Supervision Explained (what I do)

Many of you know I am taking training in Supervision and I have to describe it to you, so you understand.  And, if you are curious or want a conversation, contact me.

What is Supervision, in general?

Supervision originates from the tradition of social work and medical/psychological professions. It is also used in education, business and administration, service and politics.

Supervision helps individuals, teams, groups and organisations reflect on their job-related actions and structures and thus supports and enhances development. Supervisors support the processing of job-related problems and tasks in order to promote solutions, changes and professionalization.

Supervision combines theoretical foundations from psychology, sociology, social work, pedagogy, and communication sciences. Theories are borrowed from basic ideas of psychoanalysis, communication theory, transactional analysis, the systemic approach as well as behaviour and gestalt therapy. Concepts from group dynamics and organisation theory are also included.

Supervision focuses on the development of a person’s professional identity or the development of a team. The attention is on emotional developments, understanding of organisational structures, creative thinking and the development of new perspectives for job-related activities and situations.

Working with people is one of the main fields of the supervisory work. Leadership activities very much require permanent reflection in order to distinguish one’s own issues from those of others and to develop solutions using new, creative approaches. Supervision can be taken by anyone wishing to reflect upon a job-related aspect within the context of their personal issues


Leadership Supervision, what is it? And what does it do?


Leadership Supervision is designed to be collaborative, a conversation where the supervisor is fully present to the other. In this ‘crucible’, leaders are supported in all aspects of their work by an external unbiased supervisor.

Key elements in adult learning theory emphasize respect for the learner and the collaborative nature of the conversation.  Both are essential in the reflective practice of leadership supervision.  We are here to walk with leaders and enable them to enhance their leadership skills, emotional and social intelligence and key leadership behaviours.

Trained and certified supervisors are aware of how important it is to create a safe and trusting working alliance. Confidential heart-to-heart conversation and awareness are key elements in successful supervision.

Developmental practice

Above anything else, Supervision is a developmental practice. It is a generative conversation of challenge, support, insight and deep understanding.  A supervisor may be working with a leader over a period of 8 months to a year and it is a great responsibility to ensure that not only does the leader develop in confidence and competence, but that they are fully resourced in a number of ways: increasing self-awareness, viewing things from new perspectives, handling critical conversations in their work, becoming more skillful at ‘managing up’ and so on.

The supervisor’s own personal development is also an important aspect of supporting leadership reflection and growth. The critical relational work requires that leadership supervisors are self-aware, flexible, confident – capable of standing in the heat of the workplace!  When supporting and challenging leaders we need to be both open and robust!  This kind of leadership reflection provides a conversation in which leaders can learn about themselves and others, in a safe and trusted environment.  Psychology, sociology, pedagogy, energy work, and neuroscience all contribute to supervisory insight and support in this context. A leader who has supervision with a properly qualified supervisor skilled in developing the leader’s reflective powers and emotional intelligence will quickly become much more aware personally and interpersonally – this capacity makes the difference between good and great leaders. It also supports the leader to remain authentic and maintain a high standard in their work.

Team Supervision and Team Development Proposal (via Supervision, EASC model), what’s that?


Team supervision is a helping and consulting service, usually in the professional context. It is seen as an accompaniment to the developmental process of a team. The team is examined and “diagnosed” via the cooperation of its team members as characterized by occupational roles, communication strategies, and by the and attitudes of all those involved.


In addition to the open, conscious and outspoken facts about the team, supervision also considers the unconscious, action-guiding aspects of the team process, which are currently having an effect in stressful situations and crises at work. These difficulties complicate the implementation of joint work-assignments and affect the effectiveness of teamwork and job satisfaction among stakeholders.


A few examples of unconscious phenomena are: the result of a team repeatedly coming into conflict with other groups in the same organization despite clear descriptions of the field of work; or if a team does not achieve the expected quality of its work despite the high level of competence of the employees involved.


The particular problem of unconscious group phenomena is that while they are highly effective, they elude targeted, conscious problem identification. They form particularly stubborn obstacles in team development, complicating the communication of the team members with each other, but also of the team to the organization. This particularly affects the work results in a sustainable way. In addition, unconscious team processes contribute to a high level of employee (team) sickness and to high employee turnover.


Accordingly, the attention of the supervisor is especially focused on the effects of unconscious team dynamics. Above all, this can be identified in the supervision sessions on the basis of breaks in the team's communication. Also, special group process phenomena provide important clues to unconscious aspects of team conflicts. The handling of "difficult cases" in team tasks can be used to interpret unconscious group dynamics, as well.


The supervisor makes observations and gives her (his) perceptions to the team so they can reflect and become aware of their unconscious biases and activities. S/he initiates a process of change and development through which then unconscious teamwork actions and attitudes are jointly recognized and processed. A solution to work-related conflicts and problems that is dealt with in this way is particularly sustainable, since not only superficial, obvious problem areas are addressed, but also their subliminally effective causes are included.

Patricia Jehle