Why does supervision matter?

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 10.40.38I ran a session for doctors in the West Midlands last week who volunteer their time to mentor colleagues. The session focussed on why mentors (and coaches) need supervision. 

‘Supervision’ – it’s an unhelpful word though. Supervision implies a policing or checking that is thrust upon us and is unwelcome. However, if done well it can be incredibly useful and important. 

The CIPD (Chartered Institute of Professional Development) highlight three areas that supervision for mentors/coaches should cover: 

  • qualitative function (checking and reviewing the quality of the service you offer – needs to be done no matter how experienced you are)
  • developmental function (reviewing your skills, understanding your capabilities through reflection and exploration)
  • resourcing function (provides emotional support enabling the mentor to deal with the intensity of working with clients)

To read the CIPD paper detailing this click HERE. These three areas form a useful structure for reviewing your practice and CPD as a mentor or coach. Looking after the service you deliver (whether paid or volunteered) needs to take a high priority as you are often working in a isolated way. 

And it can be a lonely experience. Obviously the information you hear and help people with is confidential, so you are often absorbing lots of personal experiences that are sometimes uncomfortable for the person you are supporting. Having the resource to deal with this is important. That’s why similar professions like psychologists have regular supervisors. 

If you don’t have a supervisor what should you do?

  1. If you are part of a organisation scheme see if you can buddy-up with a fellow mentor to start the process of review and development. Or, see if there is a lead mentor in the scheme who can offer this option. They should be qualified and experienced. 
  2. If you are a lone mentor, see if you can reciprocate with a fellow mentor/coach you know who you can share the supervision with. Or, Consider hiring a mentor or coach to support you. 

The EMCC (European Mentoring & Coaching Council) and the CIPD recommends that mentors and coaches should receive regular supervision, usually calculated on how many hours of mentoring you are doing per month. For example, at least every two months or 1:35 ratio of supervision to coaching.

The bottom line is, you need to look after yourself and strive for continuous improvement because as we know, being a coach or mentor is exciting because it is a continual learning process.

Executive coaches are typically seen as being professionals, and compared with other professions, such as therapy and counselling, where supervision has long been an essential part of continuous professional development, quality management and the maintenance of boundaries, especially in terms of client protection. Mentors, by contrast, have typically been seen as amateurs – less well-trained, operating in an unpaid capacity. That assumption is increasingly questionable.. David Clutterbuck.

To see the standards the EMCC set, click HERE 

David Clutterbuck on Supervision for Mentors Click HERE

If you would like to talk over your development call me on 0754 0593476 or email me at 

alexishutson@yahoo.com

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