Challenges in Supervising Internal Coaches

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Katharine St John-Brooks of Working Solutions is our guest speaker for this month's webinar.

Are there any differences between supervising internal and external coaches? Supervisors who have experience of both would say – yes, absolutely.

Internal coaches tend to have only 1-2 clients at a time so less to cut their teeth on. This can lead to less emphasis on discussing client issues and more on building skills, confidence and competence. They are also coaching on top of the ‘day job’ which can result in competing pressures and stresses and issues in their management chain. Then there are the ethical dilemmas that are more likely to arise for them – given that they are operating in a complex environment with overlapping roles and relationships.

And what about role conflict for the supervisors? Often the same external trainer will prepare a cohort of internal coaches and then take on the role of supervising them. How do they deal with any subsequent issues around the competence of their supervisees? Is this transparent in their contracts with the employer? And what if they also coach themselves within the organisation? Does confidentiality begin to become complicated?

One benefit to organisations of offering group supervision to their internal coaches is the opportunity it offers to harvest organisational learning. But do supervisors see feeding this back to the organisation as a ‘proper’ part of their role?

External coaches can contract with their supervisors to contact them ad hoc if an issue arises. But if there is no call-off contract with the employer how do external supervisors manage calls from internal supervisees between supervisions?

This Webinar provides space for exploring these issues and more.

Katharine St John-Brooks is an executive coach and consultant specialising in the strategic use of internal coaches within organisations. She is the author of ‘Internal Coaching: The Inside Story’, based on research with 123 internal coaches and interviews with L&D professionals, coach trainers, coach supervisors and coach sponsors (Karnac Books, 2014). Her new chapter on internal coaching was published in the 3rd edition of The Complete Handbook of Coaching (Sage, 2018).

Katharine holds an MSc in Organisational Behaviour, an MA in Professional Development (Coaching) and is a Fellow of the Institute of Consulting. In 2016 she founded EMCC UK’s Third Sector Coaching & Mentoring Forum which she chairs quarterly. She is also President of Link Age Southwark - a charity providing friendly volunteer support for isolated, older people that received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2018.

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