Coach in Organisations? This is the Most Powerful Ally You Can Have


Organisation as Unique Context

Coaches in organisational contexts face a number of challenges, often alone. Navigating the complexities of individual client relationships can be made even more challenging by issues relating to company culture, strategy or strategy changes, rough patches, office politics and difficult relationships to name a few. Remaining resilient is one thing, but responding effectively as a coach to both individual clients and the organisation as a whole is another. Luckily, there is hope.

A Simple Tool for Deep Insight

In my practice with coaches working through these challenges, using frameworks such as Hawkins and Shohet’s “7-Eyed Model” provides powerful perspectives on the various elements of the organisation/coach/client system.

As with our coaching clients, coaches too have blind spots and personal “stuff” which can get in the way of their optimal functioning, especially in intricate environments like organisations. Keeping the 7-Eyed Model of Supervision in mind, coach and supervisor can pay special attention to how each element impacts the coach, the client and the wider organisational environment, and vice versa. This exploration also provides a space in which the coach learns in a sustainable and rich way to resolve the immediate issues, and apply that learning to other current and future engagements. This is where things get interesting.

Leveraging the Core Issue

As a supervisor, I look out for a “core issue” in working with supervisees. This is the blindspot that once uncovered, yields that wonderful “ah-ha moment”, giving coaches clear vision of what’s at hand, relief and resolution. The core issue emerges within the unique methodology supervisors offer.

Misconceptions about Supervision

There are a number fallacies about what supervision is. Supervision is not,

  • working with core competencies (this is the domain of mentor coaching)
  • dispensing advice (this would have limited impact, and does not develop the coach’s own thinking)
  • coaching the coach (supervision may take a coaching style, but is distinct from coaching in methodology)
  • coaching the coachee through the coach (supervision works focuses on transforming the coach)

Instead, supervisors walk alongside coaches, investigating and transforming the coach’s thinking and thus the nature of their relationships with clients and the sponsors.

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