All Skills for Leaders Super-Vision Uncategorized

Developing Super-Vision: Seeing your work through seven different eyes

We all have one view of the world. Our view of the world. And we tend to stick with our narrative and interpretations, which we carry into the workplace.
But what if there was a way to see things with the benefit of 7 fresh eyes?


We all have one view of the world. Our view of the world. And we tend to stick with our narrative and interpretations, which we carry into the workplace. As leaders we are expected to have the answers, so we hold on to the views which have served us well thus far.

But what if there was a way to see things with the benefit of 7 fresh eyes?

We work with a Seven Eye supervision model (established by Peter Hawkins & Robin Shohet*) to enable you to see things from multiple fresh perspectives. This approach separates different aspects of work and relationships so that each can be examined and explored, providing you with new information to help you understand your underlying dynamics and behaviours. Working in a facilitated group, you can develop your leadership impact as you understand more about yourself and develop a wider view of your world.

Eye 1  

Through eye 1 we focus on the person or team we are in our working relationship with.  What did we first notice about them?  How did they enter the room?  What are their strengths, their weaknesses?  Where are their cultural origins? What did you notice about their pace, tone, energy, posture? Sit and reflect on who they are and how they are with you (individually and as a team).  For members of a team, turn your focus to ask: who is the appointed leader? Who is the psychological leader? Who makes the decisions? Who holds the team’s history?  

This eye encourages us to be curious about those we are working with. 

Eye 2 

If you keep doing what you’ve always done, should you be surprised when it doesn’t work? or surprised when it does?  

Through eye 2, we focus on the interventions that have been tried so far. This is an opportunity to really explore what we have done and be more aware of what choices were made.  We look at what has worked and what did not work as expected, asking questions like: What made you choose this approach? Was it habit, or something else? What reaction or response did you get? How did you interpret it? What are you trying to achieve? What are your options for what to do next? What are you hesitating about doing? What is making you hesitate? 

This may be an opportunity to share a new tool or model. It may also remind you of approaches you’d forgotten about. 

Eye 3

How we work together is the foundation of successfully doing work together 

Through Eye 3 we focus on the relationship between you and the individual or team that you are working with. For this, we invite you to take a step back and critically examine the working relationship between you. What has been agreed between you? What are you expecting from them and what are they expecting from you?  What are you assuming and what has been agreed in conversation between you? 

It’s easy to make assumptions about respective roles and responsibilities. It’s also easy to focus on the work you are doing and the task at hand, and not pay attention to how you work together. In coaching and supervision, we call this the “contract”.  Unspoken assumptions often work well until something goes wrong or one of you does something that breaks the other’s unspoken expectations. The “breaker” may not even be aware that they have done something “wrong”, and be totally surprised and even upset when taken to task for something they assumed was ok and mutually agreed upon. This eye sheds light on the relationship and enables you to set about creating stronger, more open and trusting working relationships. 

What if there was a way to see things with the benefit of 7 fresh eyes?

Eye 4

The success of an intervention depends on the interior condition of the intervenor

Bill O’Brien

This is the Eye through which we focus on you and what is going on inside you as you work with an individual or a team.

This eye allows you to become more aware of your own habits, your assumptions, and your embodied reactions to other people and situations. We will ask questions like: What does this person (or team) evoke in you? How does your body react when you meet them or think about meeting them? Who does this person or team remind you of? What was your relationship with that person or group like? When have you felt these feeling before? How is your response to them helping you or hindering you from doing your best work? 

Eye 5

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. 
Today, I am wise, so I am changing myself.


Eye Five highlights the possibility that what is going on in the Super-Vision group may also be appearing in your work relationships and your organisation.  Is there a parallel between how you are showing up in the group and your experiences at work? Where might you be getting entangled? Are you feeling frustrated, angry, connected, inclusive, annoyed? If so, where else in the system is this appearing?  

Eye 6

“You have to grow from the inside out”

Swami Vivekananda 

The beauty of Eye Six is that you are supported by the collective wisdom of the group. As they listen to your meaning-making, they may have an insight or perspective to offer you to deepen your learning and broaden your view. You benefit from multiple eyes now sharing feelings, images, metaphors in response to your experience.

Eye 7

“The only true voyage of discovery, the only bath in the Fountain of Youth, would be not to visit strange lands but to possess other eyes, to behold the universe through the eyes of another…”

Marcel Proust

This eye removes you from all the entanglements and details you may find yourself caught up in. This eye takes you up into the balcony to give you a 360-degree view of what is going on in the wider system of: 

  • the people 
  • the organisation 
  • the wider influences in your life. 
  • the environment 
  • the economy  
  • who else are you bringing into work with you – teachers/parents/old bosses/relatives and friends? 

What might you notice about all of these – what needs attention to support you now? 

What is out of your control?  What are the threats, opportunities, and resources out there? 

Sounds helpful…?

We have 2 spaces open in our new Super-Vision Group, starting on the 10th August, for leaders wanting to develop their leadership awareness and style ready for their next role. Contact Doug or Liz to find out more, or register your interest by filling out the form below.

Please choose the group that fits best to you.

*This model was originally established by Hawkins (1985) and was subsequently developed with colleagues from Centre for Supervision and team development and later with the Bath Consulting Group. (P Hawkins and N Smith. 1985 (reprinted 2011). Coaching, Mentoring and Organisational Consultancy, supervision and development. McGraw Hill: Open University Press.)

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