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peer coaching

Top reasons why an organization should invest in a peer coaching program

  • Omer Usanmaz
  • May 23 2022

In a highly competitive corporate world, any coaching is considered a powerful tool to climb up the ladder of success. Building skills and gaining deeper insights into business functions drives emerging leaders to stay loyal to their companies and perform better in their roles. However, there may be a question bothering a few corporates.- "Is it worth investing resources into training employees rather than using the same time to get more work done by them? "

This article will provide compelling reasons for companies to think of the peer coaching process as a resourceful tool for skill development and business growth.

What is the definition of peer coaching?

Peer coaching is a process whereby two or more individuals with similar objectives work together to achieve their goals. The individuals involved in peer coaching typically have equal footing, and the relationship is built on trust and mutual respect. The focus of peer coaching is on goal achievement, and the coach provides support and guidance while also holding the coachee accountable. The peer coaching process can be beneficial for both individuals involved, as it provides a sounding board for ideas and helps to build skills and knowledge. In addition, peer coaching can help to build confidence and create a sense of shared responsibility. Peer coaching helps organizations achieve certain business objectives like enhanced employee engagement, optimized current practices, and improved business outcomes.

What are the development activities of a successful peer coaching program?

Peer coaching in a workplace is a healthy way to develop skills and enhance the mentor's leadership skills and coaching skills. A few important steps have to be kept in mind before initiating any coaching activity.

  • The coaching program takes place between two or more colleagues based on their current skill set and performances. It is a mutual feedback process.
  • Activities that aid in building skills and development are highly recommended in such programs.
  • It is imperative to share ideas, teach, learn and develop.
  • Lastly, the program should include problem-solving scenarios pertaining to workplace challenges.

Together, these elements enable a successful peer coaching program. The coaching process can be approached through various formal and informal activities.

Formal activities include co-teaching lessons, where the coach plays the role of a collaborator, advisor, or mentor. Informal activities include problem-solving, study groups, curriculum and material development, teaching practices, and videotape analysis.

Few other examples of peer coaching activities

  • Building skills through brainstorming sessions
  • Peer learning and study sessions
  • Roleplaying to enhance communication skills
  • Working together with like-minded small groups
  • Leadership development programs for aspiring and new managers
  • Informal or formal coaching
  • Activities to prevent or recover from burnout

What are the benefits of peer coaching?

Peer coaching has become a powerful form of learning, development, and enhancing skills. It can also be termed a leadership development program for the employee who coaches their peers. Let us discuss the benefits of coaching programs in an organization.

  • Employee performance awareness

An employee can efficiently perform only when they are aware of how the organization rates their performance. When the employees are coached by their peers, they get a complete view of their performance, and this overview will highlight their strengths and weaknesses and motivate them to perform better.

  • New skill development

A good peer coaching program should open doors for a wider range of skills for the employee. Since they have a coach to guide them, they can discuss, have brainstorming sessions and learn from their mentor. This will empower them to scale up their knowledge levels and also expedite their learning process.

  • Boost leadership skills

For the mentor, this is more of a leadership program. Coaching is a sure-shot way to harness one's leadership skills. It develops listening skills, accountability, and empathy towards the peer, enhances communication skills, and helps the coach build a strong relationship with their peers. All these are the most crucial qualities of a good leader.

  • Builds a sense of trust and togetherness

A good coaching program will have a positive impact on both parties. It paves the way for good camaraderie and a sense of trust and accountability. They discover a lot about themselves and the other individual in the process.

  • Employee and employers are mutually benefited

One in five job seekers look for professional development opportunities in their new role. These programs can be a very attractive factor for job seekers. Employees, irrespective of their caliber, enjoy being coached and mentored. It ingrains in them a sense of importance and belonging.

  • Expedites the learning process

Peer coaches or mentors are often better positioned to give accurate and relevant feedback and suggestions to help their peers grow and develop. This process can expedite the learning progress and help the peer enhance their skill sets and come up the curve at a faster pace.

What are the ground rules of the coaching process?

Let us discuss a few strategies and important rules to be followed by the employer to ensure a successful peer coaching program.

  • Confidentiality

In a peer coaching program, the mentor and the learner have to work together to ripe the full benefits of peer coaching. It would involve working closely and sharing ideologies. The learner needs to be confident and assured that they will be coached without being judged and with the utmost confidentiality and trust. When this is not followed, the learner can feel betrayed, and there could be unnecessary feelings of isolation which would hinder the employee's growth.

  • Personalization

Any peer coaching program has to be customized, keeping in mind the strengths and weaknesses of the employee. This is a sure-shot way of reaping quality benefits. A change is possible only by understanding why and how the change can be executed. Once the organization compiles a data-based assessment plan, a personalized training schedule can be created.

  • Assessment-based learning

Organizations should keep in mind that they can only manage what they can measure. It is crucial to constantly monitor and understand the efficiency of these peer coaching programs and make changes when required. Assessment data should help evaluate the learner's learning curve, their understanding capacity, and gaps, if any, should be addressed.

  • Feedback based coaching

A two-way accurate feedback mechanism is imperative for a successful coaching program. It is a guiding star that can enable both parties to successfully drive the program. Though the entire process is in an informal format, providing feedback is essential and promises a quality-driven program.

  • Consistent tracking

Any coaching program should be data-driven, measurable, and trackable. Following these steps will help the coach measure the success of the program. With these details in place, the organization can identify needs, address gaps, if any, and evaluate the program's success. It will also help employee satisfaction, employee loyalty, retention, and curb attrition.

How can peer coaches build the leadership skills of ambitious employees?

Every organization has ambitious employees. High achievers and independent workers want to move up the curve faster. The organization can develop and reward healthy ambition through peer coaching programs. It could be a herculean task to handle ambitious employees. The key here is to supervise and guide them and not assume that they do not need direction, unlike their peers. Studies show that ambitious workers who are not guided or mentored will not see an opportunity to grow within the organization. An ambitious employee can look for a mentor who has scaled up several organizational rugs to mentor them. Let us look at how organizations can motivate and guide ambitious employees.

  • Set practical goals and deadlines

Any organization needs to recognize and understand their employee's personalities. When the employee is ambitious, the management must discuss their goals and what they want to accomplish in the coming months. A mentor can tailor a path that leads the peer in a direction preferred by the employer and the employee. Deadlines are as important as goals. Ambitious employees are always on the lookout for challenges. The coach must assess and provide regular feedback for further progress.

  • Deliver rewards

Rewards and recognition are critically important to ambitious employees. Few employees prefer a pat on the back, some like it private, some like it public, and most enjoy promotions to a plaque. The mentor should be able to identify the employee's preferences and guide them accordingly.

  • Opportunity to mentor

This is an effective way to help an employee satisfy their ambitious thirst. Allowing them to mentor or coach another peer is a great way to instill a sense of leadership and responsibility. This could also contribute to a culture of teamwork and collaboration.

  • Encourage risk

This might sound against a conventional corporate culture; however, allowing the employees to take calculated risks can benefit the organization. The mentor should be able to take complete responsibility and guide the employee throughout the process. This is an efficient method to quench their thirst to move up the corporate ladder.

Peer coaching boosts business growth.

Peer coaching motivates employees to be creative, alert, proficient, and redesign their future. According to a survey, 80% of people who received peer coaching support showed boosted self-confidence and enhanced performance. More than 70% found an improvement in their relationships, leadership skills, and communication skills. These skills are imperative and crucial for an organization's growth and development. One can confidently conclude saying peer coaching is the most effective method to keep employees motivated and help them perform better, thereby boosting the organization's growth.

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