Lyssa deHart sharing the Reflective Coach

One of the richest forms of development comes from the moments where we choose to be courageous and curious with ourselves and our coaching. Coaches benefit from inquiry as much as their clients do.

  • What are the areas where we wrestle?
  • What activates our need to drive the client to a goal?
  • Where does our “stuff” get tangled with our clients’ “stuff”?
  • How do we allow the client to do the work and stretch our capacity to hold the space?

Coaching is about how we are with other human beings. Many of us have spent a lifetime working to become experts. Yet, the beauty and brilliance of coaching is that I, as a coach, set down my expertise in the service of elevating the clients’ expertise.

Coaching Mindset and Super-Vision​

Recently the International Coaching Federation (ICF) updated the Coaching Competencies. Along the way, they added one, A Coaching Mindset. This change is essential for coaches, as it brings to the forefront the work that we do and the needs that practitioners have to create strategies for self-care and reflective inquiry.

As a therapist prior to coaching, part of my reflective and professional practice was to have supervision. When we are working in the internal landscape of another human being, we need waypoints and anchors to support us and provide an external compass.

When I transitioned from therapy to coaching, a bias showed up for me. As a coach, I no longer worked with severely traumatized people, so I thought that meant I didn’t need supervision. This idea turned out to be a crucial bias for me to reflect on. Since 2014 I have shifted my relationship to coaching supervision. I love rewriting the word into Super-Vision: exploring relationships through curious inquiry. I discovered, again, the power of the trusted conversation that focuses on my development from the inside out.

ICF on Coaching Supervision

Coaching Supervision is a collaborative learning practice to continually build the capacity of the coach through reflective dialogue for the benefit of both coaches and clients.
Coaching Supervision may include:

  • Exploring the coach’s internal process through reflective practice
  • Reviewing the coaching agreement and any other psychological or physical contacts, both implicit and explicit
  • Uncovering blind spots

​Ethical Coaching

Ensuring the coach is “fit for purpose” and perhaps offering accountability. Looking at all aspects of the coach and client’s environment for opportunities for growth in the system. Coaching Supervision focuses on the development of the coach’s capacity by offering a broader opportunity for support and development. Coaching Super-Vison offers to support the creative curiosity about our relationship with our clients, our relationship to our practice, and external relationships that arrive unconsciously in coaching sessions as people navigate the construct and contexts of life.

Coaching Supervision creates a safe environment for the coach to share their successes and failures in becoming masterful in the way they work with their clients.

If you’ve ever worked with a client wrestling with something you’re wrestling with, or who annoys you, or reminds you of yourself or someone else. If you have ever felt hooked into a cheerleader role or swooped in to save your clients’ day, you may have experienced the ease with which we can get caught by our desire to “help.”

ICF Research on Coaching Supervision

The Reflective Coach for Professional Coach Super-VisionAn increasing number of books and academic articles on the topic of Coaching Supervision are being published. ICF is actively contributing to this growing body of research, including its recent publication in International Coaching Psychology Review, (Volume 12, No. 1, March 2017), which identified key benefits for coaches who receive Coaching Supervision. These benefits include:

  • Increased self-awareness
  • Greater confidence
  • Increased objectivity
  • Heightened sense of belonging
  • Reduced feelings of isolation
  • Increased resourcefulness

To that end, in the Reflective Coach, I have brought together a full-color journal with writing prompts, journal pages, and questions to support coaches in developing their capacity for self-reflection and expanding curiosity. I hope you find this journal useful in your self-development and that it supports your professional growth.

This article was originally posted on LinkedIn Feb 15, 2022


Lyssa deHart, LICSW, MCC, author of StoryJacking: Change Your Dialogue, Transform Your Life and the Reflective Coach, and the new book, Light Up: The Science of Coaching with Metaphors. Lyssa is a Confidence Coach, Certified Mentor Coach, Coaching Super-Vision Partner, ICF PCC Assessor, and coaching educator. Using her understanding of the ICF Core Competencies and her knowledge of Neuroscience, Lyssa works with Professional Coaches to expand the capacity to partner with their clients through how they show up and hold the space for those with whom they work.

Lyssa is the creator of the Power of Metaphor Certification Program. Giving coaches new ways to tune their ears to hear the powerful metaphors their clients bring forward and discovering how to leverage the important metaphors to create stronger agreements, build trust and safety, allow the client to lead, and ultimately evoke powerful embodied awareness.

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