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The Seven-eyed Model of Supervision

A systemic perspective to knowledge building and increased effectiveness.

Peter Hawkins and Robin Shohet developed this model originally for supervisors working with individuals, with groups, and with organisations, in the Human Service professions. It takes a personal and social systems perspective. It supports the coach/mentor to build and develop expertise in several levels of knowledge that will greatly enhance their effectiveness

The CSA team is delighted to be working with this model as it provides a valuable framework within which to focus on the various players in the coaching and mentoring process, and the social systems in which they operate. It combines attention to the minutiae of the work; to the beliefs, feelings and energetic experience of the coach/mentor; and to the interactions in the coaching/mentoring process, as well as in the supervisory relationship itself. The key benefit to coaches and mentors is that the wider and deeper the knowledge gained, the more the work will flow.

Whichever ‘eye’ we look through we will see a different facet of the whole.

The seven ‘eyes’ are as follows:

  1. The Coach/Mentor/Supervisor system.
    The focus is on the situation, the problem the coach/mentor wants help with, and how issues are presented, and keeps the attention upon the immediate agenda of the coaching/mentoring work.
  2. The Coach/Mento/Supervisor interventions.
    The focus is on what kinds of intervention have been made, the rationale for them, and what else could they have done. This focus may be especially valuable for novices who are consolidating their basic skills.
  3. The relationship between the Coach/Mentor/Supervisor and their client.
    The focus is on the dynamic between them, or on what is going on at both a conscious and an unconscious level, it can offer a mine of information that can assist in understanding the deeper, underlying processes which affect the outcome of the work. By paying attention to this part of the system, the coach/mentor can stay true to the contract, and learn to tune in accurately to the underlying psychological climate of the work.
  4. The Coach/Mentor/Supervisor’s own experience.
    Here there is an opportunity to become more self aware, and so deepen the learning about how to use their full potential, and about what may be getting in the way of that happening.
  5. The Parallel Process.
    This is a valuable perspective as the dynamics that are present in the coach/mentor and client relationship can be played out within the supervisory relationship. When this happens, the coach/mentor and supervisor learn together what it is like for the client to be in the relationship. It is as if the client is present. With an energy perspective, we learn here that their energy is present, and has arrived alongside the coach/mentor. The data gathered in this way, adds another dimension to the supervisee’s learning, and effectiveness
  6. The Supervisor’s own self-reflections.
    Such reflections give an added dimension to the gathering of data within the supervision meeting, and may open up new avenues of understanding the coach/mentor’s relationship with the client.
  7. The Wider Context.
    The supervision meeting is also a time to reflect on the ethical, organisational, contractual, social and cultural aspects of the work. There will be different concerns at different stages in the work. With this ‘eye’, the wider world is held in view, lest the coach/mentor shuts out the systemic implications of the wider field.

Fiona Adamson CSA team ©