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  • Henry Campion

Supervision of Supervision, ‘Metavision’ - and Wisdom?

Why Metavision?

In 2017, Michel Moral and Eve Turner’s survey of ‘Supervision of Supervision’ (1) catalysed a more concerted interest in the subject. Rightly so, since it makes sense to get a clearer understanding of the aims and purpose of the work of some of the most experienced members of the coaching profession. In a more recent article (2), it was characterised as involving 'more sophistication and maturity', 'a greater sense of ethical responsibility' and 'a higher level of complexity in managing boundaries’.

This extended scope of the work suggests it is different from supervision of coaches, requiring greater depth of experience, knowledge and understanding of coaching practice. Whether it is sufficiently different to make it distinct from supervision is an open question. Yet in my own supervision of supervision meetings, both as supervisor and supervisee, I have found that while the normative, formative and restorative elements still have traction, we regularly shift into a different gear, looking beyond the presenting supervisory issue to its implications for the nature of coaching more generally.

So I propose the term 'metavision', literally ‘seeing beyond’. This is less unwieldy than 'supervision of supervision', and serves to differentiate it from the supervision of coaches. I hope it will also encourage people to continue to see it as a field of research in its own right.

Cultivating Wisdom

Looking beyond the processes of metavision to its purpose, one word that stood out for me in article 2 was ‘wisdom’. For me, this captured the essence of metavision. Further investigation has confirmed that many of the qualities identified as core to coaching practice can be seen as aspects of wisdom. A key insight from wisdom research is that while experience is an essential building block, it does not simply accumulate with age; it can be actively cultivated (3). So the purpose of metavision could be summarised as being ‘to cultivate wisdom’. This idea has proved catalytic in my own learning journey!

1. Moral, M, Turner, E (2017) ‘Supervision of supervision - Where are we’. Coaching Perspectives Vol 15 p39-41

2. Birch, J, de Estevan Ubeda, N, Goldvarg, D, Lewis, L, Menaul, J, Moral, M (2022) ‘Supervision of Supervision: Research Insights’. Coaching Perspectives Issue 34

3. Jeste, D (2020) ‘Wiser: The Scientific Roots of Wisdom, Compassion, and What Makes Us Good’ Sounds True, Boulder, Colorado.

(Posted on LinkedIn, 5/12/22. To be explored in more detail in a Global Supervisors Network webinar on 12th and 13th January, 2023.)

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