supervision was published this year: Supervision as Transformation. A Passion for Learning, edited by R Shohet. It is excellent and I will be writing about some of the chapters in it in this blog – watch this space!
Edna Murdoch 2011