Faculty Spotlight: Learning in an Experiential Way with Mia O’Gorman 

Mia O'Gorman learning in an experiential way

Faculty Spotlight: Learning in an Experiential Way with Mia O’Gorman 

Chirona — This is the supervisor superhero name Mia O’Gorman gave to herself when she was asked about her superhero name as a final assignment in the Diploma for Coaching Supervision

Derived from the Greek mythology centaur, Chiron, who was deemed the “wisest and justest” and the “trainer of heroes”, Mia resonates with this Greek character in her role as a course trainer of supervisors at the International Centre for Coaching Supervision. 

With almost 20 years in the coaching industry, she shines in her superpower of enabling people — from her corporate clients to experienced coaches she’s supervised — to recognise their potential, see new possibilities and take confident steps forward. In other words, to become their own heroes!

In this article, Mia shares her passions for coaching and coaching supervision and how she aims to teach in an experiential way as a course trainer at the ICCS. 

From HR to Coaching: Mia’s Introduction to Coaching  

Coaching and developing coaches have long been Mia’s greatest professional passions.

In fact, before Mia discovered this profession, she already realised that she has a coaching mindset — one that was curious about people, their motivations and their behaviours. 

Mia started her career in human resources, working in the personnel department in the automotive, finance and energy sectors. As part of her role as an operational HR officer at a UK bank, she had an informal introduction to a few coaching skills to help employees navigate their problems and issues at work. 

She was then chosen to be a part of a special group of trainers that delivered coaching skills training to 2000 leaders nationwide

Seeing the power of coaching in action and finding great joy in witnessing people develop and achieve, this ultimately fueled her love for the profession. 

“I recognised really quickly that it helped individuals do their jobs better, help teams work together more successfully and generally made the whole place a better place to work. That really sparked a passion for me which has been with me for the following 20 or more years,” Mia shares. 

Mia O’Gorman’s Journey from Coaching to Coaching Supervision

Mia has specialised in leadership development, moving from in-house leadership development roles into external leadership development consultancy. 

In addition to her executive coaching portfolio, she has also designed and delivered informal and EMCC-accredited programmes for coaches and leaders

While working at a consultancy focused on programs using emotional intelligence concepts in coaching and leadership, she started to dive into supervision.

That started to give me a real taste for it and see that additional layer and the enjoyment of talking to coaches about their coaching practice. I often describe myself as a coaching geek. So, the opportunity to spend time reflecting on how it works, why it works, what happens when it doesn’t work, and what we can do about it — It was just another layer that I really loved.” 

Using Emotional Intelligence in Coaching Supervision 

In her coaching practice, Mia recognised the complexity of human relationships. Since coaching and supervision are both relational processes, the theoretical underpinnings of emotional intelligence play a significant role in her practice. 

Transactional analysis has particularly helped Mia in navigating her supervision sessions. 

“While I don’t use TA in every supervision conversation, it’s something that I often find myself tuning into because the models and approaches are so helpful.”

Within her supervision practice, she dials into the two modes of working: the forensic mode and the reflecting mode. 

In the forensic approach, she enjoys going into the details of the casework and understanding what’s really happening in particular coaching situations. 

On the other hand, the much broader reflective approach hones into how the coach is feeling about their practice and their relationship to the work. Evaluating the impact of their work on their professional journey and development is also an important aspect of this mode.  

Both of these highlighted the importance of coaching supervision for her. 

Mia sees supervision as a coach’s space for a metaphorical workout with the personal trainer, a nutritious meal prepared by the chef and a healing massage from the physiotherapist. It’s like a day at the health spa for you as a practitioner.

Mia’s Facilitation Approach: Learning the Experiential Way 

When asked about her training and facilitation approach at the ICCS, she mentioned her intent to lead her training sessions in an experiential way. 

“I really believe that in this profession, so much your personal development informs your professional development. As much as possible, I will take opportunities to put in exercises and activities and reflection questions, that means we’re not just learning cognitively about a particular supervision concept, but that people have the opportunity to really experience it for themselves.”

Through the insightful modules, supervision sessions, and group practices in the course, training under the Diploma in Coaching Supervision at the ICCS showcases what it really feels like to be supervised. 

“I just think that’s fundamental. I think it’s important to walk a mile in the shoes of a client or, in this case, a coach that we might be supervising.”

Learning Supervision in a Safe Environment 

Many coaches that have trained as supervisors quickly realise how it can make you feel like you’re going back to basics with coaching again. 

Since supervision provides a zone of reflecting into one’s coaching practice, it can conjure a feeling of vulnerability. 

This is why Mia finds it important to provide a psychologically safe learning environment for the trainee supervisors coming into the course. 

“It’s a funny thing when you go to train as a coaching supervisor. For some people, it throws up that idea of being a beginner again, even having gotten really well established in the coaching practice. So the first thing I want is for people to feel safe and to enjoy the learning experience.”

At the end of the day, she hopes that the trainees find confidence, competence, and capability once they graduate from the Diploma. 

“It’s that combination of feeling confident in your abilities, but also knowing that you’ve built up competence and capability. Again, the experiential approach really helps with that because you’ve demonstrated to yourself and to others and gotten lots of feedback about how your signature style as a supervisor is shaping up. So, I think it’s confidence, competence, and that sense of your identity as you move into coaching supervision.”

Becoming a Better Coach through Coaching Supervision 

Training as a coaching supervisor adds a new layer to one’s coaching skills. 

It also makes you reevaluate your coaching practice, as you look into different aspects, such as the relationships you have with your clients, other coaches, and the wider profession. 

This can make the journey a daunting experience for coaches looking to become coaching supervisors. However, Mia shares this advice: 

“The main advice would be to enjoy the journey. Just be kind to yourself while you’re going back and learning new skills and make the most of the opportunity that you’ve invested in.” 

The coaching supervision training at the ICCS is unique because of its rich and diverse background. Students coming from all over the world are able to learn together, regardless of their locations and time zones. 

For Mia, this international and diverse exposure contributes greatly to the learning experience. 

“There’s potential for the participants in the program to learn not only from the faculty, the experience that we bring, and the content and methods that we share, but also from each other. That experience of being in a closely connected learning group over the course of several months in the programme is something that several of the participants have commented on… just how much they’ve enjoyed connecting in that group with other like-minded supervisors in training.” 

Coaching supervision is a rewarding experience for many coaches and aspiring supervisors on so many levels. Not only will you be able to help out those starting with their coaching journeys, but also contribute to developing the profession and the coaching community as a whole. 

Mia O’Gorman parts with her vision for future coaching supervisors: 

“I hope that people go away feeling well-trained that they’ve had a good workout and really feeling like a hero that they can go out and succeed as well.”

If you’re interested to join our Diploma in Coaching Supervision, click this link or download our brochure for more details. 

You can also reach out to us through our contact page or [email protected] for any questions and queries you may have about the supervision course. 

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