Great Business Ideas: Coaching and supervision

Great Small Business Ideas to Start: Coaching and supervision

Coaching is a vital leadership skill, and an area of business that has grown dramatically in recent years. The challenge, however, is to ensure that coaches inside and outside the organization are as effective as possible. Supervision provides an important part of the answer.

The idea

Executive coaching is highly effective, increasingly popular, and expensive. The business has grown fast, and inevitably has attracted people who are less than qualified. The challenge, therefore, is to select a coach with the right level of expertise, who will provide a return on the investment. One key element in making this decision is whether the coach is supervised. This involves an experienced expert providing objective and confidential support to the coach. Supervision is often neglected, yet it is vital for several reasons.

If someone supports the coach another perspective is brought to bear, so clients receive two experts for the price of one—especially valuable when faced with complex, intractable issues or difficult choices. Also, by providing feedback, supervision helps ensure quality: an important issue in an industry without regulation where anyone can call themselves an executive coach. In fact, supervision is fast becoming the standard for coaching. The Association for Professional Executive Coaching and Supervision (APECS) highlights the fact that an increasing number of major corporations now require coaches to be supervised.

A supervisor also contributes to the coach’s development, and protects against burnout. A significant hazard among professional coaches is that they will either stray into deep psychological waters with their client, or fi nd themselves psychologically affected by the work and its pressures. A supervisor can help prevent the coach from losing focus or objectivity, and protect them from the inevitable stresses.

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It is recommended that a typical coach meet with their supervisor for 90 minutes once every four to six weeks, although this depends on the number of clients and the complexity of the assignment.

A supervisor ensures that the coach’s relationship with their client is not compromised. Above all, a supervisor makes a qualitative difference to the coach’s work. This is hard to quantify, but it undoubtedly improves the coach’s effectiveness and the return on investment (RoI). Coaching is expensive, so this qualitative method of improving RoI can be significant.

In practice

  • Ask the candidate to coach you for ten minutes. This will give you a real sense of how they work, and also help with the “chemistry test”—a vital step to establishing rapport and building trust.
  • Make sure that the coach works from where you are. In other words, they should use whatever tools and processes fi t best with your needs.
  • Find out the extent of the coach’s knowledge of adult learning and behavioral understanding. Remember to be cautious: anyone can claim to be a coach. What models does the coach use? How deep is their coaching expertise?
  • Take up the coach’s references and assess their experience. Do they have the right level of practical expertise? What have they achieved, and what else, besides coaching, do they do now?
  • Check whether the coach is qualified. There are an increasing number of professional qualifications.
  • Finally, go for a coach with a supervisor. This shows that the coach is confident and open, it can help to challenge their perspective, and it provides a measure of reassurance.
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