When it comes to coaching, one of the most overlooked, low-cost, and under-utilized methods you can employ is peer coaching. The authors of Peer Coaching at Work aim to bring the power of peer coaching to companies around the world. Here, we’ll explain why peer coaching is so important and how to make it work for your company.
Why do we need this now
We operate in a world that is volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA). We have been hearing for years that the pace of change is accelerating, but it's finally reached a point where we need to do something about it.
In this type of environment, we need to find the antidote to each of the VUCA elements—vision, understanding, clarity, and agility. Let's dig into these elements one by one.
- Vision: this is an activity in which you and your team make sense of your environment.
- Understanding: making meaning out of many and diverse signals. You’ll look at and integrate a large number of data points to spot patterns
- Clarity: everyone on your team shares what they’re experiencing and brings together their different understandings.
- Agility: this is the communication you have to about the bigger picture to allow you and your team to be faster and more responsive.
Building the Relationship—Creating a Positive Holding Environment
It's now time to start thinking about how to build your program out. An effective peer coaching process requires a strong and trusting relationship between the people on your team.
First, people are more likely to benefit from participating in peer coaching groups if they attend with a genuine desire to learn about and develop themselves. This means you should likely make participation optional. You are creating a positive holding environment by promoting a group culture of psychological safety
Also towards this end, It is critical that you set some ground rules for the meetings, like maintaining confidentiality, acting respectfully towards others in the feedback process, and demonstrating compassion.
Creating Success Through Honing Relational Practices
Creating success in peer coaching groups requires building self-awareness among the members, and developing relational and social skills.
In order for there to be interpersonal trust in the group, each member needs to have self-awareness which includes understanding personal emotional responses, individual strengths and weaknesses, and having a strong sense of self-worth. self-aware people bring clarity about what they need to develop within themselves, and what they can offer their peers.
Making Peer Coaching a Habit
Peer coaching is likely to be a new skill for most of the people on your team. Like anything new, it takes time to develop into a cohesive process and for it to start producing results. For that reason, you must think about how to make peer coaching a habit.
There are three things you can do to ensure that this happens.
Think about how you can extend peer coaching skills into everyday interactions and engagements.
Think about how you can promote the value of peer coaching groups to other people in your company.
Model behaviors that support mutual and interdependent learning.
Remember, peer coaching is one of the most overlooked and valuable forms of learning you can tap into while you figure out how to navigate this crazy world we live in right now. These days call for all hands on deck, and this is your playbook to get there