In the realm of coaching supervision, it is essential to establish a shared understanding of the concept itself, as it can hold different meanings for different coaches and organizations. Defining supervision, clarifying expectations, and setting boundaries are crucial steps towards establishing a fruitful working agreement. Let’s explore some themes to consider in the context of relational supervision:

  1. The Model, Approach, or Framework: Discuss the preferred model or approach to supervision. It could be a specific methodology or a combination of various techniques. Understanding each other’s perspectives allows for alignment and effective collaboration.
  2. Understanding and Expectations: Encourage open dialogue about the supervisee’s and supervisor’s understanding, hopes, and expectations of supervision. Explore each person’s assumptions, reflecting on the sources of their knowledge and experiences. Embrace reflexivity and venture to “the edge” of your understanding to facilitate growth.
  3. The Supervisor as a Participant Observer: Recognize that the supervisor’s role goes beyond being an objective expert. Embrace the concept of the “intersubjective,” acknowledging that both supervisor and supervisee contribute to the co-creation of meaning. This perspective fosters a collaborative and empowering relationship.
  4. Common Purpose and Language: Ensure that there is coherence and a shared purpose in the supervision process. Discuss the objectives and goals, aligning the language used to facilitate effective communication and understanding between supervisor and supervisee.
  5. Joy and Growth in Supervision: Embrace the joy and fulfillment that can be derived from the supervision process. Supervision provides a space for self-reflection, learning, and professional development. Cultivate a positive and supportive environment where both supervisor and supervisee can flourish.

Sensitivity to Context:

Context plays a significant role in coaching and supervision, influencing the therapeutic process and the dynamics between supervisor and supervisee. Here are some aspects to consider:

  1. Work Brought to Supervision: Clarify the specific work and cases that the supervisee brings to the supervision sessions. Understand the nature of the counseling practice and explore how other aspects of their work are supervised.
  2. Relationship to the Organization: Discuss the supervisee’s role within the organization and their relationship to it. Consider the influence of professional bodies and any relevant communities. Likewise, explore the supervisor’s role and connections to the organization and other relevant entities.
  3. Individual Contexts: Reflect on the personal backgrounds and experiences that have shaped both the supervisee and the supervisor. Understanding each other’s journeys can foster empathy, connection, and a deeper appreciation of individual perspectives.
  4. Boundaries and Accountability: Clearly define responsibilities and boundaries within the supervisory relationship. Discuss any external factors (work, family, other organizations) that may impact the time spent together. Establish accountability and explore where it lies within the coaching context.
  5. Organizational Involvement: Acknowledge the influence of the organizational context on coaching and supervision. Recognize the unique dynamics, expectations, and needs within the organization and integrate them into the supervision process. Ethical and relational sensitivity should extend beyond the client-coach relationship to encompass the larger organizational framework.

In the modern coaching landscape, working within or alongside organizations is common. Coaches need to be attuned to the organizational context, understanding its impact on the coaching and supervision relationships. Confidentiality is governed by the principle of fidelity, honoring the trust placed in the coaching and supervision processes.

By embracing the concept of relational supervision, coaches can foster growth, nurture collaborative learning, and adapt to the multifaceted dynamics of coaching within organizational contexts. Through open dialogue, sensitivity to individual and organizational contexts, and a commitment to ethical practices, coaches can cultivate rich and impactful coaching relationships.

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