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Coaching Supervision

Coaching supervision is a collaborative learning practice to continually build the capacity of the coach through reflective dialogue and to benefit his or her clients and the overall system.

Coaching Supervision focuses on the development of the coach’s capacity through offering a richer and broader opportunity for support and development. Coaching supervision creates a safe environment for the coach to share their successes and failures in becoming masterful in the way they work with their clients.

ICF is committed to monitoring and conducting research on coaching supervision and has published an article in International Coaching Psychology Review (Volume 12, No. 1, March 2017) on this topic.

Findings in the article include:

Despite a growing number of books and academic articles, the scope of research on coaching supervision is still rather limited.

Due to the varying functions of supervision, defining supervision has been challenging. No universally accepted definition for coaching supervision exists.

Coaches, clients, accrediting bodies and organizations that procure coaching services all have a stake in coaching supervision, and each has a somewhat unique perspective. Consequently, supervision may serve different functions for different stakeholders.

Based upon the fact that no robust studies exist identifying the efficacy of coaching supervision, one would be hard-pressed to defend a position mandating coaching supervision on an ongoing basis.

ICF’s Position on Coaching Supervision:

ICF recommends coaching supervision for full-time professional coach practitioners as part of their portfolio of continuuing professional development (CPD) activities designed to keep them fit for purpose. ICF does not require coaching supervision.

Coaching supervision may include:

    • Exploring the coach’s internal process through reflective practice
    • Reviewing the coaching agreement and any other psychological or physical contacts, both implicit and explicit
    • Uncovering blind spots
    • Ethical issues
    • Ensuring the coach is “fit for purpose” and perhaps offering accountability
    • Looking at all aspects of the coach and client’s environment for opportunities for growth in the system

Coaching supervision is sufficiently different from coaching, so training to provide the knowledge and opportunity to practice supervision skills is needed. As such, all coaching supervisors should receive coaching supervision training.

ICF recognizes that coaching supervision is a part of CPD and is distinct from Mentor Coaching for an ICF Credential.

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