Tackling dilemmas and difficulties in the coaching process: does supervision help?
by: Andrew Day, Erik de Haan, E., Charlotte Sills, Colin Bertie & Eddie Blass.
research report in: Proceedings of European Mentoring & Coaching Council (EMCC) Annual Conference, 1 – 3 November 2006, Cologne.
Appeared in revised form as Chapter 8 of Relational Coaching (2008).

This paper presents the findings of a qualitative research study into Critical Moments in the coaching relationship.  Interviews were completed with a total of 28 experienced coaches.  The research highlighted that critical moments are unforeseen and characterised by heightened emotions and tensions within the coaching relationship.  

Many of the Participants felt that these Critical Moments provoked significant anxiety and doubts for them.  They reported that Critical Moments were either potential opportunities for insight and change in the Coaching relationship or led to some form of deterioration or breakdown in the Coaching relationship.  Their accounts indicate that the outcome of these moments is influenced by the Coach’s containment of the Client’s anxiety and the level of reflexivity within the coaching relationship.

Coaches reported using supervision to help them to make sense of Critical Moments, to gain reassurance that they responded appropriately and to learn from these moments.  These findings demonstrate the importance to the Coaching process of personal insight on the part of the coach, reflexivity in the coaching relationship and emotional containment by both the Coach and Supervisor.

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