24th JUNE 2021
Liz recalls that her supervisor, Elaine Patterson, helped her untangle her long and complex relationship with HR with the sentence “as the HR director, you hold the conscience of the company”. Her supervision training with the Coaching Supervision Academy (CSA) revealed the value of having supervision support available in a business setting. As she reflected on the multiple relationships held within an organisation, she realised that it is all too easy to be convinced by a single narrative. Furthermore, the HR team are in service of the business with limited time to attend to their own needs or to step back and see what is going on for their team, their task, and themselves as individuals.
Jo Birch, an authority in the field of coaching supervision, has been most supportive as we bring this approach to this often-forgotten group.
HR Super-Vision provides a safe reflective space that supports personal growth and helps HR professionals make an impact in their workplace. Within this space, we explore how we work and who we are in our professional relationships.
Members of the HR Super-Vision groups we have held over the past six months have told us that they truly value these group sessions. Participants are often new to this nature of this work and have had the chance to reflect on and learn from their experiences. In doing so, they have increased their confidence and have found themselves able to tackle the next part of their strategy, or to see a way forward through a complicated leadership issue. Coaching supervisor Shirley Smith has endorsed and encouraged this fresh approach as we bring our supervision methodology to this often-overlooked group of people.
Participating HR leaders tell us that they leave our Super-Vision groups feeling good about themselves. What makes them feel so good?
It turns out there are several reasons, and they relate to what questions or inquiry is brought by the supervisee. Here are a few examples:
“This is a time spent focusing on me and what I’m experiencing.”
Time is precious. In HR, we tend to spend it focused on others, helping them solve their problems. This is fine, but it often comes at the cost of time spent focusing on ourselves. It’s an amazing feeling to have the full attention of the group on you and the problems or challenges you want to explore.
“I often think I’m the only one feasting a particular problem or challenge and then discover but others are facing or have faced similar situations. The group brings such rich experiences and wisdom to tap into. It is easy to feel alone and that the problems we face are unique to us.”
Our group work starts by normalising such experiences. Participants often find this to be a huge relief, as feelings of embarrassment or not being “good enough” flow away, replaced by the realisation that you are not alone. Sharing your situation is the gateway to accessing the wisdom and experience of the group. This generates new ideas and new perspectives, and results in new choices for action.
“I came into the session feeling stuck and under-resourced. I left the session reminded of the resources and strengths and past successes I’ve got available. I came away feeling able to tackle my situation with fresh energy and a clear path forward.”
It is easy to feel overwhelmed and stuck with the sense that you’re surrounded by barriers. Sometimes we lose sight of our own strengths and resources. However, these can res-surface under an empathetic and appreciative enquiry.
The support of Super-Vision can help you to find a new stance in relation to whatever situation you’re in. With the help of the group, you can reconnect with your wisdom, resources, and energy. Within our sessions, we’ve seen people physically change their posture, growing taller, with heads held higher and their breathing calmer: ready for the path ahead.
As supervisors, we hold the space and gently guiding the session. We bring our care and attention to the group to co-create a safe place where you can think, share, and be seen. Our HR Super-Vision groups support and foster the resilience, resourcefulness and creativity of some amazing HR professionals, all of whom are learning how to look after their organisations without this becoming an emotional cost to themselves.
Who we are
Both Doug and Liz are CSA Accredited Supervisors with long corporate careers. You can meet them both here:
This article is a response to “HR in Post-COVID Burnout” by Emma Greedy