A day in the life of a supervisor - what does that look like? As I sit to write this with the Spring sun-shine streaming through the window and the dog lying by my feet, I wonder what to write. No two days are the same and I am not just a supervisor. I wear multiple professional hats: coach, coun-sellor, supervisor and trainer.
My route to today has been meandering and continues to emerge. Although I have built on my ini-tial counselling, coach and coach supervision training, being person-centred continues to be my main influence and way of being. So, my days are a mix of coaching, counselling and supervising others while also studying and reflecting on my own developing and emerging practice and how this might impact on those I am working with.
I always find it interesting to notice how supervisees, like clients, are all different. Each have their own approach, techniques, unique selves to offer and differing views and expectations of supervi-sion. There are some who consider it’s for problem solving when they’re working with a challenging client and are feeling stuck. So, they look to me as supervisor to offer a solution. Yet when I resist the potential parallel process, the quality of thinking that emerges from the coach as to what’s hap-pening dynamically with their client and the insight they are able to draw on is heartening for me and empowering for them. That said, supervision is a great place to consider different models, ways of working and interventions - what might be appropriate and helpful for one client might not be as effective for another.
As a trainee therapist, I had the privilege of working with a supervisor who encouraged me to ex-plore my use of self and I bring this to my coaching and supervision work and my MA studies have recently brought this into greater focus. Counselling is mandatory for counsellors in training to de-velop self-awareness, but coaching is not regarded as essential for coaches. So I see supervision as a way for coaches to gain an awareness and understanding of who they are in the coaching re-lationship.
It has also been interesting to explore the boundary between coaching and counselling with supervi-sees who are qualified in one or other area and to compare it to those, like me, who are able to move along the boundary and possibly offer clients an integrated approach, therapeutic coaching. I often feel the tension where a client has goals influenced by their employer, yet my sense is that to work on a client's deeper seated anxiety. I recognize this deeper work , could be immensely helpful to both client and employer, and I need to be careful to contract for it appropriately. What can we ethically offer our clients in terms of competence and can we meet their needs? When can we stay with the client and when should we refer or signpost? What is really in the best interest of the client? Ethical issues like this can so often depend on the quality of coach-client relationship, the skills and experience of the coach. I enjoy drawing on my knowledge and experience to support the coach to recognise where the line is for them.
So, now I think it is time to wake the dog and go for a walk for my self-care and get some fresh air, exercise and a bit of mindfulness. Then I can return to work this afternoon with a clear head, feel-ing grounded and ready to meet and work with whatever emerges in the room with a willingness to see where it leads.
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