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It seems that there is no shortage of special causes which deserve a “day” of recognition – and coaching and coaching supervision is no exception.   The week commencing 7th May has been identified as International Coaching Week and within that week, Friday 11th is being heralded as International Coaching Supervision Day. In support of that day we wanted to share with you some of the stories of our AC Members who are Supervisors.

 

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Top tags: coaching  supervision  #rapport #adayinthelife  acceptance and commitment  group supervision experience calls  maggie joao  rapport 

Just a perfect day

Posted By Michelle Lucas, 01 July 2017

Many coaches when I meet them for the first time ask what prompted me to become a coaching supervisor.  In truth I became a coaching supervisor by chance – it wasn’t something I had planned.  However, now that I’m here, there is no place I would rather be! 

My portfolio is roughly 50:50 coaching clients and supervision clients – with the occasional coach development programme thrown in for good measure. Of all of this, it is the supervision work which I enjoy the most.  There is a wonderful energy working with coaches who are passionate about their own development – and the nature of supervision relationships also means that we tend to work together over a longer period of time. 

So what does that mean for my “average day”?  Well, a couple of weeks ago, I had an almost perfect one.  It was a Friday, a day when many coaches choose to work from home and so it usually has a supervision focus.  I am based in Weymouth, Dorset – which is pretty much a long way from anywhere – and so being able to work via phone or skype is really convenient for me.

In the morning I had two individual supervision clients – both of whom were trainees at the same coaching school where I had trained. So on both occasions I had to be careful … managing myself to bring just enough of that shared experience to keep rapport, whilst watching out for the potential for collusion. The first session was fascinating, we discussed two of her 4 practice clients. She also shared that she was struggling with “how to reflect”.  This is a common “confession” and one I too have struggled with in my own journey as a reflective practitioner.  I see the role of supervisor as a flexible one and so I donned my “coaching the coach” hat to support her to create a specific action plan.  By contrast with the second supervisee, we spent the whole hour exploring her experience with one client. The phrase “peeling the layers of the onion” was very apt. I find it intriguing how certain clients offer a disproportionate amount of learning.  

In the afternoon I ran two supervision groups – whilst they each had the same structure, I needed to take a very different approach with each of them.  My groups have a flexible attendance, so on each occasion the mix of participants will be different.  Some will have worked together before, others will be working with people for the first time.  This level of variety and complexity suits my personality style – I like to keep things fresh, yet at the same time I recognise that in a group supervisees need a sense of stability and safety. 

Therefore before each group session, I put considerable thought into how this particular configuration of coaches are likely to be feeling about the group supervision call.

For those who are quite new to group supervision (or new to my group) I keep in mind my own sense of anticipation prior to my first group supervision experience (which felt like jumping off the 10 metre board!) For those who have worked with me many times, I notice a sense of reassurance as I relish what wonderful topics they might bring, and my level of trust in how they will bring their insight to support their peers.

In my reflections on one session I noticed it provoked a moment of insecurity for me.  The way in which the coaches worked together was so mature and insightful that I wondered what value I had provided over and above what they brought themselves. Perhaps paradoxically, part of me welcomes this “wobble” – I remember an article by Eric de Haan who suggested that self-doubt is where great questions are born!

Looking at my diary for the Friday I knew I was going to be busy.  So it was important to manage my energy through the day.  Living by sea and being a dog owner, the start of the day is a well-oiled routine.  A brisk walk across the seafront to blow away the morning’s cobwebs and I am then ready for the day ahead.  At lunch time, I have found that the mindful colouring books are a great “fix” – 10 minutes of left brain activity is very generative. Of course as small business owner there’s no shortage of administrative tasks to manage.  So even when I have a busy day I tend to use these activities as “fillers”.  And this day was no exception – I discovered an unpaid invoice mid-morning and was able to chase for payment and get a response before the day was over.  As I said earlier – pretty much a perfect day!

Michelle Lucas

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Dancing my dance - enhancing my presence

Posted By Jo Birch, 01 July 2017

The Edinburgh morning sun streams through the glass door in my office. I breathe in… deeply… smiling. This is joy - meeting the music of life, of connection and of contribution. Inside I am the free spirit of Isadora Duncan’s barefoot dance – using ancient form in the creation of contemporary movement. I twirl. This…this is my dance, and this dance is my work – being in service to the people who choose to work with me, providing supervision, coaching, psychotherapy…and working with colleagues in business and charity endeavours.

I bring myself into presence, being present with myself in order that I might be fully connected to the other. The essence of being together – the foundation of my work. How do I continue to sharpen and develop this capacity in myself? 

Today is Thursday. Thursday is Tai Chi morning. On some mornings I might run from the house, ungainly and without grace, along the prom and use the sea breeze to uplift my spirits…but on a Thursday, whenever possible, I drop into a still space of ‘form’.

I arrive. After many years of qigong, I am now learning Wudang taichi. I’m the least advanced. My learning affected by frequent travel and missed sessions. We chat and smile, and enter our warm up. As we circle the room I drop into space with myself. My heart, mind and will come together and I find the rich stillness in the movement. This ancient art, precise small actions linked together into a graceful form, stimulating acupuncture points, aligning me, bringing me home to myself. Here, my body and spirit begin to fill. 

An hour or so later, as I leave the session I applaud my recently acquired skill of making diary appointments spacious. Good work Jo! I cycle home slowly.

In the afternoon I have a skype supervision session with my own supervisor. More enrichment!  Before the session I prepare, glancing over my list of people. Who shall I bring today? What relationship is calling for attention? What do I least want to bring? I lift up from the list…what else is around for me that might impact on my work? What am I celebrating this month? What are my general struggles? I sketch out some ideas for the focus of our session. Sometimes I follow my loose plan, and, more often, my thinking takes me elsewhere. Magic unfolding!

I bounce out of my supervision ready to move. My office is in the garden so I walk around and chat to my spring shoots! I peep from a distance into the darkness that I know houses the blackbird’s new nest. I water the pots. All this supports my insights from supervision to settle within me.

I check my diary. Today I have an evening session with a fairly new supervisee and a late call to a colleague in the States.

I usually work until around 9pm. I check my diary again, and laugh at my compulsion to do so! What do I have in the morning? Ah! I see Friday starts with a supervision session with a coach in Asia Pacific, then a tutor call with a student on the UK Diploma in Coaching Supervision. Friday is always a busy day. I close my diary. 

I focus on the supervisee about to arrive….ah yes. I remember where we were last session. I wonder what our focus will be this evening. How will we dance together? I settle in my chair and simply breathe in stillness for 10 minutes. I am already with you. Come.

Jo Birch

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