It’s a balancing act

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I am doing a course on Coaching Supervision with work, and as with a lot of courses that are worthwhile it has got me thinking how some of the ideas discussed will inform my practice.

Coaching Supervision is essentially an element of the wider discipline of supervision for helping professions, such as Clinical Psychologists, Therapists, Nurses, Social Workers, etc. Now this got me thinking about leaders right across all industries, leaders essentially experience similar stresses and tensions to helping professions. Now I know for some this may be controversial but being an effective leader is a helping professional.

Helping professionals generally have 3 masters that compete for time and attention, sometimes they are in harmony and sometimes they are in tension. These masters are:

  • Their own lives (their well-being, home lives)
  • The recipients of their help (patients, clients, customers, or in the case of leaders their team)
  • The sponsors of the help (the organisation they work for, professional body, major stakeholders)

In more complex working arrangements there may be more as the three elements branch out, if there are competing forces within the element. Most jobs have varying degrees of complexity at different times, therefore they can fluctuate between 3 and 6 elements depending on the demands of the work at this time.

If you are a leader you will recognise those completing tensions all pulling on your attention and time. Satisfying the needs of one will compromise the needs of another. Depending on your perspective you may have more of an affiliation to one more than the other. For instance if you have been promoted out of the team, you may hold a narrative that you are going to be a more compassionate supportive leader than the last one, and you want to maintain existing friendships in the team. This may result in you avoiding decisions that may be difficult to sell to your team. Or you might have come into the role with a very clear vision to improve the experience for the user and focus solely on doing this without taking into consideration the needs of yourself, the organisation, and the team. These are extreme viewpoints but there are times when we can pay more attention to one than the other, and there are times when the pressure exerted by one of the elements causes an ethical dilemma.

Having a space to talk through these tensions is essential to maintaining your own well-being and the standards of performance you and others expect of you. If you are a leader in any industry ask yourself if you have an arrangement to attend to this. Do you have an executive coach, a clinical supervisor (if in a clinical role) or someone in your organisation to support you? If not is it time you sourced someone? Is this something you or your organisation are willing to pay for? How much are you willing pay? If you are interested in finding out more I do have some limited spaces available. Message me to book an initial conversation.


Published by Matt Smith Personal and Professional Coach

Performance and Life Coach

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