Global Coaching Supervision

A Study of Perceptions and Practices Around the World



– Kimcee McAnally, Ph.D., PCC
– Lilian Abrams, Ph.D., MBA, MCC
– Mary Jo Asmus, PCC

– Terry Hildebrandt, Ph.D., MCC, MCEC


This research study report represents data analyzed from 1,280 coaches and coach supervisor respondents, world-wide, obtained in 2018.  Study participants include a broad range of internal and external executive/leadership coach practitioners and coach supervisors.  This study represents the largest global descriptive data set of coach supervision by executive coaches to date.

The report begins with general information about the study participants’ demographics and their supervision experiences.  An example of the significant findings is the description of the wide-spread acceptance of coach supervision across the globe, especially in Europe, and especially in the United Kingdom. Also noteworthy is that over 4/5ths of responding coaches (88%) reported experiencing individual coaching supervision, and 65% have had group supervision. Of the 1,280 participants, 29% have experienced both individual and group supervision, not including participation in a training or certification program.  In fact, 11% (137) reported that currently, they undertake both individual and group supervision.

Description of the global reach of supervision is followed by more detailed descriptions of participants’ own individual supervision and group supervision experiences, and some comparisons. The study then describes participants’ perspectives on general topics including finding a supervisor, the benefits of supervision, and what coaches find helpful, and not helpful, in working with a Coach Supervisor.

The report concludes with information about research methods, summary remarks, and information about the independent research team. Comments or questions are welcome and can be sent to

This study analyzed data from 1,280 participants globally. Among the findings are the following highlights:

  • Coaching supervision is a well-accepted practice for coaches in Europe, especially in the United Kingdom, where adoption of this practice is highest. This is supported by the number of coaches who have experienced both individual and group supervision and the number of years working with a Coach Supervisor.
  • In this study, 88% of the coaches reported experiencing individual coaching supervision, while 65% have experienced group supervision. Of the 1,280 participants, 29% (352 coaches) have experienced both individual and group supervision outside of a training or certification program. Currently,11% (137 coaches) indicate they currently work with both an individual and group Coach Supervisor.
  • The topics most frequently explored by coaches in both individual and group supervision are client-related issues/challenges/situations.
  • The most frequent response about helpful supervisor behaviors concerned the content, rather than the process, of coaching supervision. The most helpful suggestion was when their supervisor offered their own perspective, ideas, advice and/or experience during supervision sessions.
  • One observation from this research is that there is a sometimes a lack of clarity between coaching supervision and mentor coaching (e.g., for ICF certification), especially outside of Europe. While the study attempted to clarify the difference by providing a definition of each upfront, and using some questions as a filter to separate out mentor coaching, at times it appears that some participants did not differentiate between the two types of support.
  • There were mixed perceptions about the cost of supervision. Coaches who had never experienced coaching supervision reported that they viewed it as expensive. However, coaches who participate in supervision report that the fee/cost is not a barrier for them. There is very little consistency related to fees, with all geographic areas showing a broad range of perceptions about what is an appropriate fee.