Coaching Supervision, A Tool or a Mandate?
By CB Bowman, MBA, MCEC, BCC, CMC
March 29, 2015
Here is a radical question, is “coaching supervision” much to do about something, or much to do about nothing with regard to its possible infestation into coaching in the United States?
The concept of coaching supervision is swimming its way to the U.S. from European waters, where by law it is mandatory. The law requires that, executive coaches have coaching supervision.
What is “Coaching Supervision”? According to the Coaching Supervision Academy, coaching supervision will provide coaches with the following http://coachingsupervisionacademy.com/supervision/what-is-coaching-supervision/
Clear Contracting – multi-party contracting where appropriate.
Ensuring that standards and ethics are maintained.
Establishing good boundaries.
Enhancing reflectivity – working with content and process.
Attending to the Coach’s Personal Development.
Creating the Working Alliance.
Deepening Coaching Presence.
Building the Internal Supervisor.
Offering new perspectives to the coach.
Increasing the coach’s interventions and tools.
Being sensitive to the coach’s Learning and Coaching Style.
Teaching about Coaching Psychology.
Working with Parallel Process.
Developing systemic thinking.
Giving constructive feedback.
Providing the coach with new tools.
Creating experiments through which the coach can learn.
Offering educative and restorative support to the coach.
Working systemically – with coach, client and the wider field.
Opening up new areas of competence for the coach.
It occurs to me that any Executive Coach who cares about their profession consistently ensures that the above actions take place as part of their annual professional development criteria; much of this occurs through being a member of a trade association. In fact, in many fields the above list is the reason that professionals belong to a minimum of two associations annually.
There are many non-supporters of coaching supervision in the United States, as well as some supporters. It seems, though, that more and more of the non-supporters are raising their hands against this concept, especially as the discussion becomes more vocal and heated.
This is probably due to the fact that in United States we are kindly referred to as the as the non-confrontational giant, except when freedoms are threatened. Americans also are known for their ability to strike back, strike hard, and strike accurately when their freedom is questioned or jeopardized.
This surely appears to be the case here, especially for veteran Executive Coaches, when the freedom of self-determining how they will maintain the quality of their professionalism is at risk.
It is clear that if given a choice verses a fait accompli of requiring the incorporation of this new aspect of coaching requirements into their professional standing, coaches might experience it as less of an infringement on their freedom or sense of dignity.
Having said all this, there may be a greater opportunity amongst us who actually do care about the quality of our work and the quality of our profession. I present to you an option that lays within our ability to move out of the role of Executive Coach and move into the space of Corporate Executive Coach; however, let’s not stop there. I also present to you the opportunity to move from Corporate Executive Coach to Enterprise Business Partner―which is not the same as a Business Coach or a Business Consultant.
My personal thought is that now is the time to focus our attention on how to become a Enterprise Business Partner to our clients. If we agree that the Corporate Executive Coach is quite different than the Executive Coach in that the Corporate Executive Coach has to walk the fine line between coaching and consulting—which is something that’s not necessarily taught or embraced traditionally by those involved with Executive Coaching, then it gives us the opportunity to incorporate a paradigm shift by presenting ourselves as business partners.
I imagine that I will receive a great deal of negative responses from those who are traditionalists. That is, before they really take a close look at why the likes of Marshall Goldsmith, Gary Ranker, John Maxwell, Mike Myatt and Johanna Rothman are successful— they are business partners to their clients.
In truth there really is no need to object; what is being presented is simply a conceptual thought of a different color. It states, if we want to be respected at a different level than we are currently, for the tremendous work that we do, perhaps it’s time to elevate how we are perceived in the boardroom. If we want to move from simply being see as a remedial solution to performance behavior concerns then we need to present ourselves as an integral part of our client’s business.
How many of us can identify the challenges that are currently in play for the CXO’s as related to human capital? Basically there are three areas, as we are now in the predicted era of the war-on-talent. This is the result of retiring baby boomers, the recent recession, business growth in countries to which we have outsourced, and zero population growth. These three things are called RRI:
The critical question is, “How do we get to the boardroom to make a difference in these areas?” Once we figure out the answer, executive coaching will elevate itself from the arena of being depicted as the “Wild Wild West” by Harvard Business Review to the level of respect that we so much desire and deserve. The question of coaching supervision may well become a moot point.
Is it possible that the focus on coaching supervision provides a golden opportunity to expand our vision to areas that will elevate us and where coaching supervision will become just a tool and not a raison d'être or discourse?