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August 25, 2022

The Seven Perspectives: Perspective Two


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Supervisee-Focused Perspective (External)

Welcome to part two of our series on the seven perspectives for professional supervisors which concerns the three main relationships involved in Professional supervision; the professional Supervisor, their supervisee and the client of the supervisee. For example, this could be a professional supervisor working with their supervisee who is a school Principal. The supervisee’s clients would be the teachers, the students and the parents, depending on the situation. 

The first perspective focused on the client; what they are communicating to the supervisee and what the supervisee can attain from their unspoken behaviour. Today, we’re looking at the second perspective which focuses on the Supervisee’s strategies and interventions with their client. 

Perspective Two zones in on the Supervisee and the way they handle their work and the people around them, exploring the techniques they use, their internal agendas and sensing their strengths and weaknesses. This perspective can help the professional supervisor and their supervisee uncover some things they might not be aware of. Perhaps a supervisee spends most of their sessions with their clients talking instead of listening, maybe they are hesitant to be direct and present the hard truths when necessary, perhaps they have hidden biases about their clients that cause them to leap to certain conclusions. 

Actively Listening

There is a pastor whom I greatly respect and enjoy going to lunch with when we have the chance. He is interesting to listen to and has a lot of wisdom, but he rarely asks questions about what is going on with me. When he does, he rarely waits for an answer. It’s always wonderful to sit and listen. However, I come away feeling that he has no idea of what’s happening with me; he’s just venting. While he has a lot of obvious strengths, a professional supervisor utilizing perspective two might point this weakness out to him. 

All three participants in the Professional Supervisor, Supervisee and client relationship should utilize the skill of active listening, and especially, whoever is currently responsible for helping another person in a professional setting. This means it is essential for Supervisees to use active listening with their clients, asking enough questions to find out what’s happening with the client, and confirming what they hear. They can clarify and affirm their client but reframing their statements. It’s also important to give the client space to answer before jumping into their own experience or advice. No guidance will help to develop or grow the client without confirmation that their problems are understood. 

Here are some questions for a Professional Supervisor to ask their Supervisee: 

  • For whose benefit are you asking?
  • What are you trying to discover?
  • Why?
  • What do you hold back and why?
  • Who are you protecting?
  • Who or what are you protecting them from?
  • If you could switch off the part of your mind that filters what comes out of your mouth, what would you say to your client?
  • What does that tell you about yourself?
  • What does that tell you about your perception of your client?
  • What does that tell you about the  professional relationship with your parishioner, patron, student, constituent/client?

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