Coaching Supervision at its B.E.S.T.

By: Jackie Arnold


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Size: 148 x 180mm
Pages : 208
ISBN : 9781845908621
Format: Paperback
Published: March 2014

Coaching Supervision at its B.E.S.T. contains clear strategies and real life case studies and can be used in all settings where there is a need for effective and efficient coaching supervision. The specific clean questioning technique allows the supervisor to remove assumptions and have an insightful and eagle-eyed view of the whole supervision spectrum. The book follows closely the requirements for the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) Level 7 Masters level qualification in Coaching Supervision. Covers: workplace supervision, executive coaching, business coaching, career coaching, life coaching, management, leadership, business management, professional support, clean language, metaphor, symbolic modelling, team building, communication and professional effectiveness.

Chapters include:

  • The Purpose and Principles of Coaching Supervision
  • Before Supervision
  • Reflection and Awareness During the Sessions
  • The Supervisee
  • Supervision Methods
  • Supervision Models
  • Tools and Techniques
  • Supervision Quality Assurance and Review
  • Future Trends and Supervision Research

This practical guide can be used by leaders, coaches and supervisors in business, education, health and public services. It is highly recommended for ILM 7 Supervision Qualification Candidates at ILM Centres all over the UK and EU.

Picture for author Jackie  Arnold

Jackie Arnold

Jackie Arnold is a former board member of the UK ICF. She is also an associate coach/consultant for Notion & the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, delivering executive coaching programmes and consulting on building a coaching culture. She uses Clean Language Methodology as a Coach Supervisor and is Ambassador for CSA and The Association Of Coaching Supervisors.

Jackie is a prolific author and has written books on public speaking plus three on coaching & supervision in the workplace. She presents at international conferences on Leadership and Management Coaching & Supervision.


  1. This is a practical textbook (and small enough to be carried easily in a bag as a handy reference guide). It describes the principles and good practice of coaching supervision in organisations, and provides case studies and scenarios to illustrate supervision in practice. A key foundation of Arnold's approach is the use of -˜clean language', originally developed by psychotherapist David Grove, which is designed to keep the practitioner's assumptions out of their interventions in order to work directly with the client's perceptions. Arnold's experience is that clean questions (ie respecting the client's choice of words rather than paraphrasing them) create a particular space within which the supervisee can think and reflect, allowing new insights to arise. Chapter 1 -˜The Purpose and Principles of Coaching Supervision', provides a definition of the clean approach, a description of coaching and a breakdown of what -˜super-vision' involves. The BEST in the title refers to Build the coach/client supervision arrangement Engage the supervisee on a variety of levels, Support and sustain the supervisee, and Trust the supervisee to take responsibility for their learning and development. Clean language in supervision is illustrated by a case study and the chapter ends with an excellent exercise with preparatory questions for the supervisor about the organisation and themselves, for the supervisee preparing for supervision, and finally for organisations to consider, including the purposes, practicalities, measurement review and evaluation of supervision. Chapter 2, -˜Before Supervision', provides a flow chart of the process of supervision in an organisational context and an exploration of the role of the supervisor and the impact that supervision can have on individuals and teams. For anyone new to supervision, this chapter breaks the process down into simple elements. There is a focus on coaching presence, with some exercises to help centre the self before the supervision session. This rather long chapter continues with an exploration of contracting within organisations, and some input on working with strengths, beliefs, attitudes and values in supervision, along with an experiential exercise.

    -˜Reflection and Awareness during the Sessions', Chapter 3, contains a checklist of questions for the supervisor to run through belpre and after the session, which will help to develop their internal supervisor and which are very useful indeed, particularly for the supervisor in training. A focus on how to provide -˜clean feedback' is followed by several case studies.

    Chapter4, The Supervisee', is very short and could perhaps do with a little more material. It might be useful to link here to other supervision frameworks, such as the seven eyed model of supervision, which is referenced in a later chapter, to make this chapter stronger. Chapter 5, -˜Supervision Methods', outlines different types of individual and group supervision, again not in very much depth but quite rightly acknowledging that group supervision is a particular skill that needs further input and training.

    -˜Supervision Models' are described briefly in Chapter 6, with an outline of each. A description of the seven-eyed model is followed by useful examples of clean questions that can be used within it. The circle model, devised by Arnold herself, and the Full Spectrum Model (FSM) developed by the Coaching Supervision Academy are briefiy outlined. This is followed by a section on Time to Think (Nancy Kline) and working with clean language and metaphor, both of which can offer a great deal to the process of supervision but do not seem to fit particularly well in this chapter.

    Chapter?, -˜Tools and Techniques', provides easy to understand introductions to transactional analysis (TA), the Karpman Drama Triangle, Clean Space and the use of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) in coaching supervision, and illustrates how they can be applied using case studies and exercises. -˜Supervision Quality Assurance and Review' in Chapter 8 reprises the benefits of supervision, focuses on where supervisors can find relevant codes of ethics and practice and outlines some ethical dilemmas that have arisen in the author's own supervision practice. The section on evaluation might benefit from some examples of evaluation questions. The review element consists of a few questions that the stakeholders might want to consider when reviewing a whole programme of supervision.

    Finally, Chapter9, written by Paul Raben-Christensen, is entitled -˜Future Trends and Supervision Research'. The author of this chapter argues that supervision may provide a more effective space for leaders to process and think than coaching itself, based on his own research, although he does not include any links to the research itself so its extent and validity seems hard to determine.

    The book ends with some references for practitioners wishing to gain coaching supervision qualifications, and for those currently in training.

    For me, it would have been useful if the title had also emphasised that this book is about coaching supervision at its best in organisations. I was intrigued to review it because I assumed from the title that it was a generic approach to coaching supervision, and initially the very context-specific nature of the book (although a key strength for those in that situation) was for me a little puzzling. While it can help to have illustrations in the text, I wasn't convinced that the pictures were entirely appropriate as they seemed a little whimsical and not always directly related to the text. The book is clearly laid out and well illustrated with case studies and scenarios. Most of the writing is clear, although January 2015- Coaching Today 3 occasionally there is some repetition, which detracts slightly from the power of the point. The book is aimed at those in a supportive 01 leadership role within organisations, and also those who are receiving supervision and want to get as much out of it as possible. I think for this readership this book would be an excellent choice as it clarifies the processes of supervision and the systems that support it very well.
  2. At first glance this book is written for those who supervise coaches in the leadership and management field; however, it's more than that. This book is a gem for managers who may wish to either coach their employees themselves, choose what sort of coaching to engage or determine how effective coaching is being in trying to improve an individual or team.

    There are plenty of case studies to illustrate each point or theory and exercises for the supervisor to complete in order to consolidate understanding. As such, a non-coaching specialist should be able to understand the basics of coaching without having to delve into academic theory; in fact, the absence of deep psychological theory, far from detracting from the credibility of the book is a particular strength as it will not deter the non- specialist. The BEST in the title is an acronym for Build, Engage, Support, Trust which is the sequence of events suggested, by the author, for an effective coaching intervention.

    There are no startlingly new theories in the book but it does build on grounded theories and as such it will be straightforward to follow and implement the theories and exercises.
  3. I was curious about this book and keen to see how beneficial it would be in practice - for many years I have promoted the development of supervision as the vital support for what can be increasingly complex work, especially in the Social Care sector - Jackie's book is realistic and relevant and could not have come at a better time. Her messages and lessons are needed now more than ever before to build and maintain the positive relationships and well-operated systems that will be crucial as financial and functional belts get progressively tightened. The difference that quality supervision makes to staff, teams and organisations will be increasingly apparent as traditional methods of reward and recognition become less feasible to provide.
    Jackie deals with any subject with warmth and clarity, which in this case enables the reader to benefit from her common sense, practical treatment of supervision. Her wealth of experience and real-life examples enrich this comprehensive book and it is packed full of useful exercises and approaches that will enhance supervision.
    Jackie addresses key important issues such as the need for contracting and the importance of reflective practice. She brings together a range of useful models in a way that makes sense. The case studies and examples she gives illuminate the lessons and bring the potential for positive change alive. By integrating clean language with existing models she adds value in a refreshingly accessible blend that will prove invaluable if adopted and practised by individuals and teams alike.
  4. When reading this book I could visualise Jackie saying the words in front of me and this helped bring it alive as I was both seeing and hearing the information.

    I liked the size and layout of the book and whilst at the beginning thought the pictures were unusual by the time I was half way through I rather looked forward to finding them.

    As always the frameworks/processes are excellent along with the exercises to try.
  5. This latest book in the field of coaching supervision is a valuable addition and actually draws our attention to the need for supervision in a much wider context than coaching -”for leaders, managers and mentors in organisations. Its layout, style, illustrations all contribute to a welcoming book, easy to read and full of useful exercises and case studies and make it easy for anyone to pick up and use the ideas and tools irrespective of any prior supervision training.

    I was pleased to read the depth in which Groves' Clean Language is presented -” probably more extensively than in in any other coaching supervision text to date. The various Clean approaches form such a powerful contribution to supervision techniques that they would benefit any supervision relationship and Jackie Arnold explains them in a truly accessible way.

    The whole style of the book is a handy guide, full of clearly-presented models and approaches to supervision, including the Seven-Eyed Model and Transactional Analysis as well as Clean processes. The author also explores how the supervisor creates the conditions in which excellent work will happen, including the preparation of both the supervisee and supervisor. All in all a practical, easy to read and valuable book.
  6. Watch Brian Birch's audio review on YouTube:
  7. ILM is pleased to validate Coaching Supervision at its BEST as an ideal resource to support the ILM Level 7 Certificate and Diploma in Coaching Supervision qualifications.

    Coaching Supervision at its BEST is a deeply practical text book which will be great introductory or core reading for a Coaching Supervision qualification at Level 7. It provides an overview of the principles and practice and covers many of the areas within ILM L7 assessment criteria and indicative content. It provides an extremely useful and accessible guide to coaching supervision best practice, looking at coaching supervision before, during and after the undertaking.

    For the ILM one of the real strengths in the text is the exploration of coaching supervision within the organisational context and the types of challenges this raises from the perspective of various stakeholders. The author covers contracting in depth and explores the ingredients for ethical and effective supervision throughout. Different approaches to preparing for and undertaking supervision are described and discussed, focusing on the use of clean language in supervision and weaving in a range of other
    models, tools and techniques. The author offers a range of case studies to illustrate points of practice and the reader is challenged throughout to reflect on his or her own practice as a supervisor with deep questions and practical activities.
  8. I found the book very accessible -” the language is easy to understand and concepts are communicated clearly and efficiently (not laboriously). This makes it an enjoyable read. I was surprised to find that it extended not only to supervising coaches who are learning their skills (similar to a counseling context) as I expected, but also to the supervision of employees within the workplace. Upon reflection, why of course it would be highly beneficial to conduct such conversations in a similar fashion -” empowering through adult learning principles - and it is great that the book is able to give attention to both. For our context, I think at times it may be a bit confusing for our supervisors being mindful of both types, as certain language is less applicable within our educational context (HR supervisor, Line Manager etc), .), because they are supervising students, but I do not see this as a major problem.
    Helpful illustrative examples are given, along with author's notes, transcript examples and personal case studies. The reflective spaces are good (where the reader can jot down some thoughts in response to a question) and more could be included.
    Some excellent exercises are given -” very practical. There are also many offerings of encouragement that are valuable e.g. “Sometimes just doing enough with the resources we have is highly effective. We do not need to be perfect. We couldn't hold back the river that day but no matter; by slowly and patiently working out what we could do we had an excellent result”.
    The chapter around the Supervisee is a valuable one, one that could even be elaborated on -” it is quite short.
    Excellent questions are shared as well as models and tools that I think our team would find useful.
    I will get a copy of this for our library and will consider getting a copy for each of our coaches involved in supervision.
  9. This book focuses on a self-developed model using the acronym B.E.S.T., standing for:
    B -” building strong, open and trusting relationships, within a safe environment and a focus on outcomes, with a confident mindset
    E -” engaging through rapport, deep listening, involvement throughout, and -˜clean' in use of language
    S -” supporting by providing constructive feedback, using metaphor, and encouraging potential
    T -” trusting by the sharing of knowledge, experience and skills; encouraging responsibility for their own leaning and growth
    Overall, a very useful addition to the current growth of books concerned with coaching supervision. Besides the models and references I expected, there was a noticeable connection for me with Clean Language -” not surprising as Jackie is a Clean Language advocate.
    The book is well-structured and comprehensive in it's coverage of the topic, referencing other authors, websites and relevant models, and is peppered with case studies, examples, dialogues and clean language mentions throughout.
    The book appears to be aimed at leaders and managers who coach or key people who have a wider responsibility for coaching development within an organisation, perhaps as part of creating a coaching culture. It also will attract existing coaching supervisors who wish to extend and be current with their own development and CPD. There is relevance for students studying for ILM qualifications in coaching and mentoring, but the ILM links are wisely not overplayed here.
    Whilst BEST does contain a lot of known models and techniques from related fields, such as NLP, TA, Flow, Presence and Mindfulness, it summarises them neatly without too much repetition and skillfully avoids becoming an academic tome full of weighty references.
    I found the case stories surprisingly engaging and noted down several points for further reference.
    The content covers core principles and tools like contracting, definitions, plus useful sections on before, during and after supervision sessions, aids for reflection and awareness, energy flow and mindfulness, plus a good review of the 7 eyed model used extensively in coaching supervision.
    I found the last two chapters lacking in real depth; the Future Trends and Research chapter was a bit lightweight and lacking in any current insight. I wonder whether the author could have drawn on recent research to strengthen her assertions.
    For me, by far the most interesting aspects of this book were the numerous references and case study -˜interviews' that bring the text alive. Jackie has a lively and engaging style of writing and shares examples and applications from both her professional and personal life.

    This is a good addition to the bookshelf for those aspiring to develop coaches under their wing. It provides many practical frameworks and models to take supervision forward either individually or for a group or team.

    This book will appeal particularly to champions of coach development who wish to include supervision in their strategy to take their organisation forward, as part of an overall people development strategy.
  10. Coaching supervision at its B.E.S.T. is a lovely straightforward introduction to simple, powerful processes to engage coaches and supervisors in reflecting on their own practice.
    This book is a fantastic resource for supervisors wanting to expand their practice to include clean language questions and introduce metaphor landscapes to encourage deep reflection. It is also a fantastic resource for coaches wanting to think deeply about the kind of supervision they need for their own professional and personal development. It ensures that coaches are being held in the same exquisite, non-judgmental, rigorous attention that they wish offer to their clients.
    Clean questions, Clean Feedback and Metaphor landscapes support you, as the supervisor, to be completely present to your supervisee's experience and perception. Alongside these clean processes, Arnold outlines excellent contracting processes to ensure you are paying due diligence to all of the stakeholders involved in the coaching process.
  11. This book is an excellent guide to the field of 21st century supervision practice.

    A quick look at the contents illustrates the thoroughness and range of the J Arnold's discourse on supervision. She is superbly informed -” largely because of her long experience and the depth of her training.

    Coaching Supervision at its B.E.S.T. develops current supervision literature by highlighting recent developments in supervisory practice - practical and theoretical. Arnold covers key supervision models and gives an excellent overview of working with Clean Language in supervision -” the first available text on how to use this model in supervision.

    The writer's enthusiasm is contagious, the writing is clear and the chapters are full of examples, new insights and new tools for the reader. This is a rich and rewarding read.
  12. As a fellow founder with Jackie of the Association of Coaching Supervisors, our vision, was to raise the profile of super-vision to coaches so they could understand the importance of supervision so they could do a better job for their clients the next time they coached. Until I read this book I thought the only way to get the message across was actually have a supervision session. What I like about the book is that not only does it get the message across to coaches but there is a clear understanding for companies and organisations too. The case studies bring supervision to life and the exercises are excellent for supervisors, to remind us of the importance of reflection and mindfulness. We all get wrapped in the pace of life and by taking our time reading “Coaching Supervision at its B.E.S.T.” will make us better supervisors too.
  13. This book is aimed at coaching supervision but also encompasses supervision in a wider sense to include managerial supervision. It provides a simple and useful model of -˜BEST' as both a structure and a checklist for supervision. The case studies and personal anecdotes are excellent and really draw you in to what actually happens in supervision. Finally. It is wonderful to see a coaching supervision book that takes a -˜clean' approach and includes lots of valuable references to Clean Language.
  14. Coaching Supervision at its BEST' will be a very useful handbook for new, as well as experienced coaching supervisors. It is a timely addition to the growing field of coaching supervision -” a vitally important component of any professional coach's development. And what is really interesting and innovative about this book is how it applies Clean Language and other 'clean' approaches to coaching supervision. Coaches from all schools will benefit from their supervisors using the methods clearly explained in this informative book.
  15. Jackie Arnold's new book provides a fresh perspective on supervision drawing on clean language and a wide range of techniques including NLP and psychology. The book offers a practical approach and offers something new which readers from diverse perspectives can take away and use in their own supervision practice.

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