This overview was brought about by chapter 9 in Jackie Arnold’s book “Coaching Supervision at its BEST”. You might say what has this got to do with me, I don’t even understand the difference between coaching and mentoring, never mind what supervision is! Bear with me, and hopefully it will come clear to you.
Consider how we normally look after our employees and consider the definition of Supervision : Coaching supervision is a formal process of professional support, which ensures continuing development of the coach and effectiveness of his/her coaching practice through interactive reflection, interpretative evaluation and the sharing of expertise.
Bachkirova, Steven and Willis 2005
I can hear many of you now saying we haven’t got time to reflect, interpret and share expertise. Is this not part of any manager’s/director’s problem as everything becomes more global, with flat structures with managers in different locations and speed being of the essence?
- The ability to look down from a higher level or work in partnership with the leader
- The development of multiple facets of the leader concurrently e.g. ethical awareness, capabilities, breadth and depth of thinking
- An ongoing and long term approach
- Development from a more systemic view and in some circumstances, a more psychological perspective
- The opportunity for the leader to disconnect from the detail and see what is going on in their organisation
Again I can hear some of you say I don’t have time, which is exactly what I would have said 15 years ago as a Sales Manager. That is part of the problem. As a line manager, you can’t afford the time to get involved in such detail and your employee will probably not want to divulge such information to you anyway. Such limiting beliefs or secret issues will still get in the way of performance over a long period of time. A supervisor, under a confidential brief, earns the trust of the client and can make a real difference.
Maturity brings experience, awareness and clarity around the supervisor’s own purpose and role and is therefore helpful in delivering success. Maturity also helps the supervisor stand up to the leader’s ego, which may be considerable.