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Wendy Buckingham / Creator, Life Coaching Professionally
Coaching Supervision or Mentoring can be something to consider for all stages of your life coaching career but particularly in the beginning of your career. Learn what the difference is and how to find the best match for you.
When you start coaching, your head is packed with information and coaching scripts and you may feel a bit nervous and unsure when it comes to going live with real clients.
So there are huge benefits in having someone more experienced to hold your hand and give advice as you get started, and continuing to be there for you once you are established.
And knowing you have another qualified, experienced and
empathic coach who you can check in before and debrief after the
session makes it
all so much easier and less confronting.
Having ongoing coaching supervision or mentoring throughout your coaching
career, not necessarily with the same coach, will keep you
professionally on track, challenged and up to date.
Separating the functions of coaching supervision and mentoring may at first seem like
semantics as they initially appear to be completely interchangeable.
But there are significant differences and it is important to understand these so you can decide which will work best for you.
In a paper prepared on supervision for the conference of the Chartered Institute of Personal Development (CIPD), a couple of years ago I found this description of supervision. "A structured formal process for coaches, with the help of a coaching supervisor, to attend to improving the quality of their coaching, grow their coaching capacity and support themselves and their practice. Supervision should also be a source of organisational learning.”
Coaching Supervision claims to take the process to a much higher (and more supervisory) level than coaching mentoring and requires a more formal training level.
It is claimed to really enhance the experience of both the coach and the client.
A good number of life coaching schools are now offering training and certificates or diplomas for experienced coaches in the growing specialty of supervision.
You can read more about coaching supervision and supervisors at the site of the Association of Coaching Supervisors.
This is a much less formal process, though ideally it does have structure. A mentor is considered to be someone who has "been there and done that" and may give the mentee coach help and advice beyond supervision. The " there and that" may simply be that they are experienced coaches or it can include what they bring to their coaching, such as marketing or other experience in a particular coaching niche.
For instance, a mentor coach with a business background who specialises in coaching and mentoring small business owners should be able to offer advice to the mentoree from their own experience.
Many coaching schools have their
own internal mentor programs where experienced graduates who have been
coaching for some time guide those who have just qualified.
Some experienced coaches also make a specialty of becoming a paid mentor for new coaches where no such service is provided by the school. The International Coach Federation (ICF) has a list of accredited mentors on their website.
Mentor coaches sometimes hold the credential "certified mentor coach"and may be accredited as mentor coaches by independent associations.
It's worth checking if coach training school you are considering enrolling in includes mentoring for graduates? Some accredited schools offer coach mentoring as a follow-up to their training, and have a list of coaches you can contact to set up the mentor/coach relationship.
The mentoring may be free or there may be a fee, which will may or may not be less than is charged for normal clients.
These are a great option as not only are they more affordable than one-on-one but you have the opportunity to hear and relate to the challenges and wins of your your fellow coaches. Again some schools provide a free network of such groups that meet either face-to-face or by phone.
I once created a "Remote" phone coaching group for the graduates of Results Coaching Systems which was a great success in that it allowed regional and even overseas coaches, who could not get to a face to face meeting, to get together to share experiences and be mentored by each other.
Some supervisors and mentors specialise in helping coaches work towards obtaining a credible life coaching certification with an independent credentialing body, both individually and in groups. They will be familiar with how obtaining the credential should be approached and guide you to most easily and efficiently meet the particular credentialing criteria required.
Different coaches may specialise in different areas of mentoring or supervision or be qualified enough to coach you through every issue that you as a new coach may have.
This checklist will help you find the right coach before signing up for mentoring or supervision. And they don't have to be local - the sessions can be just as effective when done over the phone or using Skype to have your sessions.
I'd also recommend you read fellow coach Liz Haeberlin's experience My Path to Finding My Mentor Coach Liz describes the process that led to her ideal mentor coach match and you can really learn from it..
I think that just about covers it, and I invite you to add your own experiences comments and suggestions.
I'd love to have your experience to share and benefit other visitors to this site.
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