Internal coaches face a unique set of complexities in their roles. These challenges include issues surrounding:

  • Multiplicity of roles
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Confidentiality
  • Boundary management
  • Capacity building
  • Power dynamics
  • Ethical dilemmas
  • Bias of institutional knowledge
  • Duty of Care

There are a number of ways that these challenges can be managed or ameliorated, including:  developing a robust organizational coaching philosophy and purpose; developing guidelines, policies, and practices; and setting expectations and agreeing on important aspects of the coaching engagement upfront; including around reporting and confidentiality. A coach who is a member of a professional body also has recourse to any code of ethics.

However, initial contracting will never be able to cover every situation that may arise in a coaching engagement. Similarly, recourse to organizational policies and professional codes of ethics will never be able to cover the myriad of unique scenarios that an internal coach might face – this is where engaging in reflective practice and supervision becomes critical.

How can Coaching Supervision benefit Internal Coaches and their organization?

Recent research has described the impact of coaching supervision on both the Internal Coach and on the organization. These benefits include:

For the individual internal coach

  • Building a sense of community amongst internal coaches
  • Increasing confidence and experiencing less self-doubt
  • Strengthening motivation to do more coaching

For the organization

  • An opportunity for harvesting the learning from multiple coaching engagements
  • Building coaching capability and capacity
  • Development of, and commitment to, coaching within the organization

In our own research study, we offered coaches an experience of supervision with a qualified experienced coach supervisor and explored their understanding and perception of supervision before and after the experience.  The internal coaches in our study reported a number of benefits from supervision that were distinct from the way external coaches perceived the value of supervision.  Internal coaches:

  • Valued the independence of an external supervisor. They felt able to open up with someone outside the organization in a way they would otherwise not have been comfortable with.
  • Noticed an immediate ripple effect from their supervision sessions to the organization. For example, they brought insights back from supervision and shared these with other internal coaches, talent professionals, and leaders within the organization.
  • Developed their capacity to look at the bigger system – recognizing some of unseen internal and external dynamics that affect their coaching practice.
  • Gained a better understanding of the influence of culture and power dynamics, including their impact on coaching outcomes and the expectations the organization had of coaching.
  • Felt they were better able to navigate multiple roles, hats commitments, and expectations.

Coaching supervision for internal coaches can play a critical role in providing ongoing support and development that helps coaches become, and remain, fit for purpose to coach in complex organizational settings.

Find out more

To learn more about what coaching supervision is as well as its value and benefits, read our longer article that goes deeper.

If you’re interested in finding out more about training as a coach supervisor, visit our website.




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