Coaching and peer coaching are two terms that are often used interchangeably, but incorrectly so. These two concepts are actually very different.
Where traditional coaching (or mentoring) involves one person imparting information and skills on to another, peer coaching is defined as a confidential process through which two or more professional colleagues work together to:
- reflect on current practices
- expand, refine and build new skills
- share ideas
- teach one another
- conduct classroom research
- solve problems in the workplace
Where coaching is very much a give and take relationship, peer coaching is a mutually beneficial relationship or equal partnership where the joint goal is to improve each person’s productivity and effectiveness.
Effective peer coaching tends to align with the following key principles:
- It must have a formal structure
This is more than just a casual chat with a friend at work. Employees engaged in peer coaching need to setup a regular time to meet up with a defined agenda of items to work through.
- All participants must practice their active listening skills
The key here is to really listen to the information that’s being shared, to analyse it, question it, and to understand how one would apply it in their day-to-day working environment.
- It must not be seen as a technical handover session
Peer coaching participants are not there to teach each other technical skills. Peer coaching should focus on personal and professional development only. If you happen to pick up some technical know-how along the way, that’s just a bonus.
But how does peer coaching benefit the business? Well it’s quite simple really: Peer coaching is a cost-effective way to promote employee growth and performance which of course leads to improved productivity and a positive impact on your bottom line.
For the employee, it also means:
- Improved engagement and learning on the job
People thrive when they can feed off each other’s energy, knowledge & experience.
- Positive impact on team dynamics
Peers are more likely to discuss issues or obstacles with each other than with a manager. Peer coaching opens this flow and leads to stronger relationships and improved collaboration.
- There’s none of the traditional coaching stigma
Traditionally, coaching was associated with you being bad at your job & therefore needing to go for some form of training, but with peer coaching the focus is more on colleagues helping each other transition from good to great.
- No more departmental silos
Because you’re not focusing on job technicalities per se, a good peer coach can be anyone who you feel a good connection with. You can look beyond your department and build friendship networks across various teams.
At the end of the day, peer coaching is both beneficial to the business as well as its employees, but we all know that happy employees make for good business which in turn leads to great things.
Let us help you establish peer coaching as a value add in your business. Get in touch.