As someone who has been supervising internal coaches for a number of years, I appreciate the unique challenges this form of coaching brings. As well as the challenges of the coaching relationship, internal coaches often face other challenges that can consciously and unconsciously impact their practice.
Examples of these unique challenges for internal coaches include:
Managing the power dynamics of senior managers who may ask coaches to breach boundaries
Balancing their role of coach with their day job which may impact their ability to be fully present for their clients or be able to offer the time that is needed for their clients’ programmes
Being part of the same system, knowing the same people and being subject to the same culture
Conflicts of interest and role conflicts where the line blurs between line responsibilities and coaching
Finding themselves part of a performance management process or disciplinary procedure and managing boundaries and ethics around this
As an external supervisor my role is to provide internal coaches with a safe, supportive and confidential space to explore their coaching issues and challenges. Within this space coaches can reflect on their current practice, talk about it, explore different perspectives, experiment and learn – becoming the best coach they can be for their clients and the organisation.
The benefit to the organisation
For the organisation, supervision provides an oversight of the quality and effectiveness of the coaching. In addition, supervision allows for common themes to surface, be discussed and consolidated in a confidential space. These themes may help the organisation focus their people development and other support processes adding further value and benefit to both the organisation and employees.