Blog: Techniques for supervisors


Supervision plays a key role in coaching and mentoring, and so we are delighted to offer some new resources specifically for supervisors. The first of these new resources is this blog. Over the next few months, we’ll be posting a series of posts focusing on supervision techniques. Each post, one per month, will showcase four techniques from Michelle Lucas’s new book, 101 Coaching Supervision Techniques, Approaches, Enquiries and Experiments. This resource is practical and bite-sized, for supervisors looking to expand their range. Our thanks to Michelle Lucas for sharing this resource.

two men talking

1. From picture cards to sensing

The four techniques explored here are: picture cards, which can be used as an arrival (or an ending) exercise; thinking pairs, where two people offer each other sustained listening; intentions and interventions, using the six categories of intervention; and supervision and sensing, a meditative self-enquiry to get beyond thinking to explore the senses. Download here

trees and sky

2. Trees, triangles and chairs

The four techniques explored here are: tree perspectives, with images of trees to stimulate right-brain thinking; guided visualisation, to help supervisees connect with the wisest dimension of themselves; drama triangle, to explore ‘hot buttons’ around the supervisee-client relationship; and three chairs, to explore issues from the perspectives of past, present and future. Download here


EMCC and supervision


The Global Code of Ethics requires that all EMCC UK members have regular supervision. For us, this is an important feature of any coach or mentor’s continuous professional development, so much so that it forms a key requirement of our very own European Individual Accreditation (EIA) process.

EMCC is a forerunner in this important area of development. In 2010 we issued the EMCC Guidelines on Supervision. In 2013 we piloted and launched the European Supervision Quality Award (ESQA), and in 2014 we launched the European Supervision Individual Accreditation (ESIA). If you want to know more about supervision, please download these key documents:

EMCC Guidelines for Supervision
EMCC Supervision Competence Framework


EMCC definition and purpose of supervision


Supervision is the interaction that occurs when a mentor or coach brings their coaching or mentoring work experiences to a supervisor in order to be supported and to engage in reflective dialogue and collaborative learning for the development and benefit of the mentor or coach, their clients and their organisations.

The purpose of supervision is to enhance the wellbeing, and develop the practice of coaches and mentors of all levels of experience. Supervision is considered a powerful vehicle for deep learning. Its benefits extend beyond the supervisee and include their clients and sponsoring organisations. We recognise the functions of supervision described by Hawkins and Smith (2013) as follows:

Developmental function – concerned with the development of skills, understanding and capacities of the coach or mentor

Resourcing function – providing a supportive space for the coach or mentor to process the experiences they have had when working with clients

Qualitative function – concerned with quality, work standards and ethical integrity

Supervision competence framework


EMCC supports the use of competence frameworks as part of a wider approach to the training, development and assessment of coaches, mentors and supervisors. The EMCC Supervision Competence Framework describes the skills and behaviours we believe to be associated with good practice in supervision. At the same time, we also accept that competence frameworks do not capture everything. For instance, qualities such as ‘personal presence’ and the ‘capacity to engage fully in the supervision relationship’ cannot be easily reduced to a group of capability indicators.

Therefore, when considering the work of the supervisor, we advocate an awareness of the whole person in addition to the skill-set they have to offer: ‘how they are being’ is equally as important as ‘what they are doing’. Please bear this in mind when working with the EMCC Supervision Competence Framework.

Supervision accreditation


EMCC has two types of supervision accreditation:

Individual supervisors of coaching and mentoring – ESIA
Providers of training for supervisors of coaching and mentoring – ESQA

Find out more on our accreditation page
Search for an accredited supervisor