Growth and flourishing
How does Alison work in supervision? In this video she talks about the values which inform her practice, why people come to her for supervision, and the importance of coaches developing in who they are, as well as in what they do.
‘What underpins my work is my deep-seated belief that I can contribute to my client’s growth, development and learning. My starting point is a very strong belief that my client has the potential to flourish.’
The three pillars of supervision
One of the most exciting developments to come out of Alison's doctoral research is a new model of supervision, which she describes as the three pillars of supervision. This model underpins the way she works, leading to genuine change, learning and growth in the people she supervises. See the three pillars in this diagram.
‘The three pillars are the supervision relationship, an understanding of adult learning, and promoting reflective practice.’
Alison talks about the three pillars of supervision in this video, and read more about them below.
The supervision relationship
Many years ago, the tutor on my Masters degree offered the statement: ‘If we take care of the emotional wellbeing, we will get the work done.’ I have been practising that ever since.
As we work together, I ask everyone I supervise to pay attention to our relationship. If we can learn what goes on between us, that in turn can affirm and inspire the person I’m supervising to go and be in a fruitful relationship with their client. For me, this is one of the most powerful aspects of the work of supervision.
For my part, I’m absolutely committed to my client’s learning, development and growth. The relationship and learning we build together is often a source of inspiration and delight to me – and I believe it powerfully contributes to their confidence and inspiration, both personally and professionally.
When we feel safe, and we feel able to share our thoughts and feelings without any fear of judgment, that’s when we have the conditions for positive change to take place. It’s then that we can open up with our doubts, hesitations and vulnerability – and that’s where true learning comes. We learn about ourselves, and in turn we can enable genuine learning with our clients. Creating safe, trusting and non-judgmental space is the bedrock of what I do.
A large part of what I do (and enjoy doing!) is helping my clients develop new skills, tools and models, and gain a new awareness of methods to use when they go out and do the work of coaching.
The reason why I do this work is because I am passionate about learning, which I believe is at the heart of everything we do. I’ve been facilitating people to learn for as long as I can remember. With my cumulative experience of line management in organisations, running my own consultancy business, executive coaching, and supervision in executive coaching, what I do is rooted in my own wide experience and depth of research.
I strongly believe that reflection on how we work is the key to developing in our practice and avoiding the experience of getting stuck. If we stop and look at what we did, question why we did it, and explore new ways of being and doing, we can find the space to change, free from repeating our old patterns.
That’s why I encourage my clients to develop good reflective practices. As they capture recurring themes, patterns and new learning over and above what arises during the actual supervision sessions, they develop their own form of ‘internal supervisor’.
Initially, a coach may come to supervision because they want to do things differently with their clients. However, I believe that who we are informs how we are able to do the work. So I invite my clients to bring all of themselves – whether it’s actual work issues, or life events, that may be impacting on their emotional, physical and mental wellbeing – and invite them to explore so that they can grow as whole human beings.