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Developing your HR Super-Vision

Human Resources seem to be increasingly responsible for the conscience of the company and for the health and well-being of the organisation, and are often required to navigate multiple simultaneous relationships with line managers, leadership teams, exec boards, and individuals. Whilst professional qualifications support employment legalities and important processes and procedures, it seems to us that there is little in place to support the personal growth of the HR professional as they manage a broad range and depth of relationships and boundaries with complex human content. Liz and Doug explain how a coaching relationship can help HR professionals.

Liz Nottingham
Doug Montgomery

When we completed our coaching supervision course a few years ago, we noticed that there is great value in offering a coaching supervision framework for the HR professional.  

Why do we say this?

HR teams in all organisations are responding to major life events, sickness, bereavement, stress, and relationship challenges on a daily basis. A counsellor, social worker, and coach would be provided with supervision as a given to support their work. Yet HR teams are often left without any support.

The changing role of Human Resources

Human Resources seem to be increasingly responsible for the conscience of the company and for the health and well-being of the organisation, and are often required to navigate multiple simultaneous relationships with line managers, leadership teams, exec boards, and individuals. Whilst professional qualifications support employment legalities and important processes and procedures, it seems to us that there is little in place to support the personal growth of the HR professional as they manage a broad range and depth of relationships and boundaries with complex human content.

HR professionals hold a lot of psychological complexity in confidence. 

Liz noticed that, as a HR professional herself, she “wished that she had found supervision much earlier in her career; a space to reflect on her interactions with others and to learn more about herself. Who we are is how we shape our HR practice.”

Questions for reflection – an invitation

As you reflect on your HR role, ask yourself: 

·        Who am I in relationship with others?

·        How am I in relationship with others? 

·        What is the impact of these relationships on me? 

·        How do I manage dual and complex relationships? 

·        What patterns am I noticing in how I interact with others? 

·        How do I do what I do? 

·        Who can I talk to about this honestly and in confidence?

We think that the CEO and the HR director have the loneliest positions in the organisation. They are the company confidants and are privy to multiple layers of classified knowledge within the business. Everyone they talk to in the organisation has an agenda. In addition, navigating what is happening across relationships as multiple characters share their stories may sometimes be complicated, confusing, and contradictory. HR professionals hold a lot of psychological complexity in confidence. This takes a toll, and needs attention to manage well and so that you notice what you may be drawn into.

A bald eagle circling in the air.
HR Super-Vision offers you a new vantage point

What is supervision?

 “Supervision is a working alliance between two professionals where supervisees offer an account of their work, reflect on it, receive feedback, and receive guidance if appropriate. The object of this alliance is to enable the worker to gain in ethical competency, confidence and creativity as to give the best possible services to clients”. 

(Inskipp and Proctor, 2001)

How does supervision work?

Working in either groups or in a one-to-one relationship, supervision provides a safe and non-judgemental space for the supervisee to reflect on what they did and why and how they did it. This gives space for people to share their doubts, their concerns, and their anxieties in order to learn about themselves. The consequence of not doing this reflective work is that we do not question and explore our patterns, assumptions, and triggers and therefore, through lack of awareness, do not give ourselves the resources to change and to grow.

As the supervision relationship grows, this in turn ripples out into the relationships you are having within the organisation.

The supervision relationship provides a space for learning as you work with new models, methods and tools to examine relationships and dynamics between people. The supervisor is in service of your growth and development.

As the supervision relationship grows, this in turn ripples out into the relationships you are having within the organisation. The quality of the supervision relationship is then modelled by you, as this emerges in the relationships within the business. Conversations change, interventions change, and in turn the relationships change.

Why Super-Vision for HR?

Many HR professionals are drawn into a HR career because they want to help people, to solve problems, to give advice, and to be in service of others. To be fully available for others, though, we first need to take care of ourselves. 

To perform our roles we need to develop and nurture our super-vision. 

And if we are ourselves do not have the resources, how can we possibly offer our best self to others? 

“The quality of the intervention depends on the interior of the intervener.”

Robin Shoet

Who are we?

The authors, Doug and Liz, are independent accredited coach supervisors and experienced business leaders from different industries.  

Doug’s a former research scientist and senior leader in the pharmaceutical industry and now runs an independent executive coaching and coach supervision practice. 

Liz’s background is in senior HR roles, supporting and developing senior leaders. We both trained in coaching supervision at the Coaching Supervision Academy, where we learned that “Who we are is how we supervise”. We base our supervision offering on the premise that “Who you are is how you coach”.  

For further information and conversation about what this could mean for you, contact Doug or Liz via email to arrange a call, or sign up for one of our HR Super-Vision introductory workshops.

One reply on “Developing your HR Super-Vision”

Aw, this was an exceptionally nice post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to produce a really good article… but what can I say… I hesitate a whole lot and never manage to get nearly anything done.

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