What do people bring to their Super-Vision group? by LIz Nottingham & Doug Montgomery

24 Feb 2022 12:40 PM | Anonymous

by Liz Nottingham and Doug Montgomery Liz Nottingham

Doug and Liz discuss the variety of topics they have encountered in their Super-Vision groups. They explain how group Super-Vision can benefit leaders, coaches, and HR professionals. Accessing the collective wisdom of the group allows participants to realise the other options available to them.

We are busy people, and we all get into a professional groove. ThisDoug Montgomery sometimes means using our own personal ‘shortcuts’ to make sense of the world—we delete, distort, and make assumptions about information at great speed in order to process a situation or person in a way that confirms our prior beliefs.

As we progress from one daily interaction to another, we usually only see one tiny part of the whole picture.

Our singular view of the world limits our vision, reaffirms our beliefs, and maintains our assumptions. When we are stuck with one perspective for too long, we may feel trapped, limited, frustrated, confused, and angry. Our bias is limiting us and our experience of the world.

When you feel like this, where can you go to explore another way of seeing and being in your work?


Photo by Chase Murphy on Unsplash

Group Super-Vision will help you explore your unconscious biases, illuminate the unseen, and unlock fresh perspectives in order to support and deepen your relationships with others. Whether you are a Leader in your business or institution, an HR Director or HR Business Partner, or Learning and Organisational Development Leader or a Coach—tapping in to Super-Vision can help you and your practice. We help you to see what you have overlooked or not been able to see; that’s why we call it Super-Vision.

You may have already heard of supervision. Perhaps you’ve wondered what people in a supervision group talk about during a session. The honest answer? Anything to do with their work and how their work affects them.

Each sessions sees participants bring a topic or question or situation that is important and timely for them. These issues might be based in an organisational challenge; in a relationship with one of their peers, team members or other stakeholders; or it could be something centred on themselves, e.g., a strong emotion, reaction or behaviour that something has evoked in them and that they’d like to explore and understand.

Working in a group allows everyone to access the collective experiences, knowledge, and wisdom of others

Examples of some of the topics participants have brought to our Super-Vision groups are shared in the box below.

As supervisors, we invite each participant to find a question they would like to explore based on the topic that they are bringing and what they want to gain from the session. Together with the group, we build an agenda for the session based on these questions. If you’ve never experienced this kind of group work before, you may be surprised at the things you end up thinking about and working through with the input of your peers.

Each participant’s question often has a lot in common with the rest of the group’s questions and may help to provide some insight for other participants. There are often parallels between what is happening for the participant in the situation at hand and what is happening in their organisation or other parts of their lives. This ‘parallel process’, as it’s commonly known, often also plays out in the group as we work together. Noticing these parallel processes, especially what is happening in the room with the group, can be a richly informative window into the complexities of your own situation, offering alternative ways of finding new perspectives and forming new approaches.

Working in a group allows everyone to access the collective experiences, knowledge and wisdom of others. Unconscious patterns of thinking, behaviour, assumptions, and blind spots are brought to the surface, creating greater understanding of the situation and greater self-awareness for the participant. In turn, participants realise that there are far more choices before them then they had previously been able to see.

Typical Topics Brought to Super-Vision

  • Difficult decisions and problems
  • Questions about what to do next
  • Challenging conversations—about performance, redundancy, change etc.
  • Feelings of being overwhelmed
  • Feeling alone
  • Conflict between personal and organisational needs
  • Leadership style and staying authentic to self
  • Personal versus professional role conflicts
  • Ethical challenges and dilemmas
  • Complexity of multiple relationships
  • Life-work balance
  • Diversity
  • Feelings of inclusion / exclusion
  • Conflicts and difficulty in relationships with e.g., boss, leadership team, peers, stakeholders or the team.
  • Conflicts of organisational culture versus organisational behaviour
  • Complex competing relationships
  • Transitions, endings and beginnings
  • Change management challenges
  • Grief and loss
  • Blame versus learning when things go wrong
  • Managing strong emotions in self and others
  • External situations that impact presence and performance
  • Successes and celebrations

The group acts as a safe, non-judgemental, confidential sounding board. As supervisors, we offer a variety of creative ways to pause and reflect, all while offering constructive and supportive prompts to gently challenge participants’ thinking and assumptions.

More Articles, events and insights can be found on CSA Faculty Members Liz Nottingham and Doug Montgomery's web site:


If you are interested in joining a group with Liz or Doug, fill out the contact form on their profile page or web site. Alternatively, you can find out more about our groups here.

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