I was talking with a colleague the other day about why I had wanted to become a supervisor, which I did some years ago now. The main reasons I recalled were to do with supporting the coach community I’d set up back then and finding a deeper way to develop that was not focussed on a particular “tool”. Afterwards, though, the conversation left various echoes running and prompted me to revisit my journal of the sessions I’ve had with my own supervisor.
Things I’ve brought to supervision include:
The conversations I’ve had with my supervisor have been invaluable in working through these and many other things. And it was the exploration of them, more so than any set answers or magical prescriptions from my supervisor (though I think he had one or two!), that made these conversations so telling and so useful. As a supervisee I’ve learned to accept that being a coach, and developing as a coach and as a person, is very much a work in progress – and I know as a supervisor how hard finding that self-acceptance can be for a coach wanting to do the right thing, wanting to do good work.
The mirror to this is that becoming a supervisor myself has, I think, made me a “better” supervisee. It’s enabled me to reflect more deeply on what is happening in my client sessions. It’s given me an ability to acknowledge the stuck places in my practice and the associated anxieties; a kind of psychological mindedness, as Peter Bluckert calls it.
So, both as a coach and a supervisor, it’s a little like having my own tiny supervisor sitting on my shoulder – a small blackbird of wisdom singing softly in my ear; though I still check in with my real supervisor from time to time to keep the blackbird fed!
Ref: Bluckert, P (2006): Psychological Dimensions of Executive Coaching – Open University Press
Executive Coach & Coach Supervisor Ken Smith supports people to find meaning in their work and a richer and more productive sense of their own excellence.
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Coach, supervisor, facilitator, pioneer, writer, walker.