Using Individual Coaching to help the Director of a small Child Welfare Agency become a more effective supervisor

Faced with the complexity of day to day issues combined with larger organizational challenges, “Carol”, the Executive Director of a child welfare agency, found herself spending an increasing amount of time on staff supervision, including crisis management and problem solving. There were few if any resources for her. Her Board members didn’t have the expertise and it was not appropriate to discuss these issues with staff. She was reluctant to bother directors of similar sized organizations, and she wasn’t sure if they had the knowledge she was looking for anyway. Carol asked for individual coaching, following our facilitation of a team-building process with her and her staff.

Leadership Coaching helped Carol learn to use supervisory and leadership methods to manage the internal operations of her organization. We emphasized a strengths-based approach, identifying Carol’s strengths as a leader and helping her to create strategies to further develop them.

We modeled:

  • deep listening
  • strengths-based questioning
  • providing compassionate feedback

We questioned Carol’s assumptions about her own skills and about her staff. She learned to look more deeply at her choices in a supervisory interaction and to base them on what she knew about the person and what she wanted to achieve. We supported Carol through several staff transitions. Over time, Carol expanded her confidence as a leader and supervisor.

Carol reports that she is “more proactive in the area of personnel management.” She says: “I don’t wait until situations become problems, I am more confident in my ability to handle problems, and I think I am a much better supervisor because of coaching.” She also reports that “having the support and expertise of a coach has enabled me to get my agency’s ‘internal house’ in order, freeing up time to build external alliances.”

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