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.