EMCC’s Global Supervision Framework: practical tips for coaches, mentors and supervisors

EMCC’s Global Supervision Framework: practical tips for coaches, mentors and supervisors

work colleagues talking

24 January 2024

Tom Battye led the process of creating the current version of the EMCC Global Supervision Competence Framework. Here Tom shares some of the practical ways the framework can be a great resource to support coaches, mentors and supervisors in getting the most out of the supervision process.

‘The music is in the space between the notes.’ These words of the French composer Claude Debussy remind us that the work of supervision is essentially relational. The notes in the music can be compared with the questions, responses, observations and techniques employed. The insights gained through supervision emerge in the space between these, the silence, and the quality of the supervisory relationship.

Effective supervision is a dialogue in which both parties find meaning. How is that meaning made? How do we find answers to our supervision questions? The EMCC Global Supervision Framework is a valuable tool for helping us make sense of these questions and to notice more about the space between the notes.


Wim Nijssen, a graduate of the Diploma in Coaching Supervision, run by my company, writes:

When looking for answers, we are likely to look at what seems real and tangible. Yet the answers may lie in the things that are not being said or told, which supervisees may not aware of, but that are important to their question or practice.

The unfolding, or rather emerging, of answers takes place in an environment where the supervisee feels safe to explore and open up to their own uncertainties, blind spots and convictions. This requires a relationship that allows this to happen – caring, challenging, nurturing, equal.


There seems to be a paradox here. Good supervision occurs beyond the limitations of the framework we employ as supervisors. At the same time, we believe there are certain things that good supervisors do, and this becomes our framework. This is why the EMCC Supervision Framework should not be treated as a checklist of 55 essential behaviours, although there are 55 capability indicators supporting the eight competences. The Supervision Framework is not the final word, but rather it is a place to start the enquiry. It is a catalyst for reflection, an invitation to engage in a reflective dialogue.

This post provides a brief overview of the Supervision Framework, then looks at how you might benefit from it in your practice as a supervisor, as a supervisee, or both.

Overview of the framework

The framework includes eight named competence areas, and EMCC believes that an effective supervisor needs to have some skill in all of these domains. In summary, the supervisor needs to establish a positive working alliance with the supervisee (1) and engage in a process that involves facilitating their development (2), providing support (3) and promoting professional standards (4).

In addition to this, we believe effective supervisors are constantly expanding their capacity as a relational practitioner. This includes becoming more self-aware (5), more sensitive to interpersonal dynamics (6) and more able to think systemically (7). Competence 8 involves supervising groups, a discipline that is quickly gaining in popularity.

For you as a supervisor

If you are a supervisor, then the 55 capability indicators represent a range of potential areas for reflection and development.


I asked graduates from our Diploma in Coaching Supervision how they use the framework. Here are two responses:

’I use the framework in reflecting on a session, asking myself which competencies went well and less well, and why.’ Jos Houben’

Do I tend to go to certain competencies in this supervision relationship? Or do I rarely, if ever, explore others?’ Valérie Docters van Leeuwen


I’d like to share an example of how I used the first version of the framework to support my development. It was 2009 and I was in my first year of training as a supervisor.

We were encouraged to identify parts of the framework that we wanted to develop in ourselves. The experiment involved picking a competence area or capability indicator and simply holding it in mind during our practice. I chose ‘systems thinking’, as it was a relatively new concept for me. One of my supervisees, Laura (not her real name), was coaching a manager at a job centre in one of the less well-off London boroughs and reported feeling stuck.

Using the systems lens helped me notice a parallel process between her client’s team, who ‘didn’t want to work’, and the mood of the unemployed population in that area. The observation resonated for Laura and her client, and their relationship improved. From that point onwards, I realised that the system always has an impact. The experiment had worked. The framework itself did not transform my mindset, but the way I used it did.

For you as a supervisee

For supervisees, the framework can help you to understand the full scope of what supervision can offer, and to how get the most out of it.


You may find it helpful to review the framework at the start of a new supervision relationship as part of the contracting process.

‘As a supervisor, I discuss the competence framework during the initial interview with the supervisee.’ Jos Houben


I have found that the framework is also valuable when re-contracting at a midpoint. Here is an example from my experience. I had been supervising Fran (not her real name), for about two years. I noticed that the work was becoming somewhat repetitive and felt stale. I asked her for feedback and gave her the framework as a guide to think about this.

The next time we met, she referred to the capability indicator, which ‘offers interventions that challenge and disrupt the supervisee’s existing perspectives, assumptions, and paradigms’. Her feedback was that I could be more challenging to her. Discussing this helped and resulted in me giving her candid written feedback on a recording of her working with a client. The exercise taught me that I needed to engage more actively in the relationship with her to ensure that the work had value.

I invite you to review the Supervision Framework through the lens of being a supervisee. How could you use it to broaden the scope of the supervision you receive?

For all of us

There are many aspects of the framework that concern all practitioners, not just supervisors, and the notion of capacity is one which stands out for me as having universal applicability.

Traditional competence frameworks are constructed using behaviours as building blocks which form the totality of what makes a person competent in a particular discipline. The Supervision Framework is different in that it focuses not only on what a person is doing, but also encompasses how the person is being.

No matter what your professional discipline, it is equally relevant to ask yourself: ‘How may I expand my capacity as a person, so that I may see myself, these relationships and this context more clearly?’ The framework cannot answer that question, but reflecting on the ideas within it may enhance the enquiry.

The music and the dance

Since 2005 I’ve enjoyed modern jive and blues dancing. I have learnt that the best dancers are not the ones who are technically most proficient or who have perfected the way they appear to an audience or panel of judges. Technical skill is important, but it means nothing by itself. The dance exists in the connection between the dancers. Attunement, the ability to connect at the same level and respond accordingly makes a person a dancer.

The Supervision Framework offers a foundation of best practice. Good supervisors do many of the things that it contains, but this is not what makes them good. Good supervision occurs when there is a strong connection between supervisor and supervisee, it arises out of the silences contained within that connection and has a universality about it that is not dissimilar to the experience of music and dance.

With all this in mind, how might the EMCC Supervision Framework enrich your practice?

Tom Battye

Tom Battye runs Tom Battye Coaching, a niche consultancy based in Devon which specialises in the delivery of a broad range of executive coaching services, including coaching supervision.

Photo: LinkedIn Sales Solutions