3 Ways How Peer Coaching Can Transform Your Leadership
Ask powerful questions, listen without a filter, and discover hidden potential
Building your peer coaching skills is a good investment of your time and effort. Coaching is an important method of management in order to help your team identify solutions and motivate them to perform. If you develop strong peer coaching skills, this will be a superpower you can use even during a quick encounter with a team member at work. Here are three ways this shows up clearly:
Learn how to ask powerful questions: An underlying assumption a peer coach should use is that the participant already has all of their potential answers inside of them - and it's asking the right questions that will unlock them. As a result, peer coaches mostly focus on asking questions designed to inspire the participant to look at their challenges and opportunities from a different perspective. Developing a knack for asking powerful questions at the right time and place can generate tremendous impact during strategic leadership discussions.
Improve your ability to listen without a filter: You spend a good chunk of your life listening to others. And at the same time you're listening, you're often also making lots of pre-judgements in your head that help you analyze the information you're receiving and prepare to respond. This real-time internal analysis can be quite helpful in order to be efficient throughout your day and respond quickly in cases of emergencies. Peer coaching provides an opportunity to learn to better listen from a perspective of curiosity without pre-judgements, in order to notice more details of how the individual is presenting their situation.
Discover hidden potential talent and ideas: During peer coaching, participants do most of the talking while the peer coach is mostly asking questions. While there is a space for the peer coach to share some ideas related to their experience facing a similar challenge, it's almost always better to keep this limited and keep the focus on asking questions so that the participant can move forward. It can be naturally tempting for the peer coach to jump in and try to share tips and solutions in order to solve or fix the issue that the participant is discussing, but its much better to give the participant a chance to learn more about themselves through reflection about how they are problem solving themselves. In this way, the peer coach is exposed to new types of thinking and may stumble across innovative ideas or otherwise underestimated team members.
The CoffeeChat peer coaching network pairs you with a different peer coach for a new session each month. While there will be new a context to grasp each time, this is by design. This rotational model gives you 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, you'll stress-test your ability to adapt your coaching style to new environments and personalities.
Even more, developing a coaching mindset as an individual and building a coaching culture across a team means tackling challenges both large and small with a curious, empathetic and focused approach that produce better results and more rewarding careers. Needless to say, all of this can play a significant role in increasing team retention, productivity and staff satisfaction levels.
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.