5 Key Differences Between Professional Coaching and Peer Coaching
Both play different but important roles in leadership development
At its core, all coaching focuses on the use of targeted conversations to produce action-oriented ways forward for addressing key challenges that participants are facing in their personal or professional situations. During a coaching session, a coach will work with a participant to identify key challenges and potential new strategies or behaviors. As CoffeeChat offers options with both professional coaching and peer coaching, it’s important to note some key differences:
Professional coaches are often experienced managers themselves, and go through hundreds of hours of training and practice to develop and refine their coaching methodology, typically earning a coaching credential through an organization such as the International Coaching Federation.
Peer coaches are often emerging leaders who are eager to further develop coaching skills as part of their management style. They go through an introductory online course provided by CoffeeChat that reviews a shared set of principles of peer coaching, but are not certified coaches unless they have otherwise already pursued a coach credential separately.
Frequency & Duration
Professional coaching engagements through CoffeeChat often involve meeting with the same coach over at least 6-12 sessions during a year-long period. Often this will include several sessions closer in frequency as the participant aligns with their coach and identifies goals for coaching, then spaces sessions out further apart later on as the participant spends more time applying new strategies. Between sessions, they'll practice these and often document their progress in a journal to help reflect during subsequent sessions on how to further iterate their approach.
Peer coaching through the CoffeeChat peer coaching network is structured in a way that the participant will be paired with a different peer coach each session on a monthly basis. The peer coach can also practice the skill of coaching as a managerial style with their own team members as needed.
Depth of Discussion
Professional coaching engagements can include a 360 feedback collection where the coach will interview or survey several of their team members to dig deeper into areas where the participant themselves have identified as looking to grow further. A professional coach is also able to understand the context and use the coaching methodology to make meaningful progress in 2-3 key areas over this period of time.
Peer coaching engagements often require quick, once-off context sharing followed by a focused brainstorming session to identify and commit to a pursuing realistic options for a very specific issue with a limited scope.
Professional coaching often takes place with a more experienced professional coach or manager.
Peer coaching removes the element of seniority in that both participants are intended to be more-or-less on even ground, each providing each other with questions about challenges they are facing, and serving as a source of encouragement.
Professional coaching through CoffeeChat involves a coach discovery process in which a participant can schedule between 2-3 introductory sessions with recommended coaches from our pre-screened network to ensure that there is good chemistry. A good fit is crucial given that the participant will work with the same coach throughout the full process.
Peer coaching with CoffeeChat automatically matches a participant with a different peer coach each month. This rotational model gives a peer coach the opportunity to speak to a variety of individuals working across many different teams and thus regular exposure to a range of different perspectives. Further, by practicing peer coaching with new individuals on a regular basis, they will stress-test their ability to adapt their coaching style to new environments and personalities.
CoffeeChat enables companies to run digital coaching programs for their teams, through both its network or peer coaches and professional coaches. Our mission is to make coaching more accessible, affordable, and relevant for emerging leaders across emerging markets.