Supervision is a form of counseling that was developed to help individuals and teams gain clarity about their goals and the way they work together. While coaching is more closely related to training, supervision is more associated with self-awareness and personal development. However, one should not overestimate such contrasts. They are, if at all, of a more gradual nature.
Nando Belardi (born 1946), professor emeritus for social pedagogy at the Technical University of Chemnitz has written a worth reading introduction to supervision (published in the 2nd edition in 2005 by C.H.Beck). Supervision, as can be read there, goes back to the development of social work as well as psychotherapy at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. It is about reflecting on relationships in a professional context. For the professions mentioned above, the relationship with the client is of particular importance.
The origin of supervision from these social professions has led to the fact that supervision is particularly well known in those areas that are very close to these activities. Social workers or carers rarely need to be explained what supervision is. People from the business or profit sector, on the other hand, are usually familiar with coaching. Supervision here is more reminiscent of the “supervisor”, i.e. a supervisor who controls the activities of others.
The professional association for supervision and coaching – the German Society for Supervision and Coaching (DGSv) – provides further information on its website.