Welcome! We have written this book to be both a help and a challenge for you in exploring the foundations of coaching, mentoring and organizational consultancy. We will also explore the interactive nature and process of enabling others to practise these crafts through providing supervision and other forms of development. Our hope is that the inevitable monologue form of a book will transform quickly into an ongoing dialogue with you and your practice. Since all good dialogues require some preparation and also some self-disclosure, we will share our departure points and the essential assumptions which underpin our work. That way, you should be able to contextualize our writing and our practice and make it useful for yourselves.
In sitting down to write about the subject of supervision, we have reviewed the experiences we bring to the conversation. Both of us had practised as psychotherapists for some years, and had then retrained and become organizational consultants, where for the last 20 years a portion of our activity was as executive coaches and occasionally mentors to our clients. So here we have two middle-aged white men, with a particular set of views and experiences, in a mainly UK context, wanting to have a conversation with a broad range of people from across different cultures, with different skill sets, different levels of involvement in the subject, and with their own special questions to ask us. As we sit at the computer, we see a range of people with a range of needs staring back at us. This makes the task of speaking clearly a difficult one. At least in coaching or supervision, most of the time, we have one person in front of us and we can tune in to them and what they need from us. This current task is infinitely more challenging as we start to engage with you.
Whatever our involvement with coaching, mentoring and organizational consultancy, or the supervision of these practices, all of us have one thing in common. We all have a concern with how we facilitate personal change well and keep improving our skills as we go on. These concerns will therefore be at the core of our book and provide the energy for making this journey of enquiry together.
Whether we have just begun to think about the subject or whether we have been practising for years, we will all have experience of trying to bring about some personal change in our own lives. Here we ask you to pause and reflect on a change challenge you set yourself. What personal changes have you tried to make in your life recently? You may have decided to learn a new language, stop smoking, lose weight or stop behaving in particular ways that are upsetting to others (e.g. stop getting so angry with people close to you). One of the underlying issues that is . . .