Learning to facilitate creative collaborations in teams
1st March 2017
Smartphones, likes, addiction and trekking
21st March 2017

Managing the web of practical, psychological and professional contracts

I led an experiential workshop last week at the EMCC Conference in Edinburgh, exploring some of the key themes we often reflect on in supervision.

The workshop explored how the client-coach relationship lives alongside many other interconnected relationships: HR, line management, coaching sponsor, consultancy sponsor, coaching supervisor. How do we negotiate these diverse connections to ensure that we manage the expectations of everyone as transparently and ethically as possible? In addition to the business contract, how do we manage the professional and psychological contracts to ensure our work is effective for our client?

I wanted to give those who came to the workshop a lived experience of the explicit and implicit contracts which exist in any complex organisational system. We used coloured ribbons to identify the multitude of connections and interrelationships, looking at the practical, psychological and professional contracts described by Julie Hay in her book, Reflective Practice and Supervision for Coaches.

It’s sometimes very difficult for executive coaches to have access to all the people who impact the outcome of coaching. If there’s ignorance or lack of engagement, or even sabotage of the purpose of the coaching, then however committed the coach and coachee are to the work, it’s hard to attain sustainable change. But there are creative options available once we’re aware of the dynamics.

It was gorgeous to see everyone at the workshop entering into the spirit of play to explore this fascinating but challenging aspect of our practice. I was especially delighted by how people entered into the case study to bring the issues to life and deepen our insight and awareness.

For access to the workshop paper, please visit the EMCC past papers page. And if you would like to know more about group supervision, please contact me here.

I’m very grateful to Jan Portillo and Edna Murdoch, who tweeted with their thoughts and photos of the workshop:

Main photo: Jan Portillo