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Here is How Peer Coaching Improves Teams’ Effectiveness

By Shalini Ramakrishnan, Director of Product Marketing

One of the key priorities for HR is to identify avenues to improve employee performance and drive employee growth. Invariably, HR turns to traditional learning and development programs: training, conferences, and webinars and often even employing the infamous job-shadowing or cross-training. While these traditional opportunities have their place an employee’s life, these annual or bi-annual activities are hardly impactful enough to drive employee engagement, productivity, or retention.

And yet, we keep doing the same thing expecting different outcomes. The irony is unmissable. 

But now this story has to change. The gargantuan change and disruption that the pandemic has thrust upon organizations are compelling them to re-evaluate strategies to drive employee engagement and productivity while working to close the skills gap, both technical and critical. That apart, organizations need to also focus on creating a winning culture that helps teams go through change and strengthens organizational resilience. 

For this, organizations need to focus on building organizational EQ skills, and to do this they need to turn towards Peer Coaching.

Peer Coaching integrates expertise across teams 

Peer Coaching creates small groups of selected employees from across the organization who come together to learn from each other and coach one another to navigate work challenges. It is an informal method that allows employees to share their expertise and provide assistance and feedback to each other to overcome challenges and augment professional development. 

Since Peer Coaching is a great format for developing key skills like self-awareness, empathy, flexibility, collaboration, communication, critical thinking, active listening, problem-solving, etc., it allows for self-discovery in a low-risk setting. 

With insights and perspectives on areas of the organization they do not directly interact with, learners in the Peer Coaching format develop trusting relationships with their peer coach. This further strengthens the organizations’ ability to drive cross-functionality. 

Peer Coaching builds trust bridges and reduces over-reliance on few familiar faces 

The Peer Coaching format is based on non-judgmental, informal conversation. It combats the culture where everyone agrees on shared objectives but works in a way that optimizes functional or business unit goals. It breaks down employee clusters and combats distrust and unhealthy competition amongst team members. But most importantly, it helps in building trust bridges between team members and peers outside of the team. 

By engaging peers in the coaching process, the coaching activity is more democratized. This reduces the dependence of the organization on a few familiar faces and helps employees take advantage of the experience of their peers. 

Peer Coaching addresses misalignments 

Peer Coaching builds competence and helps organizations foster interpersonal trust and the value of group goals. As an informal process that is rooted in friendly exchanges rather than evaluative exchanges, it serves as a process to identify and address misalignments within the organizational framework.

With the hybrid work environment being the reality, this process helps in ironing out issues and resolve challenges that impede productivity, creativity, and collaboration. By providing people a forum to open up and address work and personal issues, organizations can increase employee productivity and ensure that all factors that influence employee engagement and experience are positively aligned. 

Peer Coaching prevents WFH burnout and helps teams re-think their future 

The conversation around WFH burnout is real. People now have to balance work, career growth, and life and recalibrate expectations and goals to meet the new world of work. Given the disruption at hand, many employees struggle to manage the challenges brought about by the new world of work. 

Whether it is identifying growth pathways, addressing issues, identifying learning gaps to drive career growth, improving visibility, and building inter-personal networks in remote environments, Peer Coaching helps the workforce with the skills they need to operate in this new world order. 

Peer Coaching drives accountability and opportunity to learn from real-world scenarios

Effective remote teams and WFH teams are focused on building consensus, camaraderie, and trust. They believe in brainstorming and innovation. 

Peer Coaching assists in developing these skills and helps employees grow by experiencing different working styles and feedback from their coaches, who are, ultimately, their peers. 

It enables information exchange and helps learners more about the challenges from real-world scenarios that their peer coaches have experienced. It also enables the smooth flow of tribal knowledge across teams and assists in driving greater accountability for following through on commitments and actions. 

Peer Coaching makes employees more self-aware 

Peer Coaching contributes to an individual’s metacognitive learning. Metacognition is the measure of an individual’s awareness of their own knowledge – what they know and what they don’t, and their ability to understand and control their cognitive processes. 

Peer Coaching helps employees become more self-aware of what they say and/or do or don’t. This awareness influences their actions, both personal and professional, and influences the collective team attitude. 

Self-awareness is also essential to drive meaningful diversity and inclusion initiatives and creates a process for recognizing and reintegrating the disenfranchised.

Peer Coaching for Teams’ Effectiveness 

Peer Coaching helps the entire organization rewire itself for resilience. 

Organization leaders can leverage algorithmic business thinking to hack growth and value and identify the skills needed to transition to this new digital world and use Peer Coaching to achieve them. 

Employees can use data-backed methods to assess their skills needs and reach out to peers to bridge these gaps. 

Peer Coaching essentially helps in developing a coaching culture that is ingrained into the organizational DNA. Team effectiveness then becomes an automatic consequence of Peer Coaching. 

Connect with us to see how our cutting-edge, AI-powered coaching platform to start your Peer Coaching program and help your teams improve their effectiveness.

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