I was delighted and honoured to be profiled in the latest (March/April) edition of Coaching at Work magazine. The profile is based on an interview with the editor, Liz Hall, and I’m very grateful to her for giving me the opportunity to talk about some of the key aspects of coaching supervision that are most important to me, and for the positive way she’s written about me.
The profile includes many of the areas in my practice which have been fruitful for me. Recently these have included live group supervision demonstrations at conferences, and taking group supervision on location, into different environments. I’m developing both these aspects of my work this year, and I’m looking forward to learning alongside the people I’m working with. At the heart of my practice lies a fascination with the psychodynamics of how we show up and are impacted in group settings, influenced by our family of origin.
Perhaps informed by my own stage of development, my joy in supervision is how together my client and I co-create an evolving and emergent developmental process, rather than engage in a series of steps which can be calibrated and scored. I see supervision as ‘a place to explore, reflect and consider in, not where someone pushes or drives us towards a goal.’
I’ve learned so much from working with CSA co-founders Edna Murdoch and Miriam Oriss, whose adage, ‘Who you are is how you coach, supervise or work’, has been important for me. It was therefore perhaps natural that the profile would tell something of my personal story. I have lost two members of my family in the past few years, and together with personal therapy, I have found the tai ji and mindfulness practices from my teacher Ad Brugman have not only supported me, but also heightened my awareness of and capacity to work with the whole person in coaching and supervision.
What was very interesting for me in being interviewed for the profile was how it felt to share aspects of my personal story. As coaches and supervisors, we may tell our clients about the training or qualifications or accreditation that we have, but we are far less likely to talk about our personal lives or significant life events, which remain outside the room, at least verbally. And yet it is most often these very experiences that have enriched us, and from which we have learned about ourselves and our capabilities, and that in turn give us our uniqueness.
Growing up in Australia, trekking in the Himalayas, tai ji workshops in Turkey, deaths in the family, personal mishaps – they’ve all played a huge part in who I am and my capacity to be in relationship with others. In fact, these experiences add significantly to the tools I have gained on training programmes, and profoundly affect how I engage with my clients and their experiences. Through these experiences, I would say that I have a deeper compassion for my client and I am more able to suspend possible judgment. Quoting from my profile, this helps ‘my client feel safe, to dare to be vulnerable more often, more quickly and more deeply, and be able to bring more of themselves to us and the work, and thus grow.’
Thanks again to Coaching at Work for giving me the opportunity to talk about who I am and how I supervise. To read the full profile, please visit (and subscribe) here.