A practical guide to supervision
25th August 2016
More than two people in the room
9th September 2016

Can we work with any clients?

I am struck by a recurring theme at the moment which supervisees bring to our sessions. They share their frustration, boredom, apathy or sometimes even antipathy towards a particular individual who comes to them for coaching. I’m curious about what this may represent across my client group, and what may be happening in the wider world of coaching. Is this an acknowledgement that we cannot be all things to all people and at the same time be authentically true to ourselves?

So, what are some of the characteristics? The client comes to coaching persistently unprepared. They make no evident progress, because they are apparently unable to take personal responsibility to act. They ‘blame’ all sorts of reasons beyond themselves as to why they are not succeeding, changing or learning.

Several thoughts spring to mind here (among many possibilities). First, the client isn’t ready, willing or able to engage in their own process of change, but has been pushed, advised or cajoled into taking up their employer’s advocacy for coaching. Second, there is a bump in values between the coach (who is frequently self-employed and self-motivated) and the coachee (who is reliant on their job, but feels impotent to take action in their organisational system). Third, the coach projects their own frustration and impotence onto their client, when in fact they may wish to voice them towards me or towards supervision per se.

So what does the coach do? They are challenged to take on the client in good faith, they need the income, and at the same time they believe they can make a difference, however small, to affect or inspire their client to change, grow and learn. And thus they work within these constraints.

Photo: Natalia F.