What is ecosystems supervision? An explainer

By Martin Vogel and Hetty Einzig

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Ecosystems supervision is a collaborative and experimental approach which explores coaching practice within the context of wider societal and environmental considerations. It combines enquiry in depth into who we are as individuals and as professionals with exploration in breadth of the systems and networks within which – and which shape how – we operate. 

This article explains our approach and what it is like to experience ecosystems supervision. It is by nature a work in progress as we employ an action learning approach in our work, adapting and developing as we learn with participants in our groups. 

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Is supervision a gendered pursuit?

By Martin Vogel

Who is supervision for? Anybody who would value a reflective space in which to reflect on their practice and encounter fresh perspectives.

Who comes for supervision? Good question. Women, it would seem. At least that is the case for the flavour of supervision that I have been offering with my colleague, Hetty Einzig, for the past year.

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Undeveloping Britain

By Martin Vogel

Back in January 2019, Matt Bishop and Tony Payne at Sheffield University’s Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI) posed the question of whether Britain might be the world’s first example of an undeveloping state. By this they meant that the characteristics that sustained the UK’s development over four hundred years as a pioneer of capitalism and industrialisation may have turned into pathologies that hold it back in the modern global political economy:

“Britain could again be first, albeit in a league table not of its choice! It could be the first of the ‘early developers’ to be forced to grapple with the implications of sustained ‘undevelopment’. This is defined here straightforwardly as the dismantling, rather than the building, of a viable, functioning political economy that satisfactorily serves its people.”

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought this thesis visibly to life. Britons have spent 2020 discovering that the securities they have for decades taken for granted are in fact very fragile. I won’t rehearse the catalogue of incompetence that has characterised the British Government’s approach to the coronavirus. But, lest it becomes too normalised, I commend keeping to hand the excellent Sunday Times investigations whose titles say it all: 38 days when Britain sleepwalked into disaster and 22 days of delay and dither on coronavirus that cost thousands of British lives.

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Join our ecosystems supervision group beginning in January

Martin Vogel and Hetty Einzig are opening a new round of ecosystems supervision focussed on supporting practitioners as society’s response to the pandemic enters a new phase. If you are a coach or practitioner whose work involves supporting people, we invite you to join this programme of group supervision sessions. Depending on circumstances we plan to offer a blended model of online and face-to-face sessions.

Our innovative approach fosters awareness of the ecosystems in which we are located and the influence we can bring to bear on them as individuals. It encourages an integration of our identities as people, practitioners and citizens.

Continue reading “Join our ecosystems supervision group beginning in January”

Speaking up and speaking out

By Martin Vogel

My time in lockdown has been bracketed by two enjoyable adventures in podcasting, courtesy of Charmaine Roche and her new series, Speak Up, Speak Out. Charmaine is a coach, working in the education sector, and is also researching a PhD on how coaches can help clients deal with the stress arising from ethical challenges. In her series of five podcasts, she has interviewed a different person each week on questions related to her research interest. I was privileged not only to have been her first guest but also the guest host in the final episode, interviewing Charmaine herself.

Listening to each episode, I have enjoyed how she has opened up an expansive view of coaching as a liberating intervention. She explores with her guests how people in organisations often feel pressure to conform against their better judgment and how coaching can help them access their integrity as professionals.

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Reflections on the emergency

By Martin Vogel

I’ve been writing about the COVID emergency at my new blog, The Unknowing Project. I began this as a space to develop thoughts around the question of unknowing as a stance for our times, which has since become the task of all of us as old certainties have collapsed. One of the themes that is emerging is about cultivating equanimity.

This is from a month ago:

“Fierce equanimity looks into a potential abyss and steps back into a grounded responsibility. We don’t know what the next weeks and months will hold. But we each have a part to play in mitigating the virus. That part entails apprehending it with due seriousness and changing our behaviour accordingly.”

Read the full post: The awakening.

And this is from today:

“A lot of what we’re feeling at the moment is grief. Some of the emotional response to the Prime Minister’s condition exemplifies this. The laying low of the nation’s leader symbolises not just the loss of our sense of security but an anticipatory grief about what lies ahead. That it should happen not just to our Prime Minister but to somebody as bumptious and boosterish as Boris Johnson pulls the rug from whatever lingering denial we may have been labouring under.”

Read the full post: Nobody knows anything.

Please be in touch if you have any reflections. At a time like this, it can be hard to find one’s moorings. We might respond in different ways: perhaps with a frenzy of productivity or perhaps berating ourselves for not being productive enough.

My blogpost on trauma has been getting a lot of traffic. We are collectively going through a traumatising experience and it’s important to know where you can get the right kind of help.

If you would like to talk, please get in touch.

Image courtesy Javardh at Unsplash.

Ecosystems supervision group online: communities of practice

By Martin Vogel

In response to the COVID-19 emergency, Hetty Einzig and I are opening a new round of ecosystems supervision focussed on supporting practitioners through this time of personal and systemic turbulence. Here’s our invitation.

If you are a coach or practitioner whose work involves supporting people, we invite you to join this online programme of group supervision sessions.

Our innovative approach fosters awareness of the ecosystems in which we are located and the influence we can bring to bear on them as individuals. It encourages an integration of our identities as practitioners and citizens. Continue reading “Ecosystems supervision group online: communities of practice”

How to heal polarisation

By Martin Vogel

As part of my recent research into how coaches are engaging with the political sphere, I interviewed a US-based coach, John Schuster, who teaches on coach training programmes at Columbia University and the Hudson Institute. The interview didn’t make the final cut of the published article because the editors wanted to focus on the discussion of coaching and climate change. But John’s work highlights a very different way that coaches can contribute to addressing some of society’s big challenges. John is tackling polarisation: using his coaching skills to bring together people across the Republican-Democrat divide.

A Democrat-supporter, he teamed up in 2016 with a coach who had voted for Donald Trump. They organised a conversation to which each invited three friends from their own side.

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Internal coaches need external supervisors

By Martin Vogel

It’s considered best practice among professional coaches that they work with a supervisor, someone who creates space for them to reflect on their work. But how common is this among internal coaches?

There’s a long tradition of supervision being provided to support people who support other people. It grew up as a discipline to help professionals such as psychotherapists, teachers and social workers. In the competitive market for professional coaches, savvy clients understand that they should only work with a coach who is supervised. Clients of internal coaches need this assurance just as much. As do people whose managers seek to lead with a coaching style.

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How to work with a coach

By Martin Vogel


This series of blog posts guides you through the whole process of working with a coach from identifying why you might need one through to ending a coaching relationship elegantly. If you engage a coach, bookmark this page and keep referring to it throughout your engagement.

  1. Why use a coach?
  2. What do you want from coaching?
  3. How do you find a coach?
  4. Meeting a prospective coach
  5. Agreeing terms with your coach
  6. Your first session with a coach
  7. Working with your coach
  8. Your work between coaching sessions
  9. If your coaching isn’t going well
  10. When it’s time to finish coaching

Image courtesy Joshua Ness on Unsplash.