Publication Details

Armour, M. R. (2018). Supervision's 'Three Amigos': Exploring the Evolving Functions of Supervision and its Application in the Field of Coaching. Philosophy of Coaching, 3 (1), 23-37.


The literature on supervision includes an enduring theme related to the 'functions' of supervision. However, each helping profession has defined the functions of supervision somewhat uniquely. Within the field of social work functions are defined as being "administrative, educational and supportive" (Kadushin, 1976, pp. 20-21), indicating specific roles that are undertaken by the agent-supervisor. The notion of functions also appears to have been widely embraced within counseling literature, although the terms have been adapted as a framework of tasks being "formative, restorative and normative" (Proctor, 2000, p. 12), to describe processes which are for the benefit of the therapist. More recently, the concept of functions has made its way into the discourse on coaching supervision, where the main functions have been defined as "qualitative, resourcing and developmental" (Hawkins & Shohet, 2006, p. 57). Despite the use of these terms in different fields, there is little discussion on the extent to which these ideas have been adopted, and a lack of empirical research on the relevance and effectiveness of functions in relation to coaching supervision. This article explores the emergence of supervision functions, the context in which functions have been applied, and their translation from social work to therapy and more recently coaching. Further research is needed on the relevance and application of functions in the area of coaching supervision.

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