Coaching supervision – a practical guide

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Finding the right coaching course can be very confusing! There are different qualifications, different bodies accrediting them, all sorts of names and price points. We often find people who enquire about our courses come to us a bit baffled and mystified. However, most people muddle through and find the right course for them.

Coaching supervision – adding another layer of confusion?

I have recently decided to undertake an advanced coaching supervision qualification. As a coach trainer, I do plenty of observing, feedback and supervision to coaches in training. I wanted to stretch myself so that I can offer a better service to my coaches, and also to work with more experienced coaches. After many calls, emails and visits to websites, I sit with my head in my hands!  

Here are some things I discovered:

  • There is a really wide range on offer. From day courses, to masters level qualifications
  • The range of what is offered in courses is really wide. Some focus on the nuts and bolts of running supervision sessions. Others link it really strongly to deep introspection and high levels of self awareness
  • The range of qualification types is also very wide. Masters, ILM qualifications, qualifications that cover all the helping professions,  unaccredited courses, company’s own internal qualifications. This makes it incredibly hard for the thorough coach to pick the “right” qualification
  • It is definitely a “guru” environment, with big names being bandied about. One course claims to have the “founder of the most important coaching supervision model” leading the course. Another provider claims that “their book is the blueprint for all coaching supervisors.”
  • There is little on offer for the supervision of “everyday coaches”, those coaches who work within organisations, coach occasionally and need periodic support. Most of the supervision courses seem to be focussed on supporting advanced coaches with deep, thorny problems
  • The main coaching industry bodies don’t offer a clear accreditation process for supervision training providers. So there is no definitive list of providers for us to choose from
  • And following that, it is not even clear whether coaching supervisors need a qualification to operate as supervisors

There are probably other challenges and imperfections in what is available, but these are the main ones that come to mind. I have found myself increasingly confused, uncertain, trying to work out whether to book for one provider or another.

Finding a supervision course is incredibly frustrating 

As you can probably tell, I have been finding this increasingly frustrating! As an experienced coach and trainer, I think I know what I am looking for when choosing a training provider. I will make my peace with it, make a decision and move on. 

This has got wider implications than just for me. The whole coaching industry is impacted by it. One of the things that we are acutely aware of is the lack of acceptance as a mature profession. In comparison with parallel helping professions, like social work and  therapy, we lag behind in our amount of rigour and consistency. No one can just “say” that they are a therapist or social worker, unless they have a qualification. But anyone can say that they are a coach, and whether they are qualified may not be called into question. The confusion and lack of clarity about coaching supervision training adds to this, and it is a missed opportunity. If supervision training AND coaching supervision were better regulated, it would be a great platform for professionalising the way coaching works.

Who will take a lead on this? I call on the coaching bodies, in particular the ICF, EMCC and AC, to be clearer in their regulation of coaching supervision qualifications. The ICF, in particular, being the world governing body for coaching, could definitely take action here. They are brilliant in how they monitor and regulate coach training, so it would not be much of a stretch for them to apply the same criteria for coach supervision training.

Every coach can also take a lead. We can engage in having regular supervision. And we can ask our supervisors to share what their supervision qualification is. It is imperfect, but it is a start.

Final words 

This is the first time I have written a “rant” blog. I woke up this morning and had to get all this down – which is very different from my usual, methodical way of planning my blogs. This has touched a nerve for me, and I am keen to provoke some change. Coaches – who will join me?

Happy coaching!

If you were stimulated by this article and want to know more about how to use coaching for your career, your organisation or your life generally, then get in contact. Email us at or book in a time for a 30-minute phone or Zoom call  

We look forward to hearing from you! 


If you were stimulated by this article and want to know more about how to use coaching for your career, your organisation or your life generally, then get in contact. Email us at or book in a time for a 30-minute phone or Zoom call  

We look forward to hearing from you! 

Charlie Warshawski is a leadership coach and coach trainer. He runs an accredited coach training organisation, Love Your Coaching, offering coaching qualifications. In his coaching, he works 1:1 with leaders, business owners and entrepreneurs, supporting them on topics that are both professional and personal – according to their needs 

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