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28th June 2017

What value supervision?

There is a debate in the world of coaching and mentoring as to the proven value of supervision.  While some professional bodies insist on it in order to become accredited, like the AC, EMCC and APECS, and there are many instances of its impact intuitively, is this sufficient?  Another body, the ICF, does not require it though recommends it.  The EMCC pages of LinkedIn are debating this question: “Supervision brings immediate benefits to the coach/mentor. But how can we measure the positive effects of supervision in the wider system, beyond the supervisee?”  I am reminded by one participant of the sign allegedly hanging outside Einstein’s office: “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts”.

What I wonder is whether this is an either/or question?  To me it seems reasonable to want to know that supervision provides value to all the stakeholders involved in a coaching or mentoring assignment.  This includes, but is not limited to, the supervisee, the coachee/mentee, the organizational client including the sponsor, the coachee/mentee’s team, department or division, the profession of which we are a part, and wider systems such as the sector or the family.  Creatively we can probably come up with ways to improve our understanding of the contribution supervision makes to the success of coaching and mentoring assignments, and there may well be a PhD topic here.

In the meantime perhaps we can expand our use of questions.  At the start of a session we might ask our supervisee “What needs to happen here today for this session to be of benefit to you, your coachees/mentees and your client organization?”  At the end we might check in on “How has this session benefitted you, your coachees/mentees, and your organizational client, and what needs to happen now to embed that learning?”


Category: Coaching, Supervision