In the Hot Seat

​"I was just sitting there with the client and I thought, 'Oh no, what do I do now?'"

This experience of being stuck in the hot seat, of feeling trapped on the horns of a dilemma, is one that most experienced coaches recognise. In fact, the coaches who don’t recognise complexity, difficulty and ambiguity in their work are the ones to worry about the most.

In this situation we are unsure what to do or what to say. We can often think of an immediate course of action, but is that the best course of action? What might be the implications? Do I have the personal strength to see it through? This is where coaching supervision comes into its own.

Coaching supervision may be defined as a formal relationship between a supervisor and their supervisee (the coach) which occurs when the coach brings his or her coaching work experiences and reflections to an experienced coach supervisor with the aim of engaging in reflective dialogue and collaborative learning for the benefit of the coach and the coach’s clients.

Coaching supervision emerged from similar supervision relationships of coaches with backgrounds in therapy, nursing and social work. Drawing on this work, Professor Peter Hawkins and Nick Smith (now members of The Henley Centre for Coaching) set the scene for the sector by defining the three main functions of effective coaching supervision as ‘qualitative’, ‘developmental’ and ‘resourcing’.

The qualitative function provides quality control in working with people. All coaches, no matter how experienced, have issues they don’t see and communication they haven’t heard. The developmental function addresses the skills, understanding and capabilities of the supervisee through the reflection and exploration of the supervisee’s work with their clients. The resourcing function provides emotional support, enabling the coach to deal with the intensity of working with clients.

Supervision has become an expected part of coach CPD over the past decade. It is recommended by all the main coaching bodies, and as a result most professional coaches now engage in some form of supervision, be it one-to-one, team or group supervision.

Henley has introduced formal supervision as part of the Professional Certificate in Coaching (PCiC) programme, providing support through supervision sessions during the full 9 months of the PCiC programme. Other domains have also responded to the benefits of supervision and its focus on reflective practice: occupational psychologists are currently discussing what role it has to play in psychology, and those interested in leadership development are looking into supervision as a means to reflect in a different way on their engagement.

Henley’s new supervision programme – Professional Certificate in Supervision (PCiS) – aims to take supervision to the next level. We have drawn on the UK’s first and most successful programme, created by Bath Consultancy Group, and reimagined it using new ways of learning, new ways of working with groups and responding to the news challenges facing coaches, psychologists and leaders.

The result is an EMCC accredited supervision programme, which we believe combines the best of a global business school with a practical programme that will support your ongoing development as a coach, consultant and leader. Henley offers you the opportunity to engage with the leading names in the field of coaching supervision, including Peter Hawkins, Nick Smith, Gil Schwenk, Eve Turner and Jonathan Passmore. The PCiS, along with the PCiC, is set to become the mark of quality supervision.

Professional Certificate in Supervision
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Contact Us

If you have any questions, please contact our programme advisor, Rebecca Brown by email at exec@henley.ac.uk or by phone on +44 (0) 1491 418767.