Making sure we are fit for purpose
8th August 2018
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14th November 2018

How live demonstration leads to deep learning and insight

Photo of Alison Hodge leading a live demonstration of supervision

Ten years ago, whenever I heard someone was doing a live demonstration in coaching, I would think, ‘Wow, how incredible!’ It was fantastic to see another professional working, and I wondered whether I could ever dare to do this. What I was fearful for was whether I could be ‘perfect’ in word and method.

If I fast forward to now, over recent months I’ve done several live demonstrations with coaches and supervisors. To start with, I aspired to get it ‘right’, striving to be word perfect, and provide an ‘impeccable’ supervision session, aiming for great results with the client.

However, what I’ve come to realise and appreciate is that even in a live demonstration in front of other professionals, it’s ok not to be word perfect, and in fact, being un-word-perfect is such a rich and deeply human experience. In the imperfection we share together, we discover that we can do some fabulous relational work.

Working one-to-one, or in a closed group setting with clients, only my clients and I may be aware of my/our imperfections. But sharing live practice with other professionals in public, and seeing how each of us manage ourselves and the work is very powerful, and there is such rich learning for us all.

For the purpose of the demonstrations, I’ve usually done group supervision in a ‘fish bowl’ format, where we form an inner working circle, with the audience watching from an outer circle. What I have found particularly inspiring is how, in the moment when the participants come together and contract to do some supervision, they are able to focus completely on our inner group and be present to our work.

I’m struck by the thought that if they are able to engage so wholeheartedly in a demonstration and can suspend their own fears of being judged or assessed, how present they can be when they are with their client and not being watched or observed. It’s wonderful.

After one of my recent demonstrations, one of the audience members commented:

‘So lovely to see the power of diversity in action in the practical demonstration of group supervision. Seven people from seven different countries bringing their different and rich perspectives to bear. Fabulous! Highly skilled and emotionally intelligent coaches/supervisors bringing their experiences together and sharing their learning and their vulnerabilities so openly and so creatively.’

Where this takes me is to continue to explore the value for us all of providing live material to work with in supervision, with our clients’ permission, of course. And what we can learn from each other in our differences and imperfections in doing this work.

I’m leading a webinar in EMCC’s Live Practitioner series on 24 September 2018, where viewers can see a live session of supervision and ask questions at the end of the session. For more information and to book your place, visit Webinar: The Live Practitioner