Well, what a way to end my first week at work in 2021!! Our very first Co-Supervision Space session with the AOCS was last 8th January 2021) and those taking part received it even better than we dared hope!
By the way: If you are not sure what Co-Supervision is all about then do look at any of the earlier blogs: Co-Supervision Space Blogs.
The event sold out within 24 hours of us marketing it and blew us away and there was a significant ‘wait list’. We asked ourselves “Would everyone turn up?” (By the way, 50% of participants snapped up the February spaces as they left the session and as of now we have just one AOCS Member space available!)
Well, the answer was “yes” with just one exception who had technical problems accessing zoom from a different country – yes, we were international too with members joining us from Canada, Europe, and Asia Pacific. We’d also created a wait list, just in case people had to change their plans. We wondered – would people remember to cancel in time for others to join? Again, the answer was “yes”; two people cancelled, and we managed to offer those places to those on the wait list – and we were able to be “fleet of foot” about it – one replacement occurred on the morning of the event. Agility in action – thanks to Yvette for making this happen.
In this session we focused on three techniques that came from the Eclectic Chapter of 101 Coaching Supervision Techniques, Approaches, Enquiries and Experiments, edited by me last year. We invited participants to experiment with one of the techniques taking the role of supervisor, working in triads with one colleague working as the supervisee and one as the observer.
Of the three techniques we offered, the most frequently chosen (41%) was “Misfits” – an exercise using a children’s card game to help work with metaphor to explore our coaching identity or signature. In the plenary there was some enthusiastic sharing of experience including observations and tips about how the exercise unfolded. It appears there are two “routes in” to this exercise, one is more granular, where a narrative accompanies the process of choosing each part; the other is more about the “whole” where supervisees can only explore meaning once everything is “in place”.
There were some more specific learnings too which I have shared elsewhere and if you are willing, please do build on those comments and contribute to our combined learning.
29% of participants practice both the other techniques Seven Conversations (by David Clutterbuck) and Exploring Boundaries (by Angela Dunbar). Such was the enthusiasm around the Misfits exercise that we were unable to give these remaining techniques equal air time in the plenary. This is a point of process that we need to revisit before next time. However, in discussing Seven Conversations it highlighted how a technique like this, where the intention is to broaden perspective works best when that is what the supervisee calls for from their supervisor.
One of the principles of Co-Supervision is that it is the place for the Supervisor to practice a particular technique. So, we are doing quite the reverse of what we might normally do, which is to look at what the supervisee brings and then choose an approach that would be congruent with this. Nonetheless, good learning and a reminder of what happens when we elect to work with a technique that says more about us, than it does our supervisee or client. Again, the AOCS team is giving some thought to how we need to brief future delegates.
By contrast the experience participants shared regarding the Exploring Boundaries technique illustrated just how much is possible in a short period of time when the technique chosen is a perfect match for the issue in hand.
We ended the session with a word cloud from Mentimeter (note to self to have the link ready to go into the chat box in future!) and we received an array of beautiful words. The question was “How are you leaving today?” and we show the answer above. At the time words like connected… enlightened…empowered….encouraged … drew me to them. I was basking in the affirmation of a team effort and a job well done.
As I sat down to write this blog…I noticed one word in small text in the word cloud that I had overlooked – that word was “grown up”. For me that says it all, it’s the reason for wanting this initiative to happen. When we take the risk to experiment and practice something for the very first time alongside our peers, the people from whom feedback is both valuable and terrifying at the same time; we have to ground and connect with our Adult self. This kind of ethical practice is intentionally challenging for us all, it requires us to work on our “edge” and thanks to AOCS we now have a place where we can do so from a place of psychological safety.
If you would like to experience this for yourself, join us at a future event – the next one will run 5th February arriving at 12:45 for a 1-3pm session. You can book here Eventbrite.
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