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Coaching Supervision Left Behind


New research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) reveals that although there’s been a dramatic growth in coaching over recent years, very few organisations are supporting their coaches with supervision.

And by leaving supervision behind, organisations may well fail to get the best value from their coaching services.

According to the research, released to coincide with CIPD’s annual coaching conference, just 44 per cent of coaches say they are receiving regular supervision, and only 23 per cent of organisations who use coaching are providing coaching supervision.

Despite this limited use of coaching supervision, the picture has improved significantly in recent years – with 58 per cent of those coaches receiving supervision having begun the process in the last two years.

Eileen Arney, CIPD coaching adviser, said: “Supervision is really only beginning to be established in the coaching profession. We know that it can yield enormous benefits for coaches, for their clients and for the organisations which employ them.

“There is a growing minority of coaches and organisers of coaching who are committed to developing models of supervision which meet the needs of the coaching profession.

“This research has shown what organisations need to do to get maximum benefit from their coaching services.”

The report identifies the elements of good practice in coaching supervision, which include ensuring it:

  • Takes place regularly – gaps of more than six weeks between sessions are not recommended, and a ratio of approximately one hour of supervision to 35 hours’ coaching (or 20 hours’ coaching for a trainee) is recommended.

  • Provides support and professional development for the coach – using reflective learning to constantly improve practice and performance.

  • Quality assures the coaching provision – developing common understanding of what good practice looks like and making sure that individual practice is opened up to peer scrutiny.

  • Generates organisational learning – so that the outcomes of the supervision benefits the organisation as well as the coach and the supervisor.


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