The importance of Reflection with somebody we trust

As well as being a coach, I am also a supervisor of coaches. This is not as grand as it sounds, but it is a safe place where coaches can confidentially talk to a professional about their clients or challenges.

I was invited onto a learning network to discuss supervision and the importance of reflection which was really interesting and made me curious. I suppose I need to start off with coaching and what does this brings to the party for individuals. There needs to be something to focus on; either an issue, or an opportunity, or a key change that needs to be made, otherwise what is the benefit of coaching.

Each coach should have a supervisor to keep them on the straight and narrow and to ensure they keep improving as a coach for their clients. The danger is somebody could go on a weekend’s course and call themselves a coach or even a coach’s coach instead of being a supervisor.

As part of my continuous professional development (CPD) I went on a lecture as I was curious, to learn and get different perspectives. There was quite a lot of discussion around structures. As a coach or supervisor, the key is to keep your own thoughts out of your head, with total focus on the client and to be able to use your own intuition to benefit your client. For those of you who aren’t a coach, or have never been coached, this might appear to be the ramblings of a madman, but hey ho!

I am not naturally a reflector; I get on and do things and generally do not look back. What group supervision does for me, is to make me stop and think about who I have coached in the last couple of months and consider could I have done anything different and better with any of those clients. Why should it be different for any individual or business to stop every now and again and reflect on whether they could do anything different?

As I am writing this around Burns night, it was interesting that somebody raised a quote of Robert Burns “give us the gift to see ourselves as others see us.” I think people, whether they are coachees or coaches, need to be quite brave to step into this arena. Whether you are a line manager, coach or supervisor, in this day and age, you are either co-workers or co-advisers trying to develop others and yourself at the same time.

So much of coaching or supervision is getting outside one’s own head. In my experience, as a Samaritan many calls are from people wanting to get things off their chest to a good listener so they can free their minds and move on in little steps. There needs to be incredible trust in who you open your minds to. With Samaritans, it is talking to somebody you don’t know, they don’t know you and it is confidential to Samaritans. If it is to a coach or supervisor, you need to have incredible trust in that person. Often it is not possible with a line manager as they are also in charge of pay and rations.

At the time of initially writing this a year ago, I was not really sure where I was going with this article. Now it makes total sense to me and hopefully you too. The majority of people will have never had a coach and many coaches don’t have a supervisor. Where do people who have missed out on such benefits reflect and, in some cases, stop beating themselves up for circumstances which are often outside their control.

If you want to speak to a good listener, dig deeper and reflect with somebody you can trust, or as one of my colleagues said “take an X-ray of where you are now and where you want to get to”, contact 

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