Peer Coaching: A MUST, not a Choice

We’ve touched the topic of peer coaching briefly on our article on Culture and in an insightful interview that I had with my colleague Biji Thomas

Today we will delve deeper as to why peer coaching is not only a choice but a MUST in any organization or culture type. 

Peers naturally appears in an organizational culture. It is important to note that peers at work is distinguishable by a colleague. A colleague can be an associate sale person that you may or may not know personally while your peers at work are the people that you would normally share responsibilities with either within the department or in an inter-department situation. 

As much as a formal and external coaching is important for the development of employees and overall business growth, so does peer coaching. Normalizing peer coaching as a consideration for shaping your employee development strategies is an ultimate must.

Are they ready to engage in peer coaching? 

Just like effective communication , peer coaching is a two-way street. Some people can be deemed qualified to be a coach and others to be coached. And while it is important to have a clear line distinguishing who is who, HR management must also work on the common denominator of everyone. 

  • They must be effective communicators. For peer coaching to work, everyone must know how to exercise listening with empathy. So you see, that listening skills aren’t only important when dealing with clients and prospects. It is also a skill that should be fostered within the culture of organizations. 
  • Curiosity and openness to upskill. Just like in communication, peers at work must be open to learning, especially in a non-formal setting of peer coaching. It is acknowledging that there are a lot to learn from the experience of other people and that it is a good chance to be closely working with people whom you can collaborate with and learn from. 
  • Exercise self-recognition.  Every change starts from the smallest unit, such as one’s self. A person who is self-aware recognizes that he/she have strengths as well as weaknesses and they would be willing to accepts and give criticism in a constructive way. 

Normalization of Peer Coaching 

Learning by teaching is as great as learning by practicing. Peer coaching is the combination of those 3: employees learn to be coaches by teaching others, thus strengthening their learnings through practice. An opportunity available everyday! 

How can organizations take advantage of this opportunity? 

  • Build a culture of trust. 

  People at high-trust companies experience 76% more engagement.  

            Peer coaching thrives in a surrounding of trust. This works both ways for the coach and the person being coached. As someone who has a potential to coach, you are likely to feel reluctant sharing what you know or leading the team amidst a predicament when you don’t feel trusted enough to do so. Same thing goes for the mentee/being coached, who won’t feel confident receiving a help from someone they don’t trust. 

  • Encourage cross-team collaboration

            65% of percent of the 2019 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends survey respondents viewed the shift from “functional hierarchy to team-centric and network-based organizational models” as important. 

            Cross-functional teamwork offers a broader sense of peer coaching by promoting collaborative relationships among different departments. It is another opportunity to boost effective communication across teams, open innovative ideas, and share learning experiences. 

  • Leadership Development

            Peer coaching enhances the leadership skills of each employee, especially unleashing the capabilities of natural leaders. This process of coaching offers transformational experience through learning and developing the mindset of leaders. 

Conclusion: How do businesses benefit from peer coaching? 

Organizations can identify and fill the blind spots as peer coaching provides awareness and insights that are beneficial for the managements. On a personal growth level, employees who undergo this process will develop more confidence in tackling challenging situations that in return will support an organizational growth level. Overall, peer coaching is one of the most efficient & low cost empowerment tools HR teams should implement to engage, retain and develop the top talents in an organization.

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