Like most of you, I’m sure, I have been keeping a close eye on the news around the spread of COVID-19.
In the interest of protecting the health of presenters and attendees, all of my planned workshops for the near future have been postponed. Though I’m sad to miss seeing some of you over the coming weeks, I believe that this decision is in our best interest and I do look forward to rescheduling these events at a later date.
However, thanks to the safety of digital communications, I thought I’d share some thoughts from a new workshop I recently designed on peer coaching. While we may have less opportunity for one-on-one interaction with our coworkers over the next few weeks, this break can provide an unexpected opportunity to reflect and make a plan on how we can best move our organizations forward once our work lives return to normal.
I hope this email gives you something to think about, and perhaps some inspiration. Take good care of yourselves and be well,
The power of peer coaching
Many organizations (of all sizes) find they sacrifice learning and development in favour of short-term projects. Deadlines are ever-present, resources are tight, and training employees on new skills is a distant priority, if it makes the “to do” list at all.
The problem is, we know that organizations that prioritize learning are more successful. They experience decreased staff turnover and increased productivity.
Formal training can be expensive and difficult to arrange. Thankfully, you already have the resources you need to create a culture of collaborative learning: your own people!
Peer coaching is an underused way to promote ongoing learning and development within your organization. It differs from “consulting” or “advising” – peer coaching is a collaborative, solution-focused, and supportive conversation that helps someone clarify the challenges they are facing. It doesn’t “fix” a problem, but rather helps a colleague build confidence and the ability to succeed.
And it works! The Harvard Business Review says that peer coaching reduces workplace loneliness, creates a culture that values connection, and increases meaningful dialogue and psychological safety. To this, I’d add that it also:
● Encourages better listening
● Promotes exploration of options and a broadening of vision
● Encourages both leadership and camaraderie
● Leads to action plans and SMART goals
If you’re looking to set up peer coaching in your organization, I recommend following these 4 steps:
Bring together 4-6 group members who are ready to use coaching to help each other address real, current, important problems and opportunities in their lives and work – and learn at the same time.
In structured meetings, have these members share their current issues and ask each other thoughtful questions to report, clarify and frame priorities. The goal is to come up with relevant and realistic actions to address the challenges faced.
Take action! Between meetings, members should act on the recommendations and be ready to report back to the group.
As members reflect on the results of their actions and any questions that arise there is an opportunity for deep and significant learning. These reflections can be brought back to the group for further discussion and development.