The power of peer coaching (and how to do it well) - Deepstash
The power of peer coaching (and how to do it well)

The power of peer coaching (and how to do it well)

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The power of peer coaching (and how to do it well)

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Peer coaching

Peer coaching involves colleagues with the same level of experience and position to commit to helping each other by sharing insights, feedback, and best practices.

Peer coaching can play an important role in building a resilient, high-performing organization while allowing remote workers to connect and engage with one another from afar. 

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Peer coaching shares some practices with mentoring programs that pair experienced employees with junior ones for professional development.

  • However, mentoring is a one-way relationship between people on different hierarchical levels.
  • Peer coaching is two-way, with participants on the same level and equally giving and receiving to help each other grow.

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How peer coaching works

Peer coaching can consist of pairs, triads, or small groups of participants that meet in person or remotely. Sessions start with goal-setting and end with action planning. These sessions can address organisational issues, specific skill development priorities, and more.

Key questions:

  1. What do we want to accomplish during this session?
  2. What have we learned from this session?
  3. What next steps will we take?

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  • Participants gain an outside perspective of their own performance and receive accountability.
  • The cross-functional relationships that are formed create a support network that participants can rely on to help them solve problems.
  • Peer coaching helps develop skills that lead to greater efficiency and productivity.
  • Peer coaches learn to collaborate and communicate effectively.
  • Participants learn to give and receive feedback in a constructive way.
  • They build confidence and leadership skills, such as empathy and social awareness.

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Ways to implement peer coaching

In some organisations, peer coaching is an inherent aspect of a team’s culture and happens organically. Other organisations implement a more formal structure, with defined requirements for serving as a peer coach and sessions held on a regular schedule.

Ideally, peer coaching becomes ingrained in organisational culture with or without a formal program.

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Accepting feedback gracefully and changing behaviours accordingly do not come naturally to most people. It may be because feedback hasn't been presented in an effective way.

Peer coaching is entirely dependent on the free exchange of actionable feedback. It can only work if all parties feel safe and have each other's best interest at heart.

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Guidelines for a successful peer coaching program

  • Leaders will emerge if they are given the right environment. Peer to peer coaching can help to create that environment.
  • Create a process to identify peer coaching participants.
  • Offer to onboard new participants.
  • Consider using a group facilitator in the beginning to help set expectations and ground rules.
  • Encourage participants to commit to a risk-free, nonjudgmental, and psychologically safe environment.
  • Create opportunities for peer coaching groups to share accomplishments with their primary teams.
  • Place an end date on each round of peer coaching.

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