How To Make Peer Coaching Work
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In the last blog, we talked about the what and the why of peer coaching. Here we focus on the HOW. How do you find success with peer coaching? Here is our top 10 list.
- Choose a location that is quiet, private, convenient, and free from distractions. Switch off mobile phones during the session. Phone, skype or even email meetings are possible. If on the phone or computer, still choose a quiet location so you can eliminate distractions.
- Switch off thinking about other things. Focus on the present. Your partner will know if you are distracted.
- Enter with an open mind. Try not to be judgmental or make assumptions
- Be clear about your expectations - Before you get started, be clear about parameters. There are times you want input and times you just need someone to listen; spell this out in the beginning. To ensure your arrangement is mutually beneficial, allot an equal amount of time to spend brainstorming and discussing each partner’s opportunities. Decide how often you will connect and whether it will be in person, over the phone or by email. Plan how many projects and commitments you’re willing to discuss at a time. And be clear that whether or not you take your partner’s advice, each person is 100% responsible for their choices.
- Map out and agree on how the accountability will work. Plan what you and your partner will do when you don’t make your goals or take agreed-upon action steps.
- Meet regularly. Aim for once every two weeks. This keeps everything fresh in your mind and allows you to take course-correcting actions more quickly.
- Limit meetings to 30 minutes if possible. Put a time limit on the meetings to keep you both focused. This is not just a gab session; it has deliverables and purpose.
- In the session, look for, describe, and assess what you see– not the person’s competence. You may share observations – offer no judgment, give no advice. Use the action / effect formula to share observations. For example…”I noticed that you jumped into the conversation while John was still speaking. Have you noticed that when you do that, he shut down immediately?”
- Be willing to have the tough conversations and create a shared accountability for future success. Show you care and celebrate the ability to get the tough conversations on the table for increased effectiveness of the team. At the same time, give the benefit of the doubt. Probe with questions before you make a judgment call about someone’s behaviour. Understand your teammates motives and intentions before deciding that their actions signal a lack of trust.
- Get comfortable being uncomfortable. This is not easy for anyone…go with this without expecting it to be easy.
Peer coaching is merely a conversation. It is a shared resource where both parties contribute, and both take something from it. The results can make the difference between a good team and a great team. Go for it. For more information, check out Learn2.com and speak with a practitioner today.
Author: Tammy Sweeney, VP Program Development, Learn2 & CEO, Women in Leadership and Business (WILB) Conference