Executive Coach & former chair of Justice Institute of B.C.
Jeanine: Hello and welcome to this week's episode of the coaching and leadership podcast. I'm super delighted and excited to introduce our special guest today Lynn Harrison who is a professional certified coach and both Marie and I have met Lynn through a course that we're undertaking at the moment which is a certified Coaching supervision course.
So this is what both Marie and I are undertaking at the moment and it's been an amazing journey of self-discovery as well as learning these beautiful skills of supporting coaches to go even deeper with their coaching practice. So I'm super grateful to Lynn because I've had the fortunate experience of working with her more closely in terms of the practice of the supervisory skills.
So, we thought this would be a great opportunity to look at what are the benefits of coaching supervision: how it enhances our practice. Before we dive into it even further I'd love to introduce you to Lynn Harrison. So welcome Lynn.
Lynn: Thank you. It's a pleasure to be here.
Jeanine: Great. Thank you so much for your time. And Lynn we would love you to introduce yourself to share who are you and what are you about with our audience.
Lynn: OK thanks. Well I'm from Canada and I live in the Vancouver area. I've been a coach for over 20 years and I work primarily with executives and leadership teams and I get a place to work where the focus of my research has been on working with abrasive executives or abrasive people in coaching which is really fascinating to me.
I love doing this coaching supervision program not only because I've gotten to know you Jeanine and also Marie but it's really opened my eyes to some of the things that constitute really good coaching and coaching relationships because being in a supervisory role - it's taken me back to some of the basics which is really valuable.
Jeanine: Yeah it does, it does really do that doesn't it? It takes us back to the basics but also deepens, really deepens the understanding of those basics. And again, just opens up so many amazing opportunities of learning and growth. And that's what I've really enjoyed and it just seems to take in all sorts of different concepts and ways of coaching.
So Lynn, for me it's been as I say very eye opening and I as I've realized the power of coaching supervision, I thought why didn't I do this so much earlier because of the power of it? So just curious about your thoughts about the importance of coaching supervision.
Lynn: Well you know for me it was a relatively new concept. You know I'd heard about mentor coaching but I hadn't heard about coaching supervision. And so one of the things that I found interesting that was different about mentor coaching was the focus the supervision wasn't so much on the quality of my coach or the person I'm working with coaching - and you know building that that's part of it - but rather more building understanding of who they're being as a coach and sort of three parts set up really become apparent to me as one is the normative side of coaching. So looking at. The quality and adherence to professional standards and ethics and all of that but also the formative side which is how my going in developing and being as a coach. How my showing up and my being the kind of coach you need to be for my clients.
And then thirdly the supportive aspect of coaching supervision which is then helping a coach have time to reflect and restore their energy and just be with another experienced coach to spark ideas in dealing with the challenges that come with that profession.
Jeanine: Yeah. I love that Lynn. It's that, as you say, it's those three different elements the formative the restorative and also looking at the ethical side of things. And as you say a big part of this is really supporting a coach to - as you say - understand who they're being as a coach, and in that respect, it's very much like it often feels like a coaching session where the supervisor believes and trusts in the coach that's being supervised: that they have the answers within, which they are supported to find within that reflective space that's provided by the supervisor.
And I think that is really powerful versus my old belief about what coaching supervision was, which was potentially working with an expert who would be telling me what I was doing right or wrong. That was my own perception, but my eyes have been opened to how this truly works. Supporting the coach to be the best that they can be to learn from what's happened in the past and potentially if we are off track, as a coach, with say some challenges such as ethical issues, we've got someone to go to in a safe place to support us through challenge and also bring out our best potential.
Lynn: I was going to say, I was just picking up on your word safety because I think that's one of the most important things about coaching supervision.
It is a safe confidential place where a coach can bring whatever questions they may have: any sort of niggling concerns that might be on their mind, things they want to explore if it feels like you know, ‘gosh that's sort of on the edge, is that appropriate for me to do it that way?’
And with another coach who, as you say, isn't in a judging place, with an experienced coach who understands this work really well. And the two of you can sit down together and explore the options or the situation and help that come out of the supervision much more empowered and clear about what they want to do.
Jeanine: Yes. This is a beautiful gift that we can give ourselves if we choose to invest in being supervised.
Lynn: What I hear from the coaches I've been working with in coaching supervision so far is that they love having this safe reflective space where they can stand back from the work they're doing and just have an objective view at what's going on and how they're showing up and sit with another coach and look at where else might that have gone or what are some other alternatives - what insights might the coaching supervisor offer about the relationship or the coaching going on.
Jeanine: Yeah absolutely. And what comes up for me as you share that, is the power of us as supervisors when we bring ourselves in more, which is what perhaps might be a little bit different from coaching, although I know that Marie and I - and I'm sure you do as well Lynn, correct me if I'm wrong - bringing us into the supervision, bringing what's coming up for us. I know that that's what Marie and I do going into coaching, but it's not all the time, whereas in supervision, it is that place and space to bring in more of us into the supervision and do the mirror work to identify the parallel processes or the reflective processes that are going on. It is just so incredibly powerful and can create such great reflection. That's what's coming up for me as you share what you've just shared now.
Lynn: Yeah I think that bringing the here and now what's going on in the supervisory relationship and good coaching is a really powerful part of it.
You know one of the models we were introduced to early on, like the Seven Eye model I think is really powerful. It provides different lenses to be looking at the coaching and coaching relationship. And so you know eye number one is looking at it in terms of what's going on with this client, what's your coaching agreement? What did you contract to do? And then Eye Two is what are the interventions. So did you do a 360 with this person? What have you done so far? And then Eye Three is the relationship between a coach and their client and then I think eye Four, if we recall correctly, is what's going on in you as a coach? What are you noticing is showing up in yourself. And then the fifth eye is looking at so what's going on between us the coach and the supervisor - that parallel process you're just talking about, which again is incredibly rich material to look at. Surprisingly so to me. And then eye six is about what's going on in me as a supervisor? What am I picking up now what's going on for me emotionally, or may be in my body, or just intuitively that I might want to put out and see if that's helpful to the coach. And then finally what is going on in the whole context.
And I'm a systems thinker. And so for me paying attention to the organizational context or the system around the coaching is absolutely valuable. So that's been extremely useful. I've found in this process.
Jeanine: Yeah. And this course really encourages us to utilize those Seven Eyes as you said.
But more importantly Eye Four, Five and Six. So bringing more of that here now, what's going on between us, what are the parallel processes and potentially bringing some other fantastic - I don't know what you call it - in therapy transactional analysis - because that opens up potentially a whole new fields.
Utilizing this in supervision is something that I've - as I mentioned - I have used in my coaching but now I'm using these skills more often in my coaching, so I feel like the whole thing is just so richly enhanced what we offer as a coach. So I'm just going to check in with you Lynn how we how are we doing?
Lynn: Well I'm enjoying this conversation because it's providing an opportunity for me to be reflective about this work that it's been doing and the process we've been going through as part of the learning cohort. And I was just thinking as you were speaking about how this coaching supervision helps a coach go deeper in many ways and explore areas that they might not you know stop to think about. And then also what I said at the beginning about going back to the basics and kind of like, just really sharpening our coaching skills. I mean I got trained originally as a coach back in the late 90s and have had lots of experience since then and things have been changing in our profession. More has been added to our understanding of what makes for good coaching.
And so to sharpen some of those basics, add a layer on top of that - some other fine tuning that can help me be a better coach. Just working with other coaches has helped bring that to the surface more for me.
Jeanine: Yes. Marie and I were we're sharing what a diverse group that we are as coaches and how we all bring something unique and we learn from each one of us.
And. It's again been a truly enriching process with all these different styles. It's been very rewarding, very rewarding.
So what Lynn has been the most surprising thing that you are taking away from the supervision or the supervision calls?
Lynn: That's a great question. I think what's been surprising to me is just how appreciative coaches have been about having the time and space to reflect on their coaching and how they have been coaching. I think that being a coach can be kind of a lonely road at times.
And also as coaches we put out so much emotionally and other energy to be the best we can be for our clients. And so to have someone you can sit down with and receive supportive is encouraging. You know, just being listened to and being willing to receive some valuable, challenging, but also supportive questions. I just think there's such a need to have that time and space in our lives as coaches as we want to be good coaches for others. We need to have our own support now as well.
Jeanine: It's so true for me anyway personally. And I just wonder where I would have been where would I be now if I hadn't have done this. I feel like I have stretched so much and grown so much as a consequence of not only being a part of this because – not just the actual supervision, being supervised - but also having that practice of supervising others. And we've had to do a lot of practice between ourselves, and also working with our clients. So there's been a lot of practice involved, so it's been again incredibly rewarding.
Lynn: I also am thinking that the term supervision at least where I live in North America, going back to what you said earlier, it kind of connotes the idea that someone is overseeing your work and is going to critique it and so on. And what I've been doing now is, I take the word supervision, I divide it in half with hyphen: so it's super vision. And that's really for me when it's so much about us being able to step back and kind of see the territory from being thoughtful from a different perspective. In it and sitting down with a colleague, an experienced colleague, and together looking at things and just seeing what else we might see.
So I think having that time and space to just be there look at things with fresh eyes is really valuable, really powerful.
Jeanine: Yeah absolutely and yes I've done something similar as you with super vision and I've actually absolutely separated the two words: Capital S, capital V because it doesn't mean that old term of being supervised by an expert. In this context I believe it absolutely gives new awareness, new insights that comes from the person being supervised and again that great space and place to be able to explore - as you said - the Territory from different perspectives: from those Seven Eyes and so much more so.
So Lynn as we start to wrap up our conversation today what is it that potentially you would perhaps recommend to a coach who perhaps hasn't been supervised before? Who wants to develop their skills? What would you say to them?
Lynn: I would say; try it. Try it. I actually caught up with a coaching supervisor just this morning and it wasn't a really problematic situation or anything. I just wanted to know how I could, if I could be that much better as a coach and I got such incredibly valuable insights and I left the session feeling really up and ready to take on my next client.
And so I'd encourage other coaches to seek out a coaching supervisor and give it a go. And what I've also become aware of is just that it really is great to have somebody that you can reach out to who gets it. And who can help you see things you may be not seeing. And we need that in this work if we want to keep going as coaches.
Jeanine: Brilliant. Thank you Lynn. Thank you so much for joining us on this podcast today. Thank you for joining and sharing your insights. So look forward to potentially having you again in another format. It was great to have you on board. Thank you so much Lynn.
Lynn: Thank you. My pleasure.