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August 11, 2022

The Seven Perspectives: Eye One


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Focusing on the clients

This perspective focuses on the sort of third party involved. For a mentor or coach talking with a Professional Supervisor, this person would be their client. With a school Principal talking with a Professional Supervisor, the third party would be their teachers, the students or the parents of the students. For a pastor in the same situation, the third party would be the coworkers or the congregation. For simplicity, I’m going to refer to these third party members as the “client” here. 

Noticing the Cues

This conversation between the Supervisor and Supervisee would revolve around clients. It is essential to understand this relationship; to be able to see what the Supervisee is doing well, or what they might need to work on. It can help discover unintentional biases or miscommunications that are crucial to acknowledge. This all begins by looking at how the supervisee considers the client, what they are picking up from the client both verbally and non-verbally. It’s all about unpacking what’s happening for them, not making assumptions, just noticing behaviour. Non-verbal cues are very important. However, it is important to not make assumptions: for instance a client may appear bored and unengaged in a meeting, when they are actually tired from a bad night’s sleep. Rather, allow verbal and non-verbal cues to lead to good questions.

As a mentor for years, I have had a lot of time to find faults in my mentoring. Sometimes, I make quick judgments or assume I understand before I really do. I remember one client seemed very agitated at a meeting in a public space. He was screwing up his face, distracted, and irritable. He ended up leaving part way through with an odd excuse. I wondered if I had said something to offend him. I later discovered that behind him was a baby with a very stinky nappy! He had been uncomfortable and distracted and it had nothing to do with me. I’m grateful we communicated about it later, so that tension didn’t follow us into the next meeting. 

Here are some questions the Supervisor should ask the Supervisee in regards to their client:

What is the client communicating non-verbally? 

  • How do they come into the room?
  • How do they sit?
  • How do they hold themselves? 

How do they talk? 

  • Are they focused? Distracted? Manic? 
  • What is their phone demeanour if you aren’t face-to-face?

What insight does that give you and what insights do you already have?

  • What do you know of their personal history? Their background?
  • What are the gaps you still need to fill in their history? 
  • How does their history and background affect your behavior? 

What is their perception of you? 

  • Are they guarded around you? 
  • Do they sincerely want your help? 
  • Are they a perceptive person? 

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